1 p.m. Update: Anyone weigh in at the cop-controlled Planning & Zoning Commission public hearing Wednesday night? Several City Council members did including Council President Tom McCarthy and his chief antagonist Bob Troll Walsh.
But instead of pols fighting, most of the action in City Council chambers came from members of opposing community groups shouting their preferences for residential or commercial. Leave it to zoning issues to perk up the peeps. State Rep. Chris Caruso and Associate City Attorney Greg Conte had a heated exchange about speaking privileges during Caruso’s statement on the zoning re-write. An excerpt from Caruso’s statement made on behalf of the Committee to Ungag the People:
We are aware that various commissioners have held private discussions with, or have invited out of town developers, special interests and their attorneys to participate in working sessions of the commission concerning the Master Plan. In addition, there have been other ex-parte communications by commissioners. These are not only violations of Freedom of Information statutes but also a slap in the face to Bridgeport residents who were barred from participation at the same working sessions and ex-parte communications. As a matter of fact, at your August 31, 2009 commission meeting, not one commissioner would even second a motion to consider the comments raised by residents and supported by the City Council and mayor from a previous public hearing concerning the Master Plan. We feel it is high time you show the residents of Bridgeport the fair and objective deliberations that they expect and deserve. Finally, we ask that those commissioners who have held private discussions with any out of town developer, special interest or their attorney or have other conflicts of interests to recuse themselves from voting on Bridgeport’s future.
Caruso urged the commission to maintain Testo’s Restaurant, owned by Democratic Town Chair Mario Testa, as “Residence A in keeping with the character of the current single-family neighborhood and in conformity with the Master Plan to avoid spot zoning.”
He also called on the commission to maintain Greenwood Street and 9.9 acres of wooded property as “Residence A.”
Caruso continued …
This entire property is being sought after by the State Department of Environmental Protection with the support of the mayor and City Council. This property is critically needed to address serious North End Flooding as it relates to the Ox Brook Flood Project … The alleged owner of this property, who is affiliated with a reputed crime figure, is attempting to change the zone which will increase the value of the property and thus the amount the city and state will be required to pay–effectively holding Bridgeport ransom.
Caruso’s reference was directed at Darlene Chapdelaine of the Bridgeport Tax Paying Citizens Group. Michael Voytek, chairman of the Committee to Ungag the People, notified OIB that the following letter to the editor sent to the Connecticut Post by committee member Theresa Eigenbrodt sums up the committee’s feelings following the meeting. See below:
I am a resident in the North End of Bridgeport. I was at the PZC’s public hearing on the proposed zoning changes last night and feel that today’s article in the paper is unfair and biased.
It was not reported that most of the people calling themselves “Bridgeport Tax Paying Citizens Group” don’t live in the city. They are not a true grass roots movement of citizens, residents and tax payers no matter what they themselves may say. Rather, they are bussed in by Darlene Chapdelaine (the group’s purported leader), as they were last night and were paid for their appearance; furthermore, those people received free dinners at Angelo’s on Madison Ave. before the meeting, a bar/restaurant reputedly owned by Gus Curcio–a fact that should be of interest to this paper.
It was the “tax payers” side that had to have the police called in because of their rude comments, unruly behavior and obscene signs that unfairly attacked State Representative Chris Caruso. They truly created the mob scene that was present at that meeting.
Darlene Chapdelaine is not a resident of Bridgeport herself and it should be mentioned that Ms. Chapdelaine had the people brought in by bus from convalescent homes and bars owned by Gus Curcio, and cities and towns other than Bridgeport just to look like there is a large crowd supporting the tax payers. This group was comprised of the elderly–who are being disgustingly used by Darlene’s group for her personal gain–bouncers, strippers, other supporters of Gus Curcio and out-of-towners, like Paul Timpanelli and Attorney Dan Portanova.
I feel, along with others from the “Ungag the People Committee”, that these points should have been mentioned in the articles when published in the news.
The city should know how this is conniving behavior by Darlene Chapdelaine who is clearly and purely trying to manipulate the process to her financial advantage and that of her backers while masquerading as a champion of the taxpayers. Happy Halloween Darlene!
Theresa Eigenbrodt, Bridgeport
Bob Troll Walsh who told me to kiss his you-know-what the other day continued his assault on the latest Steel Point agreement. From the CT Post:
The vote could be just a day away.
The City Council committee delving into the particulars of the long-awaited Steel Point development made another step on Tuesday toward its final vote on the proposed land disposition agreement, hearing from an outside attorney and a nonprofit economic development consultant who said there is nothing apparent standing in the way of a final agreement.
At 6:15 p.m. Thursday, the Economic and Community Development and Environment Committee will revisit the final amended agreement with the developer, Bridgeport Landing Development LLC, and the prognosis looks good for approval.
“We are at the crossroads,” said committee co-chairman Robert Curwen, D-138. “There’s a very distinct possibility that we’ll be voting on it on Thursday. The general consensus … looks very favorable.”
The committee heard from Kevin Gremse, of the National Development Council, and Robert Berchem, of Milford law firm Berchem, Moses & Devlin, who was hired by the city just weeks ago to review the agreement.
“I don’t think that there’s any reason for you not to proceed unless, as someone said, you find someone else,” Berchem said, adding that the economic climate doesn’t make the latter likely and, if the city pulled out of the contract at this point, it could face “serious” legal ramifications.
The agreement contains every protection for the city that he’d expect, Berchem said.
Full disclosure: Berchem is a former client more than a decade ago, and he’s an accomplished lawyer. But I love the part about “he’d expect.” That’s a classic lawyer covering his butt. Oh, when a lawyer says “I’d expect” that’s his way of saying if this blows up don’t blame me!
Troll, who keeps score on just about everything, reminded Gremse during the meeting about déjà vu all over again. Weren’t we here a few years ago, Troll asked, when you said the same thing about an earlier version of this development that fell apart?
Well, yeah, I guess, but that was then and this is now … yadda, yadda.
And Troll had a question for Berchem: And what about you Mr. Berchem, didn’t your firm represent the city in the information that led to the termination of Personnel Director Ralph Jacobs?
Well, yeah, that was someone from my firm but I don’t know anything about that.
Just another OIB moment.
Piling On Linda
You catching the eye-gouges Republican U.S. Senate candidate Linda McMahon is absorbing from her fellow GOP opponents? Gee boys, why wait until the last minute? McMahon, former WWE exec, is receiving fire for contributing thousands of dollars to various Democrats through the years. What gives? Well, McMahon has $10 million, no wait $20 million, no wait maybe $30 million to spend for the coveted GOP nomination to challenge Chris Dodd November 2010.
The boys are trying to beat up the babe in the race before she gets started. Well, she’s started enough to spend more than $2 million since her formal announcement just a few weeks ago. That gag you just heard came from Republican congressional candidates Rob Russo and Dan Debicella challenging Democrat Jim Himes. Hey, Linda, how about throwing a few million our way! Jim will have four or five or six million dollars to spend for reelection.
Republicans will conduct a party convention in May followed by a probable primary next August. Right now there are enough Republicans in the U.S. senate race for a small battle royal.
Meanwhile, Linda’s media-speak Jodi Latina says …
As is often the case when a political outsider begins shaking up the system, the career political insiders are fighting for their survival. That’s no surprise. Their careers depend on protecting the status quo. What is shocking, however, is that Linda’s political opponents — just about all of whom are part of the political establishment — are launching negative personal attacks so early.
It appears her primary opponents are so concerned about her candidacy that they are engaging in a seemingly coordinated negative attack on her. What are they afraid of?
Several weeks ago, they attacked Linda for not voting in a few recent elections. But then the Hartford Courant reported that the very politicians attacking Linda had also missed numerous elections. In fact, her most vocal opponent himself missed at least 11 local elections!
The difference is that Linda was honest from the outset, putting her record on www.Linda2010.com for all to see. She acknowledged her missed votes were inexcusable, and she took complete personal responsibility — unlike the career insiders who did their best to cover up their records. It’s sad really.
From Mayor Bill Finch
H1N1 Vaccine Available for High-Risk Groups
WHAT: The first shipment of 400 of the H1N1 intranasal vaccine has arrived in Bridgeport, and is available for high-risk priority groups. The first H1N1 clinic will open Friday for EMS workers, healthcare workers, and children 2 – 4 years of age.
WHERE: Department of Health, 752 E. Main St. Bridgeport, CT
WHEN: Friday, October 16, 1 to 3 p.m.
Qualifying residents can make an appointment by calling the Flu Clinic Hotline, 203-576-8242. Eligibility to receive flu vaccine will be determined at the time an appointment is made.
Volunteers and nurses also are encouraged to sign up with the Medical Reserve Corps. Mayor Bill Finch urges all who are considered high-risk to make an appointment for H1N1 vaccination.