Commentary: Where’s The Fairness In Rental Housing?

By John Marshall Lee

Just returned from two weeks away from Bridgeport, a retreat from reality and activism, a time for reflection. So I was curious as I read an article from a long-time City Councilperson advising the Diocese of Bridgeport on what to do with property surplus to their needs. I am not saying that her advice is unreasonable concerning a need for more rental units where they already exist. But since her basic concern is about neighborly land use, Ms. Lyons, where is your effort to place Fair Rent and Fair Housing citizen volunteer ‘boards’ back in business? Had the Zoning or Ethics Boards been allowed to die in similar fashion, what would be the community reaction? How would the City Council respond?

I have spoken to the City Council on multiple occasions this year, and previously pointing to the failure of a series of mayors including Ganim2 to keep all boards and commissions at optimum strength by supporting them in a variety of ways. Instead, the entire City or that which pays attention to such municipal issues has seen both FAIR RENT and FAIR HOUSING expire in plain sight. Why is that not a topic of outrage in the City proper? Why is this not a topic of discussion at election time? Is ignoring the issue, rather than moving it to a priority on your agenda, a sign pointing to a lack of care or concern for how too many folks in the City have no specific place to turn to share their issues and concerns? With inflation concerns spoken of in the abstract, here is a chance to allow folks to share their problems with fellow citizens and receive attention. Is this a worthy subject?

I also read where the Mayor has been up to bat again, sharing his story, to reinstate his legal career, a career that citizens must turn to when housing issues overwhelm them with taxes, WPCA fees, and many other issues. Shouldn’t Ganim2 share remorse for failing to identify this major missing element in City governance and do something about it? How better could he indicate that he is a caring and effective leader? Time will tell.


One comment

  1. Bridgeport is one of the most expensive cities in America.
    Adding value here is cheap, adding value in nearby Manhattan costs millions.
    There’s no fairness in rental housing because supply side inflation is impossible to stop!
    Taco Bell’s dollar menu costs $1.29 in Bridgeport because escalating, high costs are embedded into the system.
    Much of Bridgeport’s rental properties are owned by out of state interests who always have an interest in raising rents.
    The good news is that Bridgeport’s new residents have deep pockets, own their homes and are used to high crime and high taxes. Their story is yet untold.


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