Coming Monday: The residency of Bridgeport’s Civil Service Commission president.
Weekend Update: This shit is too funny. Check out the video of former City Councilman Keith Cougar Rodgerson adding some spice to Ann Coulter’s downtown Tea Party Friday afternoon.
Cougie decided to give Annie an ear-splitting dose of Ray Charles from his apartment overlooking her speech on Baldwin Plaza. He received an infraction for creating a public disturbance. Jesus, that happens at every City Council meeting. Check it out. And thanks to Connecticut Bob as well.
Sign Here, Please
In the bad old days of absentee ballots when you never knew who’d vote out of the local cemetery or geriatric ward, it was not uncommon for absentee electors to defeat the machine turnout.
Say what? My old newspaper buds Jim Callahan, John Gilmore and Bob Fredericks were on cemetery watch. What bodies would be unearthed to vote? That’s right, the master of all absentee ballot magicians Mario Testa had this dove-out-of-hat deft to emerge victorious even though the opponent had defeated him (or his candidate) on the machines. The current version of Mario, the Democratic town chairman, is not nearly as aggressive as the old days. Maybe too many peeps watching? Or maybe they just ran out of shovels?
But I needed to check the absentee ballot action as we approach City Council primaries on Tuesday. So far most of the action is on the East Side in that bastion of Latin politics called the 137th District. Endorsed candidates Lydia Martinez, former council member and state representative and Manny Ayala are being challenged by Maria Valle and Christina Ayala. Maria is an incumbent council member who was thrown under the bus by town committee members, the endorsement powers.
On the East Side it doesn’t take much to fall out of favor. Fight one day, kiss and make up the next, roll around on the ground the next. Good grief, State Rep. Andres Ayala got into a fight with his uncle Tito last year and had to fend off a primary challenge. So it goes.
Anyhoo, here’s the deal: the majority of returned absentee ballots to the Town Clerk’s Office have come from the 137th District. As of Thursday, among the 143 returned absentee ballots from four district primaries roughly 100 were for the 137th District. So don’t be shocked if more actually vote by AB on the East Side than paper ballot come Tuesday. Another 100 or so absentee ballots could come in. What could we have, a 10 percent turnout? For a majority of the four districts that would represent roughly 350 votes respectively.
Mayor Bill Finch and labor negotiators moved closer to resolving the pay dispute between school nurses and Superintendent of Schools John Ramos who decided not to compensate the nurses this summer even though they had a deal for summers-off pay in exchange for no raises for four years.
From what I’m told, following discussions the past two days between the Finch administration and Board of Ed officials, nurses will receive letters on Monday explaining that the BOE will make good on the agreement. I’ll follow up on Monday.
A Slam Dunk?
Mayor Finch and Economic Development Director Donald Eversley announced a development agreement with the Simon Konover Company and a partner company headed by Tate George, former UConn basketball star, to revitalize a piece of the old Carpenter Steel site in the East End. This was late breaking news from Thursday night so worth repeating today because this is the first significant economic development initiative Finch can call his own.
Let’s hope Tate performs a little more magic than the last hoop star that announced a big deal for the city, Magic Johnson. See Finch news release below. Check out the video link here from the news announcement courtesy of our friends at Doing It Local:
The Simon Konover Company and The George Group LLC Chosen to Develop Seaview Plaza
Joint Project by Bridgeport Port Authority and City of Bridgeport to Yield Retail/Commercial and Public Access for former Carpenter Steel Site
BRIDGEPORT, CT (September 10, 2009) – The Bridgeport Port Authority and the City of Bridgeport have selected a proposal by The Simon Konover Company of West Hartford, Conn., and The George Group, LLC of New Jersey & Florida to develop the remaining unused 15.8 acre portion of the former Carpenter Steel site into a 152,000 square foot mixed-use commercial/retail center.
The announcement was made during a press conference today in the Mayor’s Conference Room, City Hall Annex, 999 Broad St.
Located at the intersection of Stratford and Seaview Avenues in the City’s East End, the project, to be named Seaview Plaza, is expected to generate hundreds of new jobs, provide a home for both existing and new Bridgeport businesses, generate significant tax revenues and lease fees to the Port & City, and add much needed retail services to the adjoining neighborhoods.
“This is a great day for Bridgeport and the East End,” said Mayor Bill Finch. “This project will restore both first-class retail and waterfront access to a neighborhood that has been deprived of both, for many years. We’re pleased to have two very enthusiastic development partners put their stamp on this part of the City.”
The Seaview Plaza plan includes an anchor grocery, pharmacy, a waterfront restaurant, a gas station & convenience store, and opportunities for multiple smaller retail and commercial/office uses. Also planned are a waterfront park for recreation and fishing and a community center.
“This is the fruit of a year-long planning process and a competitive Request for Proposals, with great input from the East End NRZ committee and the state of Connecticut,” said Donald Eversley, Bridgeport’s Director of Planning & Economic Development, who coined the name “Seaview Plaza” and programmed the overall concept for the development. “The visibility, desirable location and easy access from I-95 will also give the development a citywide and regional draw to help ensure its success.”
The Connecticut Departments of Environmental Protection, Economic & Community Development, and Transportation were all instrumental in shaping the uses for this site that was until recently considered as a location for a container barge shipping operation.
“Too often, retail and commercial development overlooks under-served urban communities and markets,” said Simon Konover, Chairman of the Board of The Simon Konover Company. “Many developers tend to build in suburban areas and miss the opportunity to strengthen our cities by putting underutilized properties back into productive use, and supporting smart-growth strategies that create sustainable communities. Our effort seeks to change that model.”
“While we intend to deliver a first-class retail and small office center to serve the city’s needs, we want to create a model that provides business opportunities, jobs, community open space, and a place for the neighborhood to shop and enjoy,” added Tate George, the principal of The George Group. “We believe that our project will play an important role in helping create a development that will serve both the financial interests of the city and enhance the social fabric of the community.”
In the coming months, the Bridgeport Port Authority and The Simon Konover-George team will negotiate a land development agreement, setting out all the parameters for the development. Once the Port Authority Board of Directors approves the plan, The Simon Konover-George team will undertake a local and state permitting process, which is expected to be completed by early next summer. During that time, the developers plan to reach out to national, regional and local retailers, seek their commitments for space, and close financing on the deal. Construction would begin immediately thereafter, and plans are to open the first set of stores by late summer 2011.
“We are excited about Bridgeport and appreciate the leadership shown by Mayor Finch, Donald Eversley and Port Authority Chairman Denis O’Malley,” said Konover. “And we believe retailers will feel the same way and make this a success for everyone in the community.”
About The Simon Konover Company
The Simon Konover Company and its affiliates have developed and managed retail centers, commercial buildings, market-rate apartments and affordable housing facilities throughout the state and across the northeast. Current projects include a new retail center in Holyoke, MA; the Dye House mill reconstruction in Manchester, CT; and a multi-use center with retail, office and residential components in East Lyme, CT. For more information about The Simon Konover Company, go to www.simonkonover.com.
About The George Group
The George Group (owned by former UConn basketball star Tate George) is presently developing projects including Baxter Terrace in Newark, NJ; the Targeted Neighborhood Abandoned and Vacant Properties Restoration Project in the West Ward of Newark, NJ; and the Arcadian Gardens site in East Orange, NJ. For more information about The George Group, go to www.thegeorgegroup.net
News release from SuBy
Bysiewicz: Voter Registration Deadline for Municipal Primaries Monday at Noon
Primary Elections September 15, 2009; Secretary of the State Reminding Voters They Can Register In-Person Until 12:00 P.M. Monday Sept. 14th
Hartford: Secretary of the State Susan Bysiewicz today is reminding Connecticut voters they can still register to vote for municipal primaries scheduled for September 15, 2009. Eligible voters in communities holding September primaries can register to vote in person until 12:00 noon on Monday September 14th at their Registrar of Voters office. The mail-in voter registration deadline was yesterday, Thursday September 10th.
“Crucial budget and educational issues are facing many towns in Connecticut as voters go to the polls to choose municipal leaders this year, so it is imperative to register to vote!” said Secretary Bysiewicz. “Anyone who wants a say in the future direction of their community in these tough times should make sure they go to town hall and fill out the registration card in person by 12:00 noon on September 14th. This is especially true for those who missed the mail-in registration deadline.”
Polls will open statewide from 6:00 a.m. until 8:00 p.m. for the Municipal primaries on Tuesday September 15th. The majority of Connecticut’s municipalities will hold a General Election for municipal candidates on November 3, 2009. A complete list of primaries taking place on September 15th is attached: