Weekend Update: Ticking, ticking, ticking.
The clock is ticking.
Since we’re time sensitive at OIB we’ve decided to show a time clock–Bill’s Deadline for Jodi’s Jail–so we can all stay focused to meet the governor’s marching orders to present an appropriate alternative location for a juvenile detention center for girls. You know how I feel, stick it somewhere rural. See the countdown top right.
But as the clock ticks, the burden to find something better than Virginia Avenue on the Upper East Side is with Mayor Bill Finch who’s been forced to take an active public role at the prodding of State Rep. Chris Caruso.
The mayor can still come out looking good on this issue. The last thing I’d want to do if I were advising hizzoner (aren’t you glad I’m not) is to throw this into a full-blown citywide arena. That means no public hearings, no dog and pony shows, no “What do you think if we put it there?” Huge mistake. The bigger the mayor makes this, the more he owns it leading to a nightmare.
And yes, Caruso, Finch’s chief rival for the mayoralty next year, laughing his cheeks off.
You throw this thing open to the public and it becomes unmanageable. If large residential areas such as Black Rock, North End, West Side and East End get wind that a detention center/jail is being considered neighbors will freak. Those bastards are selling us out! Best thing to do? As quietly as possible, find a location in a non-residential area (that doesn’t require major DEP or EPA intervention) and run it past the state. If the state rejects the alternative, go to plan B. What’s that?
Take the state into federal court. Yeah, I know what some of you are thinking, Lennie you’re an idiot, you won’t win … Bridgeport is a child of the state. Yes it is. Depends on your interpretation of a win. If the state is unreasonable I say give them a dose of Mark Anastasi. Who’s that? Bridgeport’s city attorney. Mark is an old friend. Sometimes I agree with him, sometimes I don’t but one thing I know Mark can do is buy time. Say what? Yes, buy time in the hope that a Democratic governor is elected in November that would be willing to stick this thing where it belongs: in Brookfield! That means filing legal action in federal court, and using your existing staff attorney, not some expensive outside lawyer.
What’s the claim? One of my old friends in politics is Larry Merly who served as city attorney before most of you were born. Merly was apoplectic at the way the most affluent state in the country treated its cities. Here’s what Merly used to say: “Large-acre discriminatory zoning in the suburbs has forced the heavy concentration of tax-exempt property, public housing and social institutions in the city.” In other words, the way to preserve the suburban and rural lifestyle is to wall up all the social problems in the cities.
I’m not big on urban-suburban warfare, better to get along with your neighbors; but sometimes you gotta fight back. In fact, this isn’t even about Bridgeport’s neighbors. This is about the state shoving something down the city’s throat. The state has all kinds of property around the state to accommodate the needs of troubled girls. It’s convenient to stick this in Bridgeport, but how many more tax-exempt properties, serving the entire state must be jammed into the state’s largest city?
Now I’m hoping Governor Rell is quietly saying to Finch you do this for me and I’ll do that for you, and all will be just ducky. We’ll see.
I know we have a bunch of lawyers that read OIB. Any thoughts?
Speaking of ticking, three members of the city’s state legislative delegation are ticked off at the governor. See news release below:
REPS. AYALA, HENNESSY & SANTIAGO: GOVERNOR THROWS TOWNS A CURVE BY WITHHOLDING STATE ROAD FUNDING
State Representatives Andres Ayala (D-128th District), Jack Hennessy (D-127th District) and Ezequiel Santiago (D-130th District) called on Governor M. Jodi Rell to release millions in state aid that would fund paving projects and road repairs in Bridgeport.
“Holding this funding is detrimental to our city,” Rep. Ayala said. “We need to move forward with important local projects waiting in the pipeline for action.”
“This is just another example of misplaced priorities,” Rep. Hennessy said. “Our cities bear the brunt of heavy vehicle usage by those that commute back and forth from their jobs. Our roads cannot afford any delays in maintenance.”
“Our city counts on state funds such as TAR to keep the local economic engine running,” Rep. Santiago said. “Many working individuals are adversely affected when decisions such as this are made in Hartford.”
Due to the current budget deficit, the governor has held back $30 million in Town Aid Road (TAR) Grants.
In the previous fiscal year, the towns received the following TAR grants:
• Bridgeport – $674,174
Towns usually receive TAR funding in January and July each year.
And Speaking Of Ticking … Or Tickets …
Let’s have some fun this weekend. If you’re a Dem what’s your ticket prognostication for this year’s election tsunami?
If you’re a Republican, what say you?
I need help because there are so many candidates I cannot keep track.
New Day, New Candidate
One day Chris Dodd trails Republican Senate hopefuls and the next day Dick Blumenthal takes over and takes the lead. See Rasmussen Poll:
Longtime Senator Chris Dodd announced yesterday he will retire rather than run for reelection, and Democratic prospects in Connecticut have suddenly gotten a lot better. Richard Blumenthal, the state attorney general, announced his candidacy yesterday, and he leads all potential Republican challengers by wide margins.
A new Rasmussen Reports telephone survey in Connecticut, taken last night, now finds Blumenthal leading former GOP Congressman Rob Simmons 56% to 33%. A month ago, Simmons had a 13-point lead over Dodd.
Linda McMahon, the ex-CEO of World Wrestling Entertainment, trails Blumenthal by a 58% to 34% margin. She led Dodd by six.
Long-shot candidate Peter Schiff, the widely known president of Euro Pacific Capital, was essentially even with Dodd but now trails Blumenthal by more than two-to-one – 60% to 24%.
“With a single announcement, Chris Dodd transformed the Senate race in Connecticut from one that leaned in the GOP direction to a fairly safe bet for the Democratic Party,” noted Scott Rasmussen, president and founder of Rasmussen Reports.
Fifty percent (50%) of Connecticut voters favor the health care plan currently working its way through Congress while 48% are opposed. That’s a much higher level of support than is found nationally. Thirty-six percent (36%) favor a single-payer health care system, similar to the national average.
Connecticut voters are pessimistic when it comes to the War on Terror. Just 28% believe the United States and its allies are winning while 31% believe the terrorists are winning. Confidence is down nationally as well but is not that low.
Forty percent (40%) of voters in the Nutmeg State say our legal system worries too much about protecting individual rights at the expense of national security. Twenty-four percent (24%) have the opposite view and say that our system worries too much about national security at the expense of individual rights. Another 24% say the balance is about right, while 11% are not sure.
President Obama is viewed favorably by 56% of Connecticut voters, little changed from a month ago. These findings are well ahead of Obama’s job approval ratings in the Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll.
News release from GOP Congressional candidate Rob Russo
Where are the Jobs Jim?
85,000 More Jobs Lost Bringing Total to 3.9million in 2009
Fairfield – Today, the Department of Labor stated the economy lost 85,000 more jobs surpassing expectations of job losses. The unemployment rate remains above 10% and the underemployment rate rose to 17.3%. During Jim Himes’ first year in office, over 3.9million people became unemployed. (Source)
These continued job losses come at a time when Democrats in Washington are more concerned about a healthcare bill than about making sure people are able to work. Instead of confronting his leadership about the pain facing Connecticut families, Jim Himes votes in lockstep with Speaker Nancy Pelosi over 95.1% of the time.
Jim Himes has said, “”The Recovery Act will provide immediate relief to working families as we address the remaining pieces of our economic crisis.” (2/18/09, Source)
“Where are the jobs Jim?” asked Rob Russo. “Connecticut families need a leader in Congress who understands the pain they are suffering. I will go to Washington to fight to lower taxes, to decrease wasteful government spending, and to spur the free-market to create jobs for families right here in Connecticut
News release from UB
Congressman Jim Himes to speak at MLK Day of Service program organized by the University of Bridgeport and local community groups
Published on Friday, January 08, 2010
Congressman Jim Himes (D-CT) will speak at the University of Bridgeport on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Monday, January 18, when students honor the civil rights leader by hosting outreach events for the community and joining hundreds of area residents to volunteer at organizations throughout Fairfield County.
Rep. Himes will deliver his remarks at the Field of Hope indoor carnival from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. at the Wheeler Recreation Center, 400 University Avenue, on the UB campus. The carnival is free to children and their families.
The carnival and other outreach programs are part of Day of Service, a national volunteer drive that has been held on Martin Luther King Jr. Day for the past seven years. The Day of Service campaign in Bridgeport has been organized by the University of Bridgeport Office of Student Affairs; the nonprofit group, Service For Peace; and other local organizations.
More than 400 volunteers are expected to participate at Day of Service events in Bridgeport.
Individuals who would like to volunteer can register at 8:30 a.m. at the John J. Cox Student Center, 224 University Avenue, on the University of Bridgeport campus. Free T-shirts will be given to all volunteers. A closing ceremony and raffle with prizes will be held 3:30 p.m. at the Cox Center to mark the end of the day’s events.
“Service is the best way to honor the memory of Dr. King,” said Kenneth Holmes, dean of students. “Here at the University of Bridgeport, we have a spirit of service. Our students donated over 10,000 volunteer hours in communities throughout Connecticut last year, preparing meals for the homeless, visiting the sick and elderly, mentoring children, and this holiday helps us concentrate this spirit of service to the community.”
Day of Service events take place between 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the following locations:
•Bridgeport Public Library, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.: Volunteers will sort books and paint work stations at the Main Library, 925 Broad St. The program helps the library prepare for its annual Friends of the Library Book Sale.
•Caps for Cure, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.: Knit caps for chemotherapy patients at the John J. Cox Student Center, 224 University Avenue.
•Cardinal Shehan Center, 10 a.m. to noon: Work with children ages 5 to 16, doing arts-and-crafts, sports and games, photography, and other activities during the Center’s Open Rec Day, 1494 Main Street, Bridgeport.
•Connecticut Food Bank, 9:30 a.m. to noon: Volunteers will sort food at the Food Bank’s Fairfield location, 74 Linwood Avenue, Fairfield.
•Field of Hope, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.: Includes games, face painting, a peace poster contest for children, a health and wellness fair, gymnastics and tae kwon do demonstrations and training for children. Financial education for adults will be provided by Citibank. Montano Technology Center, which works with autistic patients, will provide technology games. Bridgeport Police Department Canine Unit will demonstrate, and the Bridgeport Fire Department will show fire equipment and conduct education about fire safety. Location: University of Bridgeport Wheeler Recreation Center, 400 University Avenue.
•Habitat for Humanity, 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.: Volunteers will help with indoor and outdoor jobs at the housing organization’s sites throughout Bridgeport.
•Harbor View Apartments, 10 a.m. to noon: Volunteers host a breakfast and chat with Harbor View residents, reflecting on MLK Day and issues of peace and civil rights. They also will host crafts and other activities. Activities will be held in the Harbor View Community Room, 376 East Washington Avenue, Bridgeport.
•Marina Village, 10 a.m. to noon: Volunteers will help clean up and move furniture at 773 South Street, Bridgeport.
•Urban Center, 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.: Sort food, clothing, and toys at the Urban Center, 98 Lindley Street, Bridgeport.
•VITAS Innovative Hospice Care, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.: Volunteers will visit, help with transport, and enjoy activities with senior residents of the Bridgeport Health Care Center, 600 Bond Street, Bridgeport.
From Mayor Finch
Helen Wu Named a New England TB Hero
Helen Wu, a tuberculosis outreach worker in the city’s Health Department TB Clinic, was honored by Mayor Bill Finch this week for 28 years of outstanding service to tuberculosis treatment and patient care in the City of Bridgeport.
The Mayor stopped by the Health Department offices to congratulate Helen on being chosen by the New England Tuberculosis Consortium as the 2009 New England TB Hero. “Helen Wu has been out on the front lines for decades, working directly with those affected by this disease, which unfortunately persists into the 21st century,” said Mayor Bill Finch, who presented Helen with a certificate denoting her years of service and outstanding care.
Helen, who keeps up with as many as 8 patients in the field every day, was recommended for the New England TB Hero Award by her supervisor Michele Meade, RN, who cited Helen’s personal and engaged style of treatment, and her willingness to work through language barriers and stretch scheduled work hours to give patients high quality treatment.
City Children Have Fun at Three Kings Day Celebration
More than 400 city children and their parents enjoyed the annual Three Kings Day celebration at Luis Muñoz Marin School on Wednesday, which included traditional songs to usher in the visit by the Three Kings. At the end of the end of the program, every child was invited onstage to choose a toy. The toys were were made possible through a joint effort by the Mayor’s office and the Greater Bridgeport Latino Network.
Dignitaries in attendance included Schools Supt. John Ramos Sr., Board of Education vice chairman Leticia Colon and City Council member Lydia Martinez. Muñoz Marin assistant principal Olga Leiva helped organize the event with the help of Deputy Chief of Staff Ruben Felipe and city resident Rick Cruz, who also received a proclamation from Mayor Finch recognizing him for his volunteer efforts on behalf of the City and the Latino community.
Christmas tree pickup begins Monday, Jan. 11
City Public Facilities Department will begin collecting discarded Christmas trees beginning Monday, Jan. 11 and continue through Friday, Jan. 15.
All trees must be placed at the curbside and be free of all ornaments and plastic bags. Trees that are in plastic bags or have ornaments on them will not be collected.
Residents may also bring discarded trees to the City of Bridgeport’s Transfer Station located at 475 Asylum Street. All trees must be free of all ornaments and plastic bags before disposal.
For more information, please contact the Roadway Division at 576-7124 or 576-7751 with any questions.