Don’t Forget The Library Money, Plus: Russo Rangels Himes And SuBy’s Legal Credentials

As city bean counters build a budget to submit to the City Council in early April, the spending plan that begins July 1 will include a new key item, $6.9 million to support library services approved last year in a referendum by city voters.

Yes indeed, a one mil library allocation each year is now the law of the land, thanks to electors. By law, according to Library Board President Jim O’Donnell the attorney who successfully argued the recluse law that a Superior Court judge ordered placed on the ballot, the city must set aside money as a dedicated library allocation from overall tax collections. Current year library budget costs including salaries, benefits, utilities and debt services, etc. are roughly $5 million.

O’Donnell told OIB the library board has several priorities to modernize and improve facilities chief among them repairing a leaky roof at the main branch downtown creating havoc for the Historical Collections. The library board does not have the authority to enter into an agreement with a financing entity for capital expenditures so must use the city’s bonding powers to finance improvements. Moving forward, items such as debt service and utilities will be factored into the one mil library appropriation. In addition, library priorities include staff increases, longer branch hours, two full service branches serving the East Side and East End and additional cosmetic and lighting improvements for the main branch.

Remember all the meowing we heard from city pols that worked against the referendum? (Paging City Councilman Bob Walsh, paging Council President Tom McCarthy, paging Democratic Town Chair Mario Testa) You know what, what the voters want the voters get and I’m betting the city will have in time the finest public library system in the state. And that’s not a bad thing to promote.

Russo Hits Himes On Rangel Loot, News Release


Russo to Himes: Return the Rangel Money

Fairfield, CT – Demonstrating that all press is not assuredly good press, The Washington Examiner yesterday spotlighted CT Congressman Jim Himes in Mark Hemingway’s “Dirty Money Watch.” The topic? Congressman Jim Himes has received $16,000 in campaign donations from New York Congressman Charlie Rangel’s National Leadership PAC and Congressional Campaign.

“This kind of sleazy pay-to-play politics is exactly why only 10% of the country think Congress is doing a good job,” said Rob Russo, Candidate for Connecticut’s 4th Congressional District. “You can’t campaign on ethics, pretend it’s an issue for you and then take $16 thousand dollars from a man who has severe ethics problems of his own. The people of the 4th District deserve more. Congressman Himes must return this dirty money.”

Congressman Rangel has been embroiled in an ethics investigation surrounding his failure to report or pay income taxes on properties in New York and the Dominican Republic, securing earmarks for a building in NY to be named for Rangel and using official office staff and stationary to solicit political contributions.

Congressman Himes’ hypocrisy doesn’t end with his refusal to return the Rangel Money. In October, Himes voted against removing Congressman Rangel from his powerful position as House Ways and Means Chairman while an ethics panel continued to investigate the allegations against him.

Oddly enough, just three months after voting to keep him, he told the Connecticut Post that Charlie Rangel should not be in his position. ‘”There is a willingness in Congress to tolerate the intolerable,’ noting that U.S. Rep. Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.), should have been asked to step aside during his ethics probe.” Himes faces tough crowd in New Canaan, By James Lomuscio, Correspondent, Saturday, January 9, 2010.

“More double speak from a Washington politician is not going to help the people of the 4th District get through these tough economic times. It’s not going to give us jobs. If we can’t trust that they are listening to their own words, how can we trust they are listening to ours when we demand cuts in spending, health care reform without a public option, reduced regulation and tax burden on small businesses. We need leaders who are willing to make tough decisions, and we need to end the practice of Congress being more accountable to itself than to the people,” said Russo.

For more information on Rob Russo, visit his website at

News Release From Himes

Himes Votes to Restore Competition, Fairness in Health Insurance Market

WASHINGTON, DC –Congressman Jim Himes (CT-4) helped pass legislation today that will ensure American consumers get real choice and a fair deal when purchasing health insurance. The Health Insurance Industry Fair Competition Act will eliminate the anti-trust exemption for health insurance companies, requiring them to compete fairly and adhere to the same anti-trust laws as other companies.

“Repealing the unfair anti-trust exemption that health insurance companies enjoy will improve choice and competition for health care consumers across the board,” said Himes. “This unfair practice drives up costs and, left unchecked, will ensure that we continue to pay too much for too little when it comes to our health care.”

For 65 years, the health insurance industry has been legally exempt from anti-trust laws, and the federal government was banned from even investigating evidence of possible collusion. In the last 14 years alone, there have been 400 mergers among health insurers and now 94% of all insurance markets are “highly concentrated” – meaning consumers have little or no choice between insurance providers.

Health insurers that were previously exempt from anti-trust laws will now bear legal responsibility for price fixing, dividing up territories among themselves, and sabotaging their competitors in order to gain a monopoly in the marketplace. Such practices have been outlawed in other industries for decades.

The legislation is supported by numerous groups including the American Hospital Association, American Nurses Association, American Academy of Pediatrics, Consumers Union, and the Consumer Federation of America.

This Will Be Fun, From Jon Lender, Hartford Courant

The state’s Republican Party has decided to hire a lawyer to challenge Secretary of the State Susan Bysiewicz in the lawsuit that she filed last week to seek a “declaratory ruling” that she is eligible to run for state attorney general.

At a meeting Tuesday night, the Republican State Central Committee committee authorized GOP state chairman Chris Healy to hire a prominent Hartford attorney, Eliot B. Gersten, to intervene in the lawsuit. He would be paid with the party’s funds, Healy said.

The move by the state Republicans increases the possibility that the question of Bysiewicz’s legal qualifications will be aired prominently in a court hearing. It also means that Bysiewicz may face the highly unusual prospect, as a statewide elected official, of having to testify under oath about how she has spent her time during her 11 years in office.

Asked Wednesday morning if he planned to call Bysiewicz as a witness in the case, Gersten answered this way: “I think all participants in this proceeding would anticipate providing testimony in support or in opposition of her factual claims.”

Bysiewicz claims that her 11 years as secretary of the state should count as the practice of law, but Healy has disputed that.

The question is critical to Bysiewicz’s hopes, because a state law says that to serve as attorney general, a person must have accumulated “10 years’ active practice” as a lawyer in Connecticut. Bysiewicz had only six years of private law practice in Connecticut, for a law firm and a corporate law department, before winning the 1998 election to the office she now holds.



  1. You know what, what the voters want the voters get and I’m betting the city will have in time the finest public library system in the state. And that’s not a bad thing to promote.

    Spoken like a true political junkie!

    The public library is THE LAST THING a newcomer considers when evaluating a new town. This is especially true of the internet crowd so eagerly sought after by today’s economic developers. Promoting it seems bad policy, IMHO. It’s a fact: LEADERS are READERS but they increasingly read online at home. The Alpha Plan–approved during the referendum–will engineer a revenue increase at taxpayer’s expense on July 1.

    I understand I’m open to criticism but Local Eyes remains convinced that time and inflation will prompt voters to regret their decision to support the Alpha Plan.

  2. Local Eyes, you may not weigh a communities library as important, but clearly others do. Voters would rather see their taxpayer dollars go to the library for computer access, programming, access to books, videos and guest lectures than go to unqualified political hires that make huge salaries and produce very little. There are plenty of cuts that can be made in City Hall that would have zero impact on service delivery or performance of any kind. In fact, things might improve. The problem is the person in charge of pulling the budget together is terrible. He is a low-skilled hack. He is more interested in playing games than anything else. A real shame. You should use your local eyes to watch him up close. You would be sick.

  3. The BPL’s budget will be on automatic pilot for years to come. “Lazy” is an apt word to describe the Library’s desire to negotiate with The City Council on a yearly basis. “Unwise” is an apt to word to describe the voters feelings after “referendum remorse” sets in. Blogging is all about opinions, right? I think the ghost of Jasper McLevy would repeal his referendum law as soon as he discovered the web!

    In the meantime, all cardholders are urged to enjoy The BPL and the upcoming improvements.

      1. I believe the school libraries all have computers.
        And if lack of computers is the problem, let’s deal with the problem. I believe the new mini-laptops go for about $400 so let’s buy 15,000 of them for $6 million and the problem is solved.

      2. anna, you gravy-slurping socialist, you! You have grossly misunderstood me … that kid could’ve had a bpl computer last year … that kid didn’t need a referendum … you have what critics call a “municipal mentality,” you are what I call an “unqualified snob,” you’re suffering from intellectual poverty.

  4. Increase in the library budget. 10% increase requested by the BOE. Increase in the city’s slush fund to pay for lawsuits for improperly fired employees. Wage increases previously delayed by the administration. Cost of doing business increases all add up to a tax increase.
    In the end the citizens of Bridgeport will get a good screwing this budget year. Stand By.
    To Pat Crossin you want a 10% BOE increase for What?
    The BOE is failing miserably in their mission which is to educate our children. When you have a 68% dropout rate you are failing pure & Simple. May I suggest you google Central Falls Rhode Island teachers and take a page out of what they are doing? That may be the first step in improving education and lowering the costs.

  5. As others have pointed out the public library provides a host of free services to the Bridgeport community–books, av material, and computers just to name a few and with our new budget we will be able to enrich and expand these services throughout the city.

    But the public library is more than just these services. The public library has become the “public living room.” It is a place where the entire community can, and does come together for both education and entertainment and just as importantly, to socialize with one another. As we say at the Black Rock Branch, we are:

    “A Gathering Place for the Entire Community”

    If anyone would like to see what’s going on here at the Black Rock Branch please email me at:

    All the best

    John Soltis

  6. I believe the state law that provided this mega million jackpot specifically used the language a “free reading room” not a “meeting room” and definitely not a “living room.”

  7. If we run short on police and policing equipment, this mega million jackpot may provide the funding to add more meaning to the phrase “throwing the book at the criminal.”

  8. This morning’s mail shows a difference of prophecy on the future behavior of the community service known as the Bridgeport Public Library. Having lived through the “dry period” where there was no neighborhood library in Black Rock open to the public, where Mayor Fabrizi froze the Library operating budget for 3-4 years thereby shrinking programs and hours, where it took 4 years to find LOHCIP funds for which we had been eligible previously as a solution to complete capital funding for the renovation, where Mayor Finch’s initial budget cut something like 1/3 from that previously frozen number I am ready to look to the Library Board for a different form of budget governance. Don’t you think that there is a chance that they might do better than the stewards of the process just reported upon? Argue with the facts I have stated, if you can, to support negative opinions after opposing the voter referendum, but let’s see if the Library Board follows a different budget process. After their executive/finance group comes up with an approach, hopefully a multi-year plan, perhaps they will hold hearings at one or more locations for their patrons? Perhaps they will indicate some metrics to set out what they are attempting and post results on a regular and transparent basis? Maybe they will even listen to suggestions that come up in this process? Maybe with such communication and “voter mandate” they will be more empowered to work with the BOE to allow public resources, both equipment and personnel, to be used more frequently and with more efficiency by citizens? Maybe our standing in the library services world within the region anyway, will improve? I for one am impressed with how the meeting rooms at the Black Rock branch are being used for a variety of programs and meetings currently and it is in that sense that a previous writer used the words ‘public living room,’ I sense.
    Even those of you who will keep reminding the rest of us what a bad choice has been made by the voters should find at least one thing positive about this: per the Charter the City must have one meeting annually to review the Budget. Well, since the Library Budget will be an automatic number each year, the need for discussing or debating it can now be spent on the plethora of other departments, programs, etc., right? Better focus on the remainder!

  9. ‘My people” are here now. We sip soft drinks as they study today’s posts. They laugh and are generally pleased with my effort although their deepest concerns are for The Park City’s future.

    What Bridgeport needs is a development by this (awesome) urban planner/architect: <– their bio

    Here’s what they have to say:

    We want to synthesize and speculate on new directions and hopefully open up a world of dreams for politicians and urban planners–dreams that can somehow change our fixed and fearful society.


    Visit their site and keep the drooling to a minimum.

    www <–

  10. Lennie,
    Have you ever seen a young pup chase its own tail? Every once in a while it will stop its furious pursuit, conscious that the world only has eyes for him and/or on him, rips off a couple barks, and suddenly notices his tail moving again. And the chase is on once again. And so it goes. Day after day.
    Nobody needs to wind that bow-wow up. It will nip at anything that gets near it. Jumps on people too. Chews on anything it sees, often ruining it in the process. And before lying down, in exhaustion prances around as if it is the smartest, classiest and most beautiful thoroughbred ever whelped. A real barking bow-wow!
    So we have enjoyed his lengthy nap for the past several days. Perhaps that is where fantasy life manufactures rumors? (Do you really provide a kennel and cash to keep him around? Probably a collar and an Invisible Fence would work just as well.)
    But it’s clear that he’s up and yapping again, posting more random Eyes-an-hour (11 of the 19 posts at this moment). Anyone know a good obedience training class … heel … sit … down … listen!!! Good boy …

  11. Being retired offers a person a lot of free time. I just spent 6 hours watching the health care summit hosted by President Obama.
    This was an exercise in futility. It became painfully obvious that neither side was interested in compromise. Both sides stuck to their agenda and both sides illustrated we need to vote every one of these assholes out of office.
    There are good point to each version of health care reform but neither side wants to compromise. The President spent more time talking than all the other politicians combined. What a waste of time and money.


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