As mayor, John Fabrizi was a leading cheerleader for restaurants, arts and entertainment, destination points and educational institutions. Making the rounds to test a comeback as chief executive, Fabs has penned a letter to University of Bridgeport President Neil Salonen praising the South End campus as an economic driver, community innovator and education partner with the city’s Adult Education program he has headed for years as he prepares for retirement at the end of the school year. The letter serves to embrace a university Mayor Bill Finch has held in contempt while providing a nod to a potential mayoral rival Mary-Jane Foster, vice president of University Relations.
Finch’s disdain for UB where he was once employed goes back more than 20 years when an arm of the Unification Church financed the university’s recovery from the economic downturn of the early 1990s. Finch had become something of a student of organizations he classified as cult groups he blindly carried over to his political career without regard to the students, professionals running the university, the school’s economic impact on the city, brain power and community involvement.
Finch, in the early years of his mayoralty, made inflammatory remarks about UB that questioned his resolve for the greater good of the community. Mayoral aides, the business community and others prevailed upon the mayor to see the larger picture of the university’s assets. It reached the point the best compromise the mayor could swallow was saying nothing about the university. Perhaps Finch feels he’s too far out there to find a way back, but the university has made huge strides in recent years, building community partnerships, swelling enrollment and furthering technological advancements.
Finch’s myopia toward UB and other policy decisions ruined his friendship with Foster who challenged him in a 2011 Democratic primary. Will Foster run again in 2015? If not, could Fabs be her default candidate?
Fabs embracing UB provides all upside as the tries to draw a larger-picture contrast with Finch. The larger question for Fabs, however, is can he raise the money to wage a competitive race for mayor? If he can he’s in the game. It’s a big if as he finishes out his final months with the school system with an eye toward building coalitions. Fabs’ letter to Salonen:
As a former Mayor of Bridgeport, former member of the University of Bridgeport’s Board of Trustees, graduate of the University, father of a son who is also an alumni and a life-long Bridgeport resident, I want to congratulate you, your staff and the University on the significant strides and progress that you have spearheaded at the University during your tenure.
The University is the economic driver in Bridgeport’s south end and a jewel of the City of Bridgeport. Your increase in enrollment and course offerings alone has certainly portrayed the leadership that you have demonstrated since you joined the University. Your effort to work with the Board on all issues, and the Trefz family as well, has certainly improved the quality of life for your campus family especially with the addition of the Trefz School of Business.
Your innovative approach and strategy on adding a nursing component and nursing track, in partnership with the Bridgeport Hospital and Yale University collaborative, truly broadens the offerings in the health field for your students in pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Nursing … a field rich in jobs and need. Your recent announcement of the fuel cell initiative further exemplifies your University’s foresight in the areas of cost savings, power need and preparedness in case of disastrous storms. It’s my understanding that this initiative alone will save the University about $4 million dollars over a decade and power 80% of the University at peak. I know that the list continues and you and your staff are working hard every day improving the University’s quality and strength, which of course, makes for a better Bridgeport!
To this end, I say “thank you” for all that you have done in making the University of Bridgeport a high quality education institution. Thank you for your partnerships with the Bridgeport Board of Education in the Schools of Education and Engineering, and lastly thank you once again for giving a full 4 year scholarship to one of our annual Bridgeport Adult Education graduates 6 years in a row.
Keep up the fine work that you and the University do for your students, staff, Bridgeport and our surroundings.
Please stay on the sidelines and enjoy your retirement.
You should take your own advice!
Ahhh, The Phantom strikes. I do enjoy my retirement and I enjoy writing on this blog. I use my real name and don’t hide behind a childish fake name like The Phantom. Things slow in the firehouse?
Another coward heard from, hiding behind a fake name. Are you afraid the chief will find out what you do at work? I mean with so few fires to respond to, you resort to the crap you post. Shame on you.
Are you saying park city fan’s real name is park city smoke exhaust fan or it should be?
Criminals, AYALA and drug addicts are the best the city and state can do? No wonder 49% of the people would leave if they could.
That was a very nice letter John Fabrizi sent. It is almost identical IN TONE TO THE LETTER I HAD SENT AND PRINTED IN THE CONNECTICUT POST. I liked John Fabrizi as Mayor.
Regarding University of Bridgeport, I am still betting on Mayor Finch attending the graduation this weekend. I would be shocked if he did not attend. Shocked would be an understatement. I believe he will do the right thing by the University, Students, Governor Malloy and representing the city.
Not only is the University a jewel in the South End as I have stated on numerous occasions, but the entire South End re-development depends on it as an anchor and should be supported at every opportunity.
There are many individuals who will throw their hats in the ring for mayor. The question is who has a platform worth listening to? I do not think the winner will be determined by the size of their war chest … I think it will come down to character.
I look forward to the debates.
Why stop short of calling it plagiarism?
The Mayor will not be in attendance as it is not a political event. This event is to honor the graduates. If the mayor has a friend or family member who has a ticket then he could attend as their guest.
Maybe they could have Linda Blair as a guest speaker and she could perform an Exorcism on Bill!
Someone at work told me Fabrizi and Ayala work out of the same office on East Main St.
I find this hard to believe but if it is true then how does any work get done when one is trying to run for mayor and the other is in Hartford or attending area events all the time?
Did Fabrizi support UB the last few years or is this a smokescreen trying to drum up support where Finch is disliked?
Also what happens if Ayala wants to run for mayor which has been rumored, if he and Fabrizi work in the same office will they arm wrestle for the nomination?
Hard to take Fabrizi seriously. Is this the best we can do as a mayoral candidate??? Might as well make Ernie Newton the tax collector, Christine Ayala could be town clerk … oy vey.
Nice letter by Fabrizi, not exactly groundbreaking, but nice. I’m sure the point is to begin to set the issues agenda for his candidacy and somebody should take Finch on for his myopic and city-destructive view of UB. But Fabrizi? We’ve been there and done that. Time for him to move on.
BPT REBEL, they both work at Central High School Adult Ed. There is no secret there. What can Fabrizi say about Finch after he totally supported him and who is Ayala showing allegiance to. Very interesting. The Democrats are so splintered it could be a real exciting season.
Thank you for confirming that, Steve.
Fabrizi must be making a boatload of money, no? If he can retire his pension must be $100,000 a year and then if he is mayor he would be pulling down another $140,000. Not bad.
So the rumors about Ayala running for mayor would not be true? They work together so I’m assuming they are somewhat friendly and wouldn’t run for the same position. Of course, assuming anything in Bpt is crazy.
REBEL, technically Ayala reports to Fabrizi. Until Fabs retires.
Makes it all the more confusing, Ayala was council president when Fabrizi was mayor and my father said they hated each other. Fabrizi was the machine and Ayala was the good guy.
Times they are a-changing, I reckon.
In 2011 I remember a billboard in town that read “Anyone but Finch.” Well, Fabrizi qualifies, right?
Fabrizi put up that billboard?
I have no idea who put up the billboard and I did not imply Fabrizi did. Please don’t start rumors.
Bondie, if John is thinking of putting up another Bill’s board, he should start now! I hope this is not a rumor!
Fabs did not put up that billboard.
Lennie, if Fabs or Bondie need any money for the billboard, let me know.
There HAS NOT BEEN ANY PUBLIC ACCESS TO PLEASURE BEACH SINCE 1996. IT WOULD BE NICE IF ELECTED OFFICIALS OF THAT DISTRICT WOULD SHOW UP AND WOULD BE NICE IF THE CITY GOT BEHIND THIS AS WHEELEBRATOR WOULD BE RECYCLING ALL THE GARBAGE.
THANK YOU FOR TAKING THE TIME TO READ THIS POST. HOPEFULLY THE GREEN MAYOR WILL ASK HIS EMPLOYEES TO VOLUNTEER FOR THIS CAUSE AND SUPPORT PARK CITY MAGNET SCHOOL WHERE THE STUDENTS ARE AWESOME.
Buses leaving 9am School on 1526 Chopsey Hill Rd.
Buses??? What happened to the water taxis?