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Finch And Mayoral Staff Examine Lessons From Baltimore

May 1st, 2015 · 24 Comments · City Politics, Development and Zoning, Law Enforcement, News and Events

From city Communications Director Brett Broesder:

This week, Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch gathered members of his staff to discuss efforts to build community relationships and support young people in order to avoid situations similar to the recent events that have occurred in Baltimore. Among those in attendance at today’s meeting were Jorge Garcia, Director of Public Facilities, Lamond Daniels, Director of Neighborhood Initiatives, Deborah Caviness, Director of the Small, Minority Business Resource Office, and Christina Smith, Director of Central Grants.

“Why I called you here is to prepare a response to what’s happening in Baltimore so that sort of thing never happens here,” said Mayor Finch. “We want to make sure our youth are engaged and feel empowered. We want to all talk to each other and communicate so we make sure that we keep everyone safe this summer. And we want to make sure that everyone knows about the opportunities and the jobs that are being created here in Bridgeport so that we don’t see that same level of frustration.”

Mayor Finch has reached out to fellow U.S. Conference of Mayors member Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and Baltimore’s Archbishop William Lori, formerly of the Diocese of Bridgeport.

“We’ve already made outreach since last night to our clergy and to some of the organizations that are doing work with young people in the neighborhoods,” said Daniels. “The mayor’s office will be meeting with a variety of folks to get their thoughts and ideas and help to strategize how we can bridge this disconnect that we’ve seen since Ferguson and up until now in Baltimore. We’re looking forward to a rich conversation to talk about how to keep things safe, keep things peaceful but also provide opportunities for our community to be heard.”

Mayor Finch noted that Bridgeport has the most diverse police department in the state of Connecticut. He added that his administration has taken great steps towards making the police department even more diverse through its most recent recruiting efforts. The Meriden Record Journal’s editorial board recently applauded Mayor Bill Finch and the Bridgeport Police Department for its diversity and recruitment efforts. This comes at a time when crime in Bridgeport is at historic lows. It also has seen the largest decrease in violent crime over the past decade when compared to similar sized New England cities.

“The ’90s was a tough time. Crime was high. As a high school student at that time, I remember the struggles,” said Garcia who is also a Bridgeport native. “Being able to be in the position that I am in now, and working closely with the mayor being able to help transform our parks is fulfilling. You get to see the children get out there and take advantage of the opportunities that we have.”

Garcia noted the work that Mayor Finch has done to make significant upgrades to the North End Little League baseball complex. Construction of three brand-new, state-of-the-art turf fields is on target and on time for the North End Little League’s Opening Day.

Ø Click here to read more about the North End Little League’s new fields: bit.ly/1HS92W5.

In addition to the new playing fields at North End Little League, Garcia also mentioned the reconstruction of new basketball courts throughout the city as well as the opening of new splash pads and playgrounds this summer.

“We’ve also recently been awarded for having the most innovative security systems at our parks in the nation. We’re creating safe havens at our parks for Bridgeport kids,” said Garcia.

Mayor Finch spoke about the new businesses that are moving to Bridgeport. “We’re really excited to welcome all of these companies to Bridgeport. Classic national names, Starbucks, Chipotle, Bass Pro Shops, Sports Authority. Now the next step is to get some internships, some summer jobs for our kids.”

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24 Comments so far ↓

  • Ron Mackey

    Mayor Bill Finch is far behind the times, the man has been the mayor for over seven years, he was a State Senator and a City Councilman and he still doesn’t have any answers. Jobs, jobs, jobs, that’s where everything starts, jobs for the parents to provide for their families and jobs for those unemployed teenagers and young adults so they don’t have to hang out on the street corner.

    Mayor Finch could have been a real leader by having a real jobs program by hiring Bridgeport residents as police officers and firefighters the same way Hartford does. There are your role models who live right here for the children and young adults can see and talk to in their own district. This would help the local economy with them paying for goods and services and paying taxes.

    The mayor’s statement said, “Mayor Finch noted that Bridgeport has the most diverse police department in the state of Connecticut.” Well, that’s true BUT not because of anything Finch has done, the police dept. is diverse because of federal lawsuits and because the police dept. had a Special Master to watch over the dept to make sure it was diverse. It also said, “He added that his administration has taken great steps towards making the police department even more diverse through its most recent recruiting efforts.” Once again, that’s a lie, numbers point out the effort was terrible, all one has to do is to look at the record of those hired in the police dept. and the fire dept. during the seven years Finch has been mayor. In fact, just look a the numbers for white females, both the police and fire dept. can’t even find any to be hired.

    Bridgeport could have been just like Baltimore, it could have been on fire, the video beating in Beardsley Park by three Bridgeport police officers. What has the dept. done, has there been training to make sure acts like that won’t happen again? Mayor Finch has no desire to hire blacks, Hispanics, females and residents and taxpayers of Bridgeport. All those years in elected public office and this man is still lost.

  • city hall smoker

    This is a new low, even for Finch. Using Baltimore as an excuse to assemble his black and Hispanic appointees, give them talking points and video the whole thing. Nothing but a campaign photo op. Disgusting. Where’s Reverend Stallworth? Oh yeah, he’s with the real mayor–Joe Ganim.

    • Steven Auerbach

      And that, city hall smoker, is about as pathetic as it gets for Ganim and Stallworth. Politics and religion have never mixed and here is a perfect example why.

  • Steven Auerbach

    Sidebar: I urge all restauranteurs struggling in downtown to check out Rio Bravo in Fairfield. This Mexican restaurant was packed and it is a very spacious eatery. The energy was powerful and the food was creative and delicious. What a interesting menu. I urge our local restaurants to check it out. Whatever they are doing , they are doing it extremely well. This is the energy I am hopeful for at Bijou Square as well as many great ethnic restaurants dotted throughout our downtown. I highly recommend!

  • Bob Walsh

    THEY ARE IN FAIRFIELD, DUMB SHIT!!!
    THEY ARE IN FAIRFIELD!!!
    So all struggling Bridgeport restaurants should relocate to Fairfield ASAP, per Stevie A.
    Brilliant observation.

    • Steven Auerbach

      Bob Walsh, I know they are in Fairfield. You must learn to think outside the box and go outside the box. Get new ideas and put them to work for you. Rio Bravo is a successful model and have a gimmick. I am suggesting we go, enjoy, learn and implement. That would be my goal if I owned a restaurant with excellent food but lacking clientele.

    • Steven Auerbach

      Bob, you almost sounded like Andy Fardy. :-) Thanks for the chuckle!

  • Harvey Weintraub

    AHAHAH. Just spit my coffee out, thank you Bob. LOL. Hey Steve, if Rio Bravo picked up and moved the building and the “energy” to downtown Bpt, it would be struggling like all the other restaurants down there. People just don’t feel safe there at night.

  • Wicca

    Actually, in my experience the energy at Rio Bravo is more appetizing than the food. The chicken tortilla soup was marginal at best. The guacamole was ahead of its time (the avocados needs at least a day if not two more to ripen). Taco Loco appears to understand and interpret Mexican food better. If I went back, it would be for the atmosphere.

    • Steven Auerbach

      Wicca, first I love Taco Loco but they are average. If I want great Mexican food, I’d stick to Main St and Park Ave. They are dotted with some of the best authentic Mexican restaurants you could find. Rio Bravo was packed with a 40-minute wait. The Margaritas were exceptional. The top shelf guacamole was made fresh at the table by the hostess and was delicious. The shrimp wrapped in bacon tacos and the fried calamari tacos were very good. The energy was strong and the clientele was a mixed bag. The restaurant was beautiful and the workers were just wonderful. They understood customer service and all greet when you come and go. Yes, to all of the negative posts, if I owned a restaurant I’d go check out the competition, learn and get creative. I had a glimpse of this energy a few Sundays for brunch at the downtown Barnum Pub. Imagine downtown pub packed with a waiting line on a Sunday afternoon. Learn fellas, that was the only point of the post. Not to have shit flung in my face from the typical local bores who don’t get out much.

        • Godiva2011

          Wicca, I agree with you! Poblanita’s food is authentic and delicious. Love the chimichangas and the flan is amazing.

        • Steven Auerbach

          Wicca, you are on the money! La Poblanita is a regular favorite as well as La Flor de Mexico next door and Garibaldi’s across the street. I just discovered on Main St. El Tenampa which was excellent with an incredible selection of Mexican beer. There is a new restaurant on Jewett I haven’t been to yet. I love all ethnic restaurants and have loved La Poblanita for years and so much better and more authentic than Taco Loco.

    • Godiva2011

      Taco Loco is a landmark. I don’t get there often, but when I do, the meal is always enjoyable. Couple that with an excellent margarita and it’s a win-win.

  • BPT REBEL

    As per usual Steve A does not “get it.”

    • Steven Auerbach

      BPT REBEL, as usual you have nothing to say other than you support Ganim and you are too embarrassed to identify yourself. As usual.

  • Wingnut

    What are the lessons learned from Baltimore, Mr. Mayor? Let’s hear your expertise! LOL.

  • Donald Day

    Mayor Finch said he’s holding these talks to see what happened in Baltimore doesn’t happen in Bridgeport. At one time Baltimore police was categorized as one of the most antiquated in the nation with an almost non-existent relationship with Baltimore’s African American community. This lack of relationship resulted in African American citizens being subject to excessive force from police officers.

    I submit this is the same dynamic that is happening in Bridgeport today because the Mayor’s agenda is to hire suburban white males over Bridgeport residents who understand the dynamics of diversity of our city.

  • Lisa Parziale

    Bubba, thank you for the laugh! I could hear you saying those words. LOL.

  • Wicca

    This is too repugnant for me to comment on.

    I will ask this question, though: Can we actually get some much-needed and taxpayer-funded work done on our roads without paying an additional $500 for a sign touting it? Good God.

    I can’t even count how many huge green signs have popped up in the last week. Infuriating. How about serving the taxpayers in the other three years and performing the job you were elected and PAID to do?

  • John Marshall Lee

    Mayor Bill,
    When you gather City employees around the table for a TV 12 appearance and fail to introduce them, where is your concern and respect for your team? Yes you are the Mayor and can do whatever you are advised but when two women are at the table, black women at that with ideas that may help the City and they are not asked to contribute, what does that say about how much you enjoy conversations? When two white males sit at the end of the table and are rarely shown with frontal shots one begins to ask, what technical advice are you getting?

    If you are concerned about youth, why did you not have comments from your experts of whatever color from schools, youth programs in summer and after school and around job opportunities? Might that have shown what you are doing? One can see a set of swings or a baseball diamond in a park, but it is much harder to see what an administration is doing that fails to look at best practices, puts them into effect, uses measurements to see how things are working, and publicizes them regularly over time. If you do not benchmark, if you are not accountable, you keep moving your lips and people stop trusting you because it is not real to them. Don’t you get it? Time will tell.

  • Ron Mackey

    Mayor Finch talks about new jobs but how many of those jobs will go to Bridgeport, what percentage did the developers guarantee will be jobs for Bridgeport? None, there are NO guarantees for anyone getting a job plus Finch doesn’t want to hire Bridgeport residents to be firefighters and police officers.

  • Andrew C Fardy

    Bill Finch and his cadre of appointed officials have not told the truth to the people of Bridgeport since he became mayor. Finch is a LYING sob.

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