Finch Disses Black Rock: ‘Those People Have Got To Stop Complaining About Their Taxes’–Will Voters Complain About Mayoral Power In November?

Mayor Bill Finch is a hoot. Leave it up to the mayor to puke up verbally what’s in his head. Five months into his second four-year term, no filter required. Rejected at the ballot box by Black Rock voters in last year’s primary and general election, hizzoner has some advice for residents paying the highest taxes in the city: Stop complaining! The mayor made the remark, captured by CT Post reporter Tim Loh, at a recent brown-bag lunch to address constituent questions. When one resident expressed frustration about back taxes, the mayor responded, in part, according to Loh’s article:

“Taxes in Bridgeport are not that bad a deal,” he said.

A $900,000 waterfront home in Black Rock would probably cost $3.5 million in Westport, he said. Even if taxes are slightly higher here, he added, it would take years and years for the aggregate costs to be equal.

“Those people (in Black Rock) have got to stop complaining about their taxes.”

Who are those people? Is the mayor telling all “those people” in Black Rock who did vote for him to stop complaining as well? Give the mayor some credit for his segue to diss Black Rockers. He’ll be facing the fire Wednesday at 6 p.m. for his next scheduled public budget presentation at the Black Rock library branch. Black Rock homeowners will be complaining a lot more based on the mayor’s budget proposal that will kick taxpayers in teeth in that neighborhood in the neighborhood of $600 and more. (Finch’s proposed 2.7 mil increase would hit that $900k house with an additional $2430.)

It must be so comforting for taxpayers financing the mayor’s budget to hear they must stop complaining.

Furthermore why would the mayor–by design or not–risk alienating an entire neighborhood when he wants voters to give him the power in November to appoint school board members? Sometimes he allows tongue to get ahead of brain. The Black Rock voting precinct has 3,000 voters. Seventy-five percent of them will vote in the presidential election when a series of charter revision questions are expected to be on the ballot. Voters granting the mayor the power to appoint school board members will not be an easy sell, especially coming off a tax increase. There will also be a special election, likely this summer, to fill four school board seats. Why rub taxes in Black Rock voters’ faces? All the opposition has to do is remind voters in Black Rock, the mayor wants you to stop complaining about taxes.

Loh’s article here.



  1. I can agree with Mayor Bill on this one.
    The people in Black Rock do complain way too much.
    And you can be sure they will be sitting in their mansions, sipping their imported wine, beer, water, whatever on Wednesday night, too damn lazy to go out and let the mayor know how they feel.
    That is why Finch feels emboldened to make these statements because he knows no one will show up at his budget forum.
    They get what they deserve.

    1. Get over yourself. The “people” in Black Rock have been complaining for years and this is how the mayor addresses the complaints? Get the fuck out of here, Bill.

  2. The Fabulous one, who went and spent city money to fix up the BR Library because he didn’t want to wait for state funding even though the project was in the queue, should have taken a geography course to see the people who live at St. Mary’s don’t even know where the BR Library is. They don’t get onto Fairfield Ave until it is almost Fairfield so they won’t be able to find the library Wednesday let alone get out of their cars and walk in Bridgeport to get into the building.

    1. Grin, I hate to say it but the above post is pure bullshit. I have attended many things held at the library and they are all well attended. What do you have against rich people? I am rich, do you hate me also?
      The people in Black Rock have a great library, a great community center, a new boys and girls club and the list goes on.
      You know what we have in the upper East Side? “Zip point shit.”

  3. Anyone who lives in a Black Rock ‘mansion’ worked hard to accumulate the resources to enjoy that way of living. Finch actually believes they should stop moaning about paying high taxes because they can afford to pay whatever his stupidity causes them to pay. Anyone wealthy or otherwise who loudly objects to wasteful spending and thoughtless taxation has a voice and that voice should be heard.

    Sooner or later these voices are going to wake up the brain-dead registered non-voters in this town and we will drive these sons of bitches out.

  4. Here’s a fact for everyone. When the Mayor mentions the Westport home at $3 Million that can be bought for $900,000 here in Bridgeport, he states a fact, because something like that happened with the Chimneys property in Black Rock. The previous owner of the property who may have paid $2 Million or $3 Million for it had to sell for $900,000. What happened to the value of his Capital Asset? And isn’t that what has happened to all of the property the City owns, purchased or condemned at higher prices, and could not be sold in 2011? And still cannot sell in 2012 and has to admit that fact with five months in the fiscal year left? See the January monthly City financial report! And what are they projecting for next year again?

    So as taxes increase, and taxpayer property values decrease, those are two sides of this specific coin. And the Mayor picks on a neighborhood? Mayor Finch, how are your neighbors taking the news of the tax increase? And how about owners in the West End, South End, North End, East Side, East End, the Hollow, etc.??? What neighborhood is out in front of City Hall Annex agreeing with your 2013 Budget Presentation???

    Tax protestor John Gomes has company at the 2:00 PM to 4:00 PM “tax protest.” Neither man is happy about the tax increase and they are not pleased with the value of their property decreasing. The other taxpayer has more than six properties in the City and he is upset, too. These are not Black Rock protesters!!! Mayor, what property taxpayer is supporting this increase who has read your budget and who does not have a job in the City? Time for them to come out and take some of the pressure off you. No???

    Apparently you are used to pitting different sections of the community against each other when questions pop up. Like Black Rock vs. the rest of the City? Like retirees vs. taxpayer? Like people who believe in the right to vote vs. your power to appoint? And you have the gall to diss folks who have been fighting for more money for education for four years??? How do you look at yourself in the mirror? Aren’t you the Mayor of all of the City? Need any help with your accountable governance? Look back at my letters and comments for nearly two years. That is all I have been offering, and you have ignored an opportunity.

    And Mayor Finch, get those folks in your financial cabinet to post some current numbers about the Net Grand List 2011, please. You can put up the 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 along with the 2011 numbers. Then the entire City can see what has been happening to the Net Grand List. Show us the numbers so we can see for ourselves the accuracy of your statement: “The City’s tax base continues to show growth …” but maybe not enough to forestall a 7% tax increase???

    How’s the kitchen, Mayor Finch? Getting heated because the untruths and half-truths of your administration are coming to light and bursting into flame??? Well we have a great Fire Department and a good Police Department (though we have asked some unanswered questions about Police overtime that have not been answered). I’ll bet the rank and file members of the PD would like to know more fully about that OT issue as well.

    You had some comments a few months back about democracy not working all of the time. Would you like to revisit them (or perhaps eat them)? I wonder how the Sacramento, New York, Philadelphia and other Mayors in your “study group” have picked up your quote and are running with it, kind of like the “efficiency ideas” they learned in Bridgeport? Time for answers. Time will tell.

  5. I attended last night’s B & A committee meeting and I was amazed at the lack of budget knowledge exhibited by the committee. We are talking about a $250 million-plus budget and the only questions asked were about red light cameras and parking fees.
    The entire meeting was run by Tom Sherwood who dazzled the committee with bullshit. The one thing he mentioned was police overtime which is $2.5 million over budget. He blamed that on the 11 murders and some other nonsense I am trying to figure out. He did not mention the 25 new cops we just put out on the streets. He did not mention how this OT got out of hand. HE WAS NOT ASKED ABOUT THIS BY THE B&A. There were no questions about the 80 jobs that are not being filled yet they are being budgeted in the amount of $4.5 million, same as last year.
    I have a suggestion for the B & A and council president McCarthy, dissolve the B & A committee and just submit the mayor’s bullshit budget to the council for a rubber stamp. That’s what is going to happen anyway.

  6. Please don’t hate me guys, but I actually laughed out loud when I heard Finch’s comment. I am beginning to think we live in a cartoon. Call me naive, but I don’t understand where on earth a governmental leader gets to say “Don’t blame me” and “stop complaining” to the people to whom he is accountable (well, in a real city government anyway). It actually seems surreal, he thinks it’s okay to go on the record with these puerile remarks. Let’s start a comic strip.

    1. Zena Lu,
      We may have to ask Bill Finch what he means by “accountable” or “transparent.” Perhaps he flunked vocabulary tests when he was in school. Maybe he doesn’t have a “dictionary app” on his hand held. Has he ever asked an adviser what those words might mean to the public, to the taxpayer???

      In my time there was a Bridgeport-raised cartoonist, Walt Kelly, author of POGO, who provided one of the best quotes ever: “We have met the enemy, and he is us!” Human nature being what it is, allows you to understand how we have gotten to where we are now. But only reciting the facts of everyday life in contrast to the way things are supposed to be done by our own Charter, our own Ordinances, by Mission statements, in practical terms, in service to all of the people with all of the people participating (keeping properties up, paying taxes, obeying laws, extending courtesy and favor to both young and old, voting, responding to jury duty, etc.) as citizens of a “once again proud City.” The Mayor understands the appeal of the rhetoric. He just cannot bear the burden of the lifting that is called for.

      The TV cameras will be on the “tax protestors” with a story soon. Let’s hear the Mayor tell the folks from the Hollow, the North End, the East Side and South End, as well as Black Rock to SHUT UP in their protest comments when the cameras are rolling. The facts of this contest are in the Budget Book 2013 and the “slush” money recorded is not GREEN! It has put the City in the RED for too many years. Time will tell.

  7. I have been speaking to a number of street cops and asking them about the overtime issues. I was told by everyone I spoke to the department OT is not that large in patrol. If and I mean if the OT is what the administration is stating then the OT is going to the bosses and not the soldiers.
    In fact there is a petition circulating within the PD about a certain training officer who works about 30 hrs a week (never shows up on time) who made $148,000 last year.
    I have a question for Mr. Sherwood, if what you say is true about the excessive OT overrun where the hell were you as this was going on; better yet where was the deputy chief who monitors OT who we pay over $100K.

  8. Talk about biting the hand that feeds you …
    Lennie, can you take a look and see how many campaign donations Finch and Woody picked up in Black Rock?
    I’ll bet Finch&Company weren’t complaining when they were cashing those checks.

  9. Contrary to Finch’s example, most Black Rockers do not live in $900,000 waterfront homes. Many of us are not rich or even well-to-do. The ignorance and arrogance exhibited by the mayor is stunning and demoralizing. Shame on him! Shame on him!

  10. Sherwood’s dog and pony show is déjà vu all over again. Thanks to JML and Andy Fardy for asking the questions the council people are either too scared or too stupid to ask.

    Civil Service Commission meets today at 2 p.m. Dawn Norton will be asking for a reorganization of the Finance Dept. This will accomplish the following:
    a) give Sherwood more control over the grant money,
    b) eliminate qualified employees and replace them with more political appointees, or
    c) all of the above.
    JML and Andy might want to stop in on this meeting as well. David Dunn and the hand-picked commission are no better than the City Council.

  11. Andy and I were at B&A last night with 5 of 7 members plus four other Council members. Tom Sherwood, Dawn Norton and Nestor Nkwo were present. Tom went to lengths to let all know HE does not publish the financial reports monthly (as in I AM NOT TO BLAME!) but Dawn Norton was asked not a thing by anyone there and volunteered nothing. Nestor attempted to answer a question but was closed off by a comment from Sherwood.

    Yes readers, this is Sherwood’s Forest and OPM is orchestrating the whole production. Tom told us it was gang task force, homicides, and storms that account for OT and he had the numbers to support his statement. The sick humor of this situation is not one of the 9 Council members present asked him to share those numbers with the Council. Why not? Asking for factual information to support statements by OPM would provide credibility. Of course if your job, your favors, your family position is compromised by asking questions you don’t do it. But that is the situation the City finds itself in. The last group that can be termed a check or balance shows no teeth. Watchdog as lapdog.

    Not one February Monthly report appeared in evidence though several Council members did bring their 2013 Proposed Budget books. In this case there seems to have been confusion (blamed on the City Clerk’s office with no one from there present to defend themselves) as to what the B&A was there to do. Sherwood said he was not prepared to deal with the Capital Budget as several expected. A video of this meeting would have revealed the dismal functioning of fiscal process in the City.

    On the brighter side, the Post reported the creation and offering of BRBC placeholders on a new Education Committee to provide overview of educational finances for the City. Hey while they are at it, they might look over the City budget too! In 2011 the external auditor indicated $270 Million spent in the general budget (without education), $317 Million spent on education including Grants, $45 Million on Capital/Bonding, and $23 Million on Non-Major Funding (like HUD-CDBG, etc.) Some business oversight over the entire $656 (and in some years more) would be more helpful to the taxpaying public than any toaster for a new deposit or $50 award for referring a new depositor could ever possibly be.

    How do we reach out to this group and share the “ghost positions” as well as “ghost services” where the money is not spent where proposed and approved but ends up as City “slush?” Could they get rid of their “internal auditor” as easily as the Finch administration has done? Will their stockholders put up with CEO or CFO failure to provide a 12th month report??? If they were to review the budget entry for Controller posted in the 2013 budget, would their be disciplinary action for the multiple errors contained therein?

    I wonder if the multiple TV cameras at City Hall last night will return to Bridgeport soon for the largest uncovered story in the City. Curfews for kids? Land use issues? Charter Reform output on BOE? Or Proposed Budget for 2013 with “slush” entries throughout, a $6 Million increase to Pension Plan A without addressing the underlying reason, salary increases for the higher paid, MERF retirement allocations that appear non-proportional, etc. Take out your budget books and find the reasons this budget should be rejected. Become a watchdog!!! You have your own funds to protect, taxes come from your income, decreasing property values damage your balance sheet. You are poorer in either case!!! You cannot trust the Council members to do this. You must act on your own, or join with others at this moment. Time will tell.

  12. Zena Lu,
    That is actually a great idea! Start a quarterly on Finch’s Follies, a la the “Quaile Quarterly” or something like SNL did with Sarah Palin.
    The Mayor makes a joke out of all of us. Let’s make a bigger joke out of him. It would not be hard and it could finally be the answer we’ve been waiting for. There is plenty of material, after all. I nominate you, Tom Kelly, Jim Callahan, Charles Brilvitch, Johnny Rizzo and Bob Walsh to be on the editorial board.

  13. Part of the Mayor’s argument is well taken. But I still think what the Republican Mayor candidate asked for–a forensic budget audit–was really in order before resorting to a tax hike. Could have said … look, let’s really get more transparency, or else taxes going up. I have seen many questions raised here but wish there was a king of citizen audit web site to keep a log.

    One problem on tax issue is much of Bridgeport does not pay taxes. When times are hard, some say we might look at religious organizations and their various charity businesses.

    Anyway, on the show tonight we are moving away from the entertainment ordinance topic and will air a segment of the following video. Viewer discretion advised. I have never seen on TV anywhere what we are about to air:

  14. The mayor doesn’t like it that Black Rock and a good section of the North End voted for Mary-Jane Foster in the primary last year. So a tax increase would put a greater financial burden on those neighborhoods. This is just spite, plain and simple. Hizzoner and his major domo/chief cook & bottle washer Adam “Pecker” Wood are holding a grudge. How becoming of individuals charged with conducting the city’s affairs in a forthright and responsible manner.

  15. Bill Finch is a joke. A bad joke. Problem is, every time he “pukes” (thank you Lennie) something up out of the brain, it distracts everyone from the issues at hand. The Board of Education and our right to vote was stolen from us. When the CT Supreme Court found the process illegal, the Mayor and Paul Timpanelli ran their asses up to Hartford to beg the legislature to overturn the ruling. What a joke. Then the City Attorney’s office (Bohannon specifically) went to work to delay and ultimately deny the special election the CT Supreme Court ordered. Really, at this rate and Friday the 13th is the date, I fear we are not going to get that election. All the babble about how wonderful the new board is ignores how we got here. Raped. That’s what it was and is, folks. Then we got another fan dance and presto magico we got the Charter Revision Commission chaired by John Bohannon’s wife. Bill Finch said transparency, accountability; yet he met with just a few select members of the Executive Committee of the Bridgeport Regional Business Council and told them everything but education under his control was off the table and he had the votes to say so. This from a guy who, despite having four kids in the public school system (tell me once more again Bill) has never in his 15+ years had the slightest interest in education. Pretty sure his change in position had nothing to do with those big-money guys.

  16. By the way, where are all the big-money guys??? If JML is right and getting rid of those ghost positions will net $3.5 or so in savings, why not ask all those billionaires and non-resident do-gooders to jump in and fund the rest? Then we skip the rest of the tax increase and let Finch (too bad he won’t have all that talent from Norton) cut out the raises for his peeps and the rest of the nonsense in the budget and skip this outrageous increase in the mil rate. Beating up people who voice objections to his poor governance and its results is just a distraction. He’s awful. Hope Black Rockers will show up Wednesday night and ask the Mayor those questions. How else to hold this joke accountable??? Let’s see how transparent we can make him …

  17. Finch Disses Black Rock: ‘Those People Have Got To Stop Complaining About Their Taxes.’
    I own several retail businesses, one in Bridgeport; my wife and I live in one of those large St. Mary’s houses where we are raising our children. Our taxes have gone from $6,000.00 per year to $40,000.00 in just under fifteen years. We never imagined that would happen when we moved in and if we did we wouldn’t have purchased the house.
    As a hard-working Bridgeport family man I am saddened by the mayor’s remarks about us. Where else do you pay this kind of property tax and at the same time have no choice but to pay many thousands of dollars more for private education expense because the school system is amongst the worse in the country? Believe me it is a daily struggle to make ends meet even though I live in a big house. The financial burden has degraded our quality of life tremendously and we worry about our future.
    As a business person I cannot believe a mayor can have such disregard for what should be viewed as his best customers. Imagine running a business and having such disrespect for your best customers you would tell them to take a hike. Where would the city be without its Black Rock tax base? How about a big “thank you” to those who choose to stick it out in Bridgeport and endure the property taxes imposed on them? The slap in the face was not needed and it sets the tone for the city employees who work under him.
    The fact is because of the tax burden these Black Rock houses are barely marketable and when they are sold after many years on the market they are practically given away to people who have hopes of appealing the tax bill.
    Remarks like this makes people like me believe there is no room for honest tax-paying citizens in Bridgeport and when good families are forced out guess what happens to everyone else’s tax bill? And when your property taxes skyrocket how are you going to feel when you’re told to stop complaining? When we had the chance to vote this administration out I dropped everything to help do that, most stayed home. Finch in the end may be right; don’t vote, don’t complain.

  18. I feel for you, Willis. I know what it’s like to try to sell your house in this Godforsaken town. But one thing doesn’t make sense to me. Doesn’t Adam Wood live in Black Rock?

  19. Adam Wood, John Bohannon, Councilperson Sue Brannelly, Councilperson Marty McCarthy, DTC Leader Dan Roach and any number of City employees and Finch supporters of various levels, including the young man I overheard at Longfellow School last primary day bragging about how he was paid to vote, and would have another payday in November.

    We also need to mention Mark Tillinger, a tuba player and wine lover of fame, who was recently saluted by the Mayor (along with Pedro Wasmer of Fairfield) for assisting in the Knowlton Street development. So the Mayor gets some things right, but too many things half-wrong or altogether off base. That is why he needs no more power. What he needs is to explain his plans before he executes them, get some new people involved with whatever plans are economically helpful to the City, and stop the Finch against the world saga he plays out in his Mayoral role. I am looking forward to dialogue tomorrow. Am I expecting too much? If it turns out that way, maybe a few of us need to go to Hartford to talk to those in power whom we may know. Does someone feel Finch has teflon coating, or is it he is good at dodgeball, his ball, his field, he throws first, you lose your turn, etc. If it is dodgeball, I’m willing to bet there are persons in Hartford not fully pleased with the way Bridgeport works, who may have a bigger ball to take those who work for “Excellence in Government” out of the game. Time will tell.

    1. JML-
      The Mayor can give all the shortcuts he wants but ask Tillinger and Wasmer where the park is. Like so many other things, this park is a figment of the Mayor’s imagination. Not one lousy thing has happened at that site since the announcement.

  20. *** Does the squeaky wheel actually get the oil in the city of Bpt? Not with an 18% voter turnout in a Mayoral election it doesn’t, or with 60% of Bpt’s DTC either working, elected or serving on a board or commission for the city with some not even being residents! So what’s to complain about, it could always be worse, no? *** ZOMBIELAND ***


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