Former Development Chief: Ganim Will Put Chill On Potential Investors

Nancy Hadley, the city’s development chief under Mayor John Fabrizi, writes “Bridgeport’s economic development program’s survival will be in jeopardy if Joe Ganim returns to the Mayoral seat.” She is supporting Mary-Jane Foster. This commentary also appears in the CT Post.

How Bridgeport will be viewed if Joe Ganim wins the Mayoral election is difficult to comprehend. The media will drag up all of Ganim’s past bribes, kickbacks and prison sentence in every article. It will put a chill on potential investors.

When John Fabrizi appointed me to head the office of Planning and Economic Development in February 2004, I personally contacted every developer and investor either involved in economic development or on the investment/development radar screen. It was imperative to restore confidence in the professionalism of the new administration replacing Ganim’s.

Every single investor and developer that I met with, or called, was very worried about Bridgeport’s ‘Pay-To-Play’ culture under Ganim. I ordered special double-sided business cards for myself. The card front was a standard business card. On the reverse side of the card was “No Pay To Play,” with instructions and contact information for the local offices of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the U.S. Attorneys Office. I handed these cards out at the conclusion of every personal meeting, giving instructions to every member of the development teams to call the FBI and/or the U.S. Attorney’s Office, if they felt someone was trying to jack them up.

Additionally, Mayor Fabrizi and Pat Fardy completely overhauled the official land use documents so the ‘loosey goosey’ land use decisions would end. I only stopped using those business cards after the first year, once confidence was restored. True story.

Bridgeport cannot hope to grow its tax base, and thereby reduce the very high tax burden on residents and businesses, if there isn’t investor confidence.

Bridgeport’s economic development program’s survival will be in jeopardy if Joe Ganim returns to the Mayoral seat. Joe Ganim has way too much unsavory baggage. The Google searches do not forget.

Bridgeport must have a leader that will give confidence to the real estate investment community in order to grow the tax base, create good paying jobs, and reduce the tax burden on Bridgeport residents and businesses. Mary-Jane Foster is the only candidate that Bridgeport can truly trust to do what is best for Bridgeport. I support Mary-Jane Foster’s candidacy one hundred percent.

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51 comments

  1. This was a very honest editorial. It was nice to read a letter from Hadley as she has been low key for awhile.

    The reputation of the city is at stake. Most voters are aware. Investors and developers are watching the city closely as well as lending institutions. Mayor Fabrizi and Mayor Finch have set the city on a good course. Mayor Finch has gotten Steelpointe way off the ground with eight announced projects on that site alone.

    Ganim may have a press conference on Steelpointe today to announce Union endorsements. The audacity of doing it on Steelpointe is a joke. The very site that was part of the Ganim corruption probe that landed the city in court over the pay-to-play scheme with Mr. Conroy that cost the city millions.

    1. Ganim can take the union endorsement and stick it where the sun don’t shine. The union endorsement really helped Finch. If they have union members at the announcement, they will be laid-off workers who will get $50 for showing up. What bullshit.

  2. So Nancy! When you made up your new business cards, the card front was a standard business card. On the reverse side of your new cards was:
    “No Snorting Cocaine”
    “No defending sex offenders”
    And instructions on how to enroll in a drug rehab program?

    He who is without sin may cast the first stone!

    What Bullshit!

    1. So I understand they are giving all Mayoral candidates drug tests. Without warning!!!

      for the record, I am on a break now and this is my personal computer as I am in the teachers lounge. You are worried about the FBI???

      Some lowlife on this blog called to complain I was on the blog while teaching. After a five-week investigation with schedules, it was proven that every post was done on my time and no principal or teacher made the complaint. I am now having my attorney find out who made the complaint and I will be serving papers. Just thought I would share the lowlife mentality of some of these incognito bloggers. Such a joy to share time and space with you. I did share this information with Lennie but apparently there are city employees who get a field day on this blog while others have to defend themselves against said allegations. You would think I was a convicted felon who fucked the city, that you had to call the FBI.

    2. I would argue. Note the scene in John 7:53-8:11: Jesus is teaching in the temple (v. 2) when He is rudely interrupted by the scribes and Pharisees (v. 3) who present Him with a woman who had been caught committing adultery (v. 4). They test Him by asking, “The Law of Moses commanded us to stone such a woman. So what do you say?” (v. 5). If Jesus had said, “Stone her,” then He would be violating Roman law (which prohibited the Jews from exercising capital punishment). If He said, “Let her go,” then he would appear to be setting Himself against the Law of Moses (which commanded that adulterers be stoned, Deut. 22:23-24). Instead of answering their question, Jesus bent down and wrote with His finger on the ground (v. 6). When they continued to press Him, He supposedly made the famous statement, “He who is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her,” (v. 7, NASB).

      The scene is suspicious from the start. Where is this woman’s partner in sin? If they had caught the woman “in the act of adultery,” they would have also known the identity of the woman’s male counterpart. The Law of Moses commanded both the adulterer and the adulteress be put to death (Lev. 20:10; Deut. 22:23-24). This is a kangaroo court!

    3. JimFox,
      Hit a nerve, eh? Just thought voters should know how difficult it was for investors to have confidence in Bridgeport when there are so many other cities to put their money to work. Today Google or Bing searches drag up everything about the past. Joe Ganim violated the public trust. That is not a forgivable offense in the very competitive world of development finance.

      1. Nancy, you most definitely have a lot of nerve!
        That “special taxation district” at Steal Point that gives the Steal Point developers 20 tax-free years, now that took a lot of nerve!
        Do us all a big favor, stay the fluck out of city hall!

  3. Jim, what’s bullshit here is your post. You may choose to ignore Ganim’s past transgressions but many of us don’t. There is a lot more out there that has not been published. One day I will tell you of the bribes that were about the golf course. Jim, Nancy got to you. HA HA!

    1. If you get caught exposing any kind of sin, hypocrisy, or inconsistency in the life of someone, the drive-by commenters and the amateur pundits will often remark, “He who is without sin, cast the first stone.” They are, of course, abusing quoting the supposed words of Jesus in the story of the woman caught in adultery, found in John 7:53-8:11. In this story, the scribes and Pharisees brought a woman caught in the act of adultery to Jesus to test Him, asking if they should stone her for her sin. Jesus responded, “He who is without sin, cast the first stone” (John 8:7).

      This comeback is so popular these days that it comes second only to Matthew 7:1, which says, “Judge not, that you be not judged.” And while it may be a cute phrase that is sure to add fuel to any fire and vindicate the perception of injustice, it, much like Matthew 7:1, is usually taken dreadfully out of context. When we take the words of Scripture out of context and misapply them so they will support our personal agenda, we are abusing the very words of the Holy Spirit (cf. 2 Pet. 1:21).

    1. I know, as a person of human failing, I have studied with many religious leaders of many faiths, just supporting what you said. We absolutely can judge but not unless we have made sure we are not committing the same sin as those we are judging.
      Cast not your pearls before swine is the last admonition of Judge not. Very hard often for me to know what makes a person a swine.

  4. Maybe he is going to make a big announcement, hopefully something like this. “I am asking all my supporters to vote for RICK TORRES, the ONLY HONEST and NON-CONFLICTED candidate out there.” Oh, if only. From my keyboard to G-d’s ears.

  5. All those Mary-Jane-ers are now back as Finchettes.

    What’s that saying? “The more things change, the more they stay the same!” WELCOME Back! Fardy, Day and Mackey!

    1. Jim, you can take my name off the list, I am sitting this one out. Look at the choices I have:
      1. A former mayor who went to prison
      2. A candidate who fell in with Finch and Timpanelli
      3. Another ex con
      4. A retired cop who just moved back to Bpt, maybe in four years
      5. An old guy like me who bought a new suit and new teeth.
      6. A guy like Finch who will give me a credit card and a computer. Just like Finch’s $600
      7. A guy who gets a black panther tattoo and is also running for the council. now that’s confidence.
      So that’s why I am sitting this one out.

      1. Andy, I understand your issue with the tattoo, to be clear Black Panther, that is your interpretation based on terrible experiences you had in the past. I am most certainly not trying to change your mind, but to clarify.
        The raised fist (also known as the clenched fist) is a symbol of solidarity and support. 2/3 of this city is minority. Rick is part of the Hispanic minority. I have great respect of you, for you and to you, and your reasons for your views. And I can certainly understand why you feel the way you do.
        en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raised_fist

        1. Jennifer, I read you attachment and found the following. “Black Power fist is a logo generally associated with black nationalism and sometimes socialism. Its most widely known usage is by the Black Panther Party in the 1960s.” These are my thoughts and mine alone plus I am not pushing this issue.

        2. Jennifer, you are so far off base on this. What solidarity and support for blacks? For six years Donald Day was President of the Firebird Society and then I was President for 10 years and during those 16 years with our fight and struggle with race and discrimination, Rick Torres was nowhere to be found. Mt. Trashmore, police abuse case, blacks being killed, where was the support and solidarity from tattoo-wearing black fist Rick Torres? He’s a fake. You said Rick is part Hispanic, so what does that mean? President Obama is part white.

          1. Sorry, Rick is part of the Hispanic community, he is not part Hispanic. I can see how it was read that way. I voted for Obama, each and every part of him. I have no idea where Rick was, or if he was approached by you and Don for support during your tenure. Where was Foster? Pretty sure she was not living in Bridgeport. Remember, he was a very active Democrat for years, ran many campaigns for non-DTC-endorsed candidates. He was burnt out from trying to change the DTC from within, took a break and focused on his family and business. He did not reenter until the Joe arrest. Knowing the impossibility of being effective changing the party with Mario and Stafstrom and their desire for only supporting candidates who would protect their power and their $$$ stream, he became a Republican. The one thing people who know Rick will always attest to he is honest, incorruptible and most definitely not a fake. You may not like his style, but his substance is solid. It just boggles my mind this city continues to put up mayor candidates who represent such a small portion of the population, non-life-long residents, and to quote one of our elected officials when asked, why are you not interested in being a part of CW4BB? I am very tired of the let’s go for the wealthy white person and let them tell us what to do, this group looks like this, I am too tired and old to take the time to see if they are any different than the white people in office now. Even I find it absolutely insane when a very well educated, smart, competent reform-minded person, who is part of the 2/3 minority of this city is dismissed, vilified and attacked because this time person over party is important in this election. Rick has proven in a very short time in city council he does build voting blocs with elected officials. He has made a difference in getting representatives to understand the difference between giving away our tax base and dollars, and what good tax abatement and development incentives look like. He has studied, researched other cities like ours, loss of manufacturing base and how they recovered. I have not heard another candidate go into details of how they will cut taxes with the looming re-evaluation. I have not heard them say, I have studies and research and will use the knowledge I have to move this city forward. I know I will never convince you to vote for Rick, which is fine, but I will answer your questions, to the best of my ability with why I think Rick is the right answer for this city.

          2. Come on Jennifer, the topic was Rick Torres’ black power fist tattoo and the meaning and purpose and he makes the claim he’s down with supporting blacks and their issues and he’s in solidarity with blacks.

          3. Okay. Until I moved here I had limited experience with other races. Never understood why we cannot just all get along and live our lives. My understanding has shifted greatly from my interactions and experiences. Including you. I would hope we all evolve as people. Torres has done the same. Where was he when you “needed” him, and now he has evolved. A very strong Joe supporter has said more than once, Rick is not the same candidate he was four years ago, Torres has grown, learned and evolved. May we all have the same said about us is my wish.

        3. Jennifer, I am a loyal Democrat but I have no problem voting Republican. Jodi Rell is I believe would have been a real good governor and I wish had run for governor. The Republican Party has no room for people like Colin Powell and the late Jack Kemp, here where people who could expand the Republican Party but they were pushed to the side.

      2. Andy, on behalf of Joe Ganim and Jim Fox, they thank you sitting this one out. Every vote counts. Hold your nose and vote accordingly, do not sit this one out. You will regret it forever.

  6. Nancy Hadley worked for Stamford before she was hired as Bridgeport’s Economic Development Director, and if you look at her record here, she continued to work for Stamford after she was hired by Bridgeport. (She deserves all the credit for the “special taxation district” at Steal Point that gives the Steal Point developers 20 tax-free years and forces Bridgeport homeowners to foot the bill for the infrastructure and services for this ill-conceived project. If Nancy Hadley is working for MJ, then we have one more piece of strong evidence MARY-JANE FOSTER WILL FOIST AN EVEN MORE HORRENDOUS BURDEN ON BRIDGEPORT TAXPAYERS IF ALLOWED TO GET IN ANY DECISION-MAKING POSITION IN CITY HALL.)

    (WE SHOULDN’T FORGET MARY JANE’S BALLPARK AND ARENA CONTINUE TO COST BRIDGEPORT TAXPAYERS AT LEAST A COUPLE OF MILLION $ A YEAR IN TAXPAYER $UB$IDIE$. AND HOW MANY MILLIONS DID WE SPEND TO GET HER BALLPARK/ARENA BUSINESS EXPERIMENT OFF THE GROUND IN THE FIRST PLACE?! HOW MUCH OF OUR MONEY WILL MARY-JANE AND NANCY HADLEY “MISDIRECT” IF THEY GET BACK INTO DECISION-MAKING POSITIONS IN CITY HALL?)

    BRIDGEPORT CAN’T AFFORD FOUR MORE YEARS OF MARY-JANE FOSTER-FINCH AND NANCY HADLEY!

    VOTE FOR TAX RELIEF–VOTE JOE GANIM!

    1. Jeff–seriously? Let me see if I can help you back off the plank.

      The special taxing district for steel point had to be part of the financing plan because there wasn’t and isn’t a sugar daddy in Hartford ready to award millions of dollars in grant money to complete the necessary remediation and infrastructure improvements. If you remember when Gov. Rowland was in office, he showered his favorite City, Waterbury, with hundreds of millions of dollars. Among his gifts, $50-60 million in grant dollars went to the Waterbury Palace Theatre to restore it to its former greatness. Bridgeport’s Palace and Poli Theaters have no hope in restoration without a huge infusion of grant money. So much for that Ganim nostalgia walk through the theatres last week. Without lots and lots of grant money, those theatres need to remain mothballed.

      Now back to the taxing district. Yes, future tax revenue from the developments will be used to back the bonds that will be issued to complete the infrastructure improvements on the peninsula. You as a homeowner are entitled to be frustrated but the reality is it has to be done. I think the Connecticut Development Authority has already issued sales tax increment financing bonds for the Bass Pro site. The state is using the same principle, pledging future sales tax revenue to help finance the infrastructure for the Bass Pro development. As for Stamford, they floated tax-increment financing bonds as part of their development(s?). Cities have to do this when their state legislative delegation doesn’t have the clout to send large buckets of state grant money their way.

      I am proud of what the Fabrizi Administration did in terms of economic development. Remember, when he took office, the City didn’t even own half of the steel point site. Or put another way, Ganim went to jail taking kickbacks from potential steel point developers when the City didn’t own the whole site. The Fabrizi administration stopped the decade-long negotiations to purchase the remaining large properties, took the United Illuminating site through the Court and the DPUC so their ratepayers were treated fairly. In the end, it was John Fabrizi who wrestled the major landowners into submission so there was a complete site for the Finch administration to announce actual developments.

      I wasn’t around when the whole concept of steel point was conceived. The heartache it caused when so many people were relocated was and is disheartening. However the deed was done so the challenge is to make the development economically viable. The taxing district is part of that equation.

      The real challenge is to make sure the development on the peninsula is dense enough to produce the required tax revenue. Density is critical, not surface parking lots and one-story developments. High Density. High density requires strong investor confidence. Strong investor confidence requires Mary-Jane Foster to become Mayor. She is the only correct choice come election day.

      1. And the Office of Planning and Economic Development is still not able to place a value on the transfer of all the property that was assembled into the 70 or more acre site. I requested such at a meeting more than three months ago when I saw a listing of all the properties by address but values were missing on more than a few properties acquired after 2000. Such a list memorializes the fact taxpaying property was taken to create this City renewal effort, and said property values plus those added by the new district developer will be used to support the financing of infrastructure and most services for that District for years into the future.
        If we keep reflecting on what the City has purchased and failed to retool and return to the tax rolls, or what has been kept for a park or some ??? purpose and is not taxpaying today, or forecloses on and/or gets quitclaimed back, we may see the real retreat of a small area City that is actually getting smaller from a tax viewpoint and thus shouldering its residents with greater tax burdens. And then the City Council goes along with abatements, perhaps unnecessary in many cases, of long duration thus burdening remaining taxpayers even more. Where have the WATCHDOGS been? Where are they running for office today? Time will tell.

      2. In reference to the nostalgia comment about the Palace and Majestic Theaters. There is nothing nostalgic about the stink and rot of the theaters as they continue to decay and put at risk our greatest treasure! The leaders in the Fabrizi/Finch era lacked the creativity and gumption to take any action on these theaters and this amounts to “Demolition by Neglect.” Sorry folks, but a lot of credible people have the knowledge and know-how of how to address the issue.

        1. Balderdash Bob Halstead,
          We had at least four theatre developer/performance teams look at those theatres. We had the Urban Land Institute team look at those theatres. All ran the numbers in a variety of scenarios. The projected revenue, even with putting some housing on the front end, did not support debt service. There must be a large infusion of grant money to make the financing pencil out to the positive. Thus far the State Bond Commission has not been so inclined. Creativity needs a strong financing spine. Maybe someone will be Governor some day with the same positive vision Weicker had of Bridgeport and Rowland had of Waterbury.

  7. Kohut, you are a freaking idiot. When MJF was owner of the Bluefish it cost the city nothing. Why don’t you check and see what the cost of the arena would have been if the feds did not step in? I know and you should know before you write any more of this sanctimonious bullshit. How much of our money went into your guy’s pockets. Jeff, where did all the money go from leasing the golf course? Care to discuss that one? Get a clue.

  8. The Ballpark and the Arena are positives for the city and their importance should not be underestimated. Unlike the millions Finch spent on neighborhood parks, these actually bring in revenue. The unfortunate fact is Bridgeport’s perception to the outside is what keeps attendance low at the Ballpark. That’s why it is so important not to go backwards in this election with a regurgitated failed “business as usual” politician.

  9. Jeff, before the primary you promised Ganim’s economic plan would be released, but I have yet to see it. I looked on his web site and there is a pretty picture of “tax relief” but there is no substance. Am I looking in the wrong place?

    1. No, Joe Ganim is hoping to hold on to at least 50 percent of Finch’s economic development successes. Bridgeport will be a laughing stock and developers and investors will look to the Valley and Milford. Bridgeport will go to sleep for another economic recovery period. That is Ganim’s economic development plan.

  10. Nancy; you followed me out of a City Council meeting yelling at me after I spoke against the special taxation district(which was enacted when you were Economic Development Director in Fabrizi Administration)… You said “Sir! Sir! Why do you have a problem with that idea?!” I answered you, we spoke civilly for a couple of minutes — agreeing to disagree — and went our separate ways…

    Shall I help you back off of that plank?…

    1. Jeff,
      It would be well for us to hear what alternate funding method you advanced years ago that would have moved the project along faster for the benefit of taxpayers and consumer serving businesses. You are an advocate of Bridgeport development and use the lens and storyline of a grand design for Fairfield County that makes Stamford the center of this world and the other towns and cities subject to its needs, and you provide such evidence.

      However, all storytellers need to keep the fiscal realities in mind as they tell their stories at a minimum to inform the sometimes-voting public on how to get to a better place where services are adequate, and economic growth outpaces City Council approved budgets. And what trends would you keep track of in dashboard format for a new administration that will enter City Hall for the coming four years? Time will tell.

  11. John: I believe the redevelopment of Bridgeport has been pursued without due consideration of our history, nor of a future that will be viable and desirable.

    Steel Point, as it has evolved, has taken the form of a virtually jobless tax liability for the City of Bridgeport. The necessity for “high density” development of this project, referred to by Ms. Hadley, consists of more workforce housing for Stamford. Plain and simple.

    The evolution of Steel Point under Ms. Hadley took on the form of a Bridgeport-taxpayer subsidized, transit-oriented development/workforce-housing project for Stamford. The only outcome of such development for Bridgeport can be higher taxes for Bridgeport homeowners and redirection of jobs down-county.

    Bridgeport needs to pursue high-value development involving high-value players. We will never prosper giving away the store to marginal players in jobless development schemes at great expense to Bridgeport taxpayers, such as we have done with Steel Point to date.

    We need to pursue the Bridgewaters and Charter Communications, with $250 million in state incentives (per this specific example), a la Stamford, et al.

    No. We would never do that! We can’t expect to recruit those kind of players and get that that kind of state money. We’re only Bridgeport!

    That is the essence of what Ms. Hadley said when she landed in Bridgeport (via Stamford). She specifically said maybe Bridgeport could serve as a location for some “back-office space” for Stamford, but nothing more.

    No, John. Bridgeport has to shake its beggar image, pursue the big players as if we’re a worthy community, and provide margin-of-victory votes only to those state and federal elected officials who are willing to treat us as a worthy, valued community, as if we are Stamford’s equal, not their bastard step-brother.

    So in summary, to finance desirable development, we pursue desirable companies with value and wherewithal, and we use political leverage to provide state and federal incentives for such development. We give up our shamefaced beggar ways, and flex our political muscle to get what we want and deserve. No more settling for Bass Pro and “back office space” for us. And of course, no more subsidizing the prosperity of our down-county, “legitimate” siblings.

  12. Jeff,
    I worked in Stamford City Hall for ten years from 1974-1984. I left there to join the Cuomo Administration to support the development of such places as the Fort Drum Tenth Mountain Division Army base, downtown Binghamton, Buffalo, Albany, Schenectady and several NYC developments both commercial and residential.

    Back in Stamford, the Master Plan called for a Center City transit oriented development and the City capitalized on the New York fiscal crisis as Companies were fleeing to Fairfield County. During that entire period, Bridgeport was asleep at the development wheel.

    Stamford’s new Master Plan, done in the late ’80s early ’90s, called for very flexible zoning to accommodate both residential and commercial development with high densities. The huge failure was the developer Al Taubman’s insistence that the mall had to be fully enclosed, no windows, no sidewalk appeal and a requirement people would be walking over second-story bridges with cars running on major thoroughfares. Businesses came to Downtown first because the pre-selected developer Bob Rich had control of a 100-acre urban renewal project that moved thousands of people out and sent them packing to Norwalk and Bridgeport. Then came the high-end residential housing. There was no fear factor in Stamford. They were open for business and residents. Still Bridgeport was asleep.

    Now, fast forward. The new Master Plan for Bridgeport wasn’t completed until 2009. New creative zoning regs followed. That Plan and new zoning needs about 20 years of steady development with strong investor confidence.

    Bridgeport has a fear factor. I know first hand because I was the first resident to get keys to an apartment in City Trust. People thought I was nuts to live downtown with my little Lhasa Apso. City Trust was 85% market and 15% affordable. Yes, folks on Section 8 were washing their clothes in the same washing machines as me. It was a joy to live in City Trust and become one of Bridgeport’s urban pioneers. But Bridgeport has had a fear factor and many comments on this blog unfortunately feed into that fear. For companies to move to Bridgeport, their employees have to feel safe, want to be here, and see a quality of life that supports their wants and desires.

    I differ with you on your perspective of me concerning Steel Point. I never envisioned much workforce housing on Steel Point. I don’t see much workforce housing downtown either. 85% market/15% affordable is a split I am comfortable with Downtown. I am NOT in favor of 15% market/85% affordable for the Marina Village replacement units the HACB wants to put just south of Harbor Yard. The Planned Design District zone called for high-end housing, folks with lots of disposable income. I support high-end housing but for that to be marketable, the fear factor has to be stomped out once and for all.

    Jeff, you can be angry all you want about the Special Taxing District but facts are facts. There isn’t a sugar daddy in Bridgeport’s near-term equation to dump lots of grant money on the City. The candidate you are backing will not reduce the fear factor because like it or not the media will not shake the ‘ex felon’ descriptor.

  13. I guess this lady isn’t planning on staying in her job. Oh well, I’m sure others will be happy to take it. It’s what it sounds like to me. People need to learn not to burn bridges that are delicate to begin with. So silly!

  14. I understand certain statement may or may not be true but it something that should be shared with the right people. When you publicly make statements, they will publicly haunt ya.
    Oh well, I’m sure she means well, but just wish many would reconsider the way messages are sent or relayed to the proper person. Most voters probably won’t take it into consideration anyway, just taken as a negative campaigning thing. I don’t know much, all I know is I just have a different way of working and thus the reason politics is not on my to-do list.
    I have been asked numerous times to run for different offices, but it is not anything I care to do, it’s not my realm, it’s not my way of working and I don’t sell my soul to accomplish anything and politicians from what I see are always selling something to get something done. Just amazed all the time, I say.

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