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Foster: Democracy, Rule Of Law Matter, Applauds Park Board Decision

February 24th, 2014 · 40 Comments · City Council, Development and Zoning

Mary-Jane Foster

Mary-Jane Foster

Mary-Jane Foster, 2011 mayoral candidate, writes in a commentary “The turmoil surrounding Mayor Finch’s proposed solar panel farm in Seaside Park is notable and deserves further attention both by the CT Post and Bridgeport residents. As a relative matter this is an earthquake of measurable note on the Richter scale.” Full commentary follows:

The proposal to place solar panels on the landfill in Seaside Park illuminates all the hallmarks of this administration. Notice–no. Transparency–no. Respect for law–no. Arrogance and dismissal of constituents—absolutely.

There are no examples I know of in the 6+ years of this administration when an administrative body–a mayoral appointed body at that–has stood up to the mayor. Too often, as in this case, these proposals are shoved at them in the last minutes before a mayoral-imposed deadline where the proposal is lacking key information and consideration and the administrative body is pressured to act with virtually no public input. I applaud the courage of the members of the Parks Commission.

As regards an elected body, just a few weeks ago the mayor told the City Council blood would be on their hands if they didn’t immediately vote to cover the expenses he caused and incurred in the so-called “Drivewaygate” scandal. A bunch of, again, clandestine decisions made by the Finch administration to advance an agenda with no public input, clearly no real due diligence despite the obvious complexity of the issue and done in the face of pending litigation, and the City Council caved. No one in the City Attorney’s office has been held accountable for the fiasco. The complexity of complicity in this matter is astonishing (our City Council President sits on the Airport Commission and is the Deputy Director of Labor Relations in Bridgeport and actually stood up in the City Council and demanded answers–too bad he doesn’t have a mirror–could have looked into it and asked the questions) and yet we’re all moving on. And we’re moving on because no one (or not enough of us) was willing to stand up. The Parks Commission stood up this week. That is important for the voice and rights of Bridgeport taxpayers and voters.

What day will Mayor Finch–who so memorably said in 2011 democracy doesn’t work in Bridgeport–learn his lesson? He orchestrated a clandestine conspiracy to effectuate a state takeover of our schools, when his initiative was found illegal by Connecticut’s Supreme Court he did all he could to delay the remedy prescribed by the court, he then proposed a Charter Revision that would give him control of the Board of Education, which was voted down by all those folks in Bridgeport who think democracy does work; and last fall, his endorsed candidates for the Board of Education lost. Knock, knock, anybody home??? Get with the program, Mayor Finch. Democracy works.

And Mayor Finch, democracy matters. The rule of law matters. Our City Charter matters. Take a deep breath, get off your high horse and embrace real inclusiveness. Please, please don’t send your City Attorney out to say approvals are discretionary when the charter says otherwise. You are not a steamroller and you cannot run over the citizens of Bridgeport. Please stop walking out of meetings when people have something to say that you disagree with. Put down all your electronic devices at meetings and actually participate. We are bone weary of the arrogance and tone-deaf actions of your administration. Some actually think you could do better. The rest of us are waiting.

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40 Comments so far ↓

  • carolanne curry

    A stunning indictment. Foster is on point with every sentence she writes.
    In summary, this is the most corrupt administration in the history of this City. The mayor’s office at 999 Broad Street, starting at the top and down through every individual working in that office is part of that corruption.
    Change cannot come fast enough.

  • Pat Fardy

    Kudos to Mary-Jane for being right on point.

  • Jimfox

    Right on, Mary-Jane! Black Rock 130th Vote Line C.

    • Jimfox

      Rock solid for the Neighborhood–I THINK NOT!

      We all realize we need a change and the time is NOW! Here are some of the reasons why Black Rock 130th should vote line C.

      $ Revaluation 2009
      Danny Roach, Tom Mulligan, Joanne Manzo and many others of the Party Faithful received tax breaks. I didn’t, did you? Check the facts for yourself. Visit this site to verify for yourself.
      www .zillow.com

      $ City Charter Revision
      The Democratic Town Committeeand Mayor Finch attempted to steal your right to elect our own Board of Education. They preferred to appoint their chosen hand-picked candidates. They tried to treat us like children at the expense of our children.

      $ DrivewayGate
      At the initial cost of $400,000 that will probably balloon to $1,000,000 Mayor Finch and his “Rubber Stamping” Common Council members elected to repay “Manny Moutinho” for his many years of political $upport.

      $ Conflict of Interest
      Mayor Finch and the City Attorney feel the “Rubber Stamping” Common Council has the right to be members of the Council and be employed by the city at the same time. They will continue to feather their nests at our expense.

      $ Taking the Park out of the “Park City”
      The ultimate insult from the Mayor and the City Attorney is the proposed “Solar Farm” to be located at our beloved Seaside Park.
      An eyesore for Black Rock and a financial Nightmare for the City of Bridgeport taxpayers. We have a Parks Commission for a good reason but the Mayor and the City Attorney want to override their opinion and advance Mr. “GreenJeans’” ecological legacy. Once again they will treat us like children at the expense of our children.

      $ Stop the Abuse, Black Rock!
      We need to break this stranglehold we have suffered for over two decades. Only YOU can change this cycle of abuse by voting them out of office. There will be many “Party Faithful” at the polls seeking your vote. Please smile at them on your way in, and we can all smile as we vote them out!

      Please Vote Line C
      Thanks, Jim Fox

      • Jennifer Buchanan

        What does the fox say? Love your enthusiasm always, just trying to see where the property tax breaks are. Do not see it when I check. Please show me what I am missing.

        • Jimfox

          Jen, it;s easy. Just go to
          www .zillow.com
          and put in the address of your favorite Democratic Town Committee member. Click on the address and scroll down to the 2009 tax list and that’s it!
          Like Bill Finch said, “some people will go up, some people will go down!”

          • Jimfox

            You know I love you Jennifer, just having some fun. Now Bond Girl, that’s another story.

          • Jimfox

            Hey Bond Girl, they’d better take me very seriously, especially when they’re paying over 21% higher tax bill than their neighbors who are members of the DTC.

          • Jimfox

            Hey Lennie, Testa is not supporting our slate. If he attempted to, we would surely decline. Talk about the pot calling the kettle black, they’re cut from the same cloth! Is it better to be a bartender or be the DTC Chairman? Ask Mario he is both. Dan wants to duplicate his success but he needs to get some job applications from Home Depot and Walmart because his wife will be looking for a job!!!

          • Bond Girl

            You are right of course, Jim. I have no idea what I am talking about. Pardon me if my typing seems muffled, it’s difficult to type and genuflect at the same time.

        • Jimfox

          Dear Jennifer Buchanan,
          Frankly I am surprised. I may have overestimated your investigative skills. You can’t grasp this simple information? The information is evident on the Zillow site. Financial incentives were given to some of the Democratic “party faithful.” Your re-evaluation (2009) went up in excess of 22%! Below I have listed the last of Dan Roach’s original Town Committee. He slashed and burned any candidates who may hold any loyalty to M. Testa.

          Dan Roach (-4.1%) tax break
          Tom Mulligan (-9.2%) tax break
          Joanne Manzo (-7.6%) tax break

          • Jimfox

            Bond Girl,
            “What I see here are broad, sweeping brush stroke over a vast number of Finch administrative foibles, in which the DTC had no hand in whatsoever. I don’t remember many, if any, DTC members parading VOTE YES signs at polling locations in the Rock. And I thought the whole “tax break” thing was addressed and rebuffed rather tidily on Bridgeport Now a few months back. Even if this “tax break” tall tale were true, where does it relate to a DTC election?”

            Artistic prose but really horribly naive. Do you honestly believe the DTC doesn’t have input in the choices made by your Common Council representative on any pertinent issue? If they do not you have larger problems at stake here. Then they are just what we need here in Bpt, more Rubber Stamp lemmings.

            In closing, these tactics you freely suggest have been used in the political theater by me have kept the electorate hobbled for over two decades by Testa. Please understand I haven’t got an ax to grind, we just need to remove some of the rust.

          • LennieGrimaldi

            Jim, if you knew Mario Testa were helping your slate, would you ask him to stop? The slate you’re challenging includes Danny Roach who wants to replace Testa as town chair.

      • Bond Girl

        Your “passion” for what you believe in is admirable. That said you might try spinning your platforms in a way that is believable to the rest of us.

        What I see here are broad, sweeping brush stroke over a vast number of Finch administrative foibles, in which the DTC had no hand in whatsoever. I don’t remember many, if any, DTC members parading VOTE YES signs at polling locations in the Rock. And I thought the whole “tax break” thing was addressed and rebuffed rather tidily on Bridgeport Now a few months back. Even if this “tax break” tall tale were true, where does it relate to a DTC election?

        The blatant disconnect between the stumps you are trying to campaign on and the purpose of the DTC election is frankly obvious to even a political moron like me. In Black Rock, the district leader is willing to bring in new perspectives, try to freshen up a stale political landscape, and maybe even find some candidates with the type of altruism the leadership in this City are so sorely lacking. All of the Districts in Bridgeport should be so lucky.

        Using spin and subterfuge to attempt to baffle the electorate into voting your way is a tactic the current leadership is accused of on a daily basis. How does your use of these tactics make you any better than the administration you so vehemently despise?

        • Jimfox

          Bondie, the only thing I remember who was rebuffed on that show (Bridgeport Now) was the inebriated hostess!

          • Bond Girl

            Seriously Jim? It’s comments like this one that practically ensures the fact voters won’t take you seriously. It’s hurtful, vindictive and says much more about what types of tactics you will deploy to get what you want. If you want change, I suggest you BE the change you would like to see.

            This remark is sophomoric and pedestrian and voters are truly weary of this type of mudslinging in the name of pushing an agenda. It is also targeted at someone who did nothing to provoke it and does not deserve it. The only thing it does is make you look untrustworthy, volatile and just bad.

          • Jennifer Buchanan

            Damnit Jim, I thought that was our special secret … That really hurt. ;-)

  • Local Eyes

    Mary-Jane Foster practices the politics of displacement. She’s fortunate this blog offers her a voice, otherwise, her commentary might go unread.
    Furthermore, the Parks Commission didn’t render a decision until they were cornered at an unscheduled meeting and forced to vote.
    Also, Feb. 12, 2014 is when Mary-Jane Foster failed to show up at a seminar she hosted at UB. She has a lot of nerve to complain about the Mayor when she didn’t appear at her own program. She might have an excuse but I have a better reason.

    • Andrew C Fardy

      Local Eyes, you are full of it, pure and simple. Tough being a Finch pissboy.

    • John Marshall Lee

      LE,
      Sometimes you speak in riddles and sometime you just fiddle away. I think the community is well-served by OIB for the volume of information and opinion that gets shared. There is an element of accountability in a blog like this when individuals post in their own name, isn’t there? Think if we had to have this level of daily communication through the Hearst chain? Of course, then many who post here with an alias, like you, LE, would be eliminated from “posting” until you were willing to share your identity.

      If Mary-Jane has an absence on the UB campus, isn’t that an issue for her employer? If she had to make a decision to be in one place rather than one or two others, I trust she did this responsibly. I have noticed the Mayor has such a problem also and since the taxpayer is his “employer” I am not sure he does this in a responsible fashion. Were he to treat the times he is present as an opportunity for solid listening rather than “hoopla advocacy” he might be on better terms with the community.
      The financial boil in the City has had him reneging on a tax credit, increasing taxes, ignoring “fiscal review issues” at the time of his hand-picked Charter group, allowing public safety overtime to absorb extra large deficits annually, and increasing property taxes. Failing to sustain education minimum funding, budgeting personnel costs too full of unnecessary funding, allowing economic development to lose out to business property retreats, and funding a driveway in Stratford to support Airport development that has been a regular deficit drain on the City budget for a non-core activity are some of the many strikeouts for this administration. Where are the hits and runs? I can take errors if the team seems like it is playing. But aren’t there too many announcements that fail when they are measured against real City facts and statistics? Time will tell.

      • Local Eyes

        To continue the baseball analogy, here’s my squeeze play:
        www .twitter.com/door24
        I didn’t join this blog to fit in, I came here to stand out.

        • Jimfox

          So will the real Paul Griffith stand up?

          • Local Eyes

            I was here when OIB started. At that time we were (almost) encouraged to develop our own handle. Blogging has evolved since then. I wish Lennie would repeat some of the totally cool handles that appeared on this blog at that time. Many were clever and some had to do with cats but they all inspired me.

    • Mary-Jane Foster

      Local Eyes, I would have loved to have been at the Innovators event. Unfortunately, it began about the time I arrived at Bridgeport Hospital’s Emergency Room with my husband. He appeared to be suffering from congestive heart failure. After two long days, he was diagnosed with pneumonia. He’s home, resting and feeling much better. Hope you enjoyed the program–I heard it was good.

      • Local Eyes

        Regarding your husband, I’m glad it was pneumonia and not something else.
        The UB program was mediocre. Despite the meetings’ disclosure, all three manufacturers seemed to be struggling, not thriving. This is surprising since two are connected to health care, the most subsidized industry in America today.

      • Steven Auerbach

        Local Eyes, you must rate to have a response from Mary-Jane. I begged for a response on Marilyn Moore and I guess I wasn’t worth responding to. I am glad Jack McGregor is feeling better.

  • Follow the Money

    This essay is a real Profile in Courage! Bravo!!!

  • Pete Spain

    Thank you, Mary-Jane Foster!

    Bridgeport deserves better, and it will get better … if more citizens are informed and more of the people who are informed get out there, engage, persist, canvass, and vote for a competent, open, accountable, and transparent government.

    Dear out-of-towners who donate to Mayor Finch’s follies. You wasted big money, losing in backing Finch on his failed charter revision and again in last November’s election. Your strategy is a losing one … so do continue it if you’re prepared to lose more.

    “Secrecy and a free, democratic government don’t mix.{–Harry Truman

    “Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants.”–Justice Brandeis

  • Steven Auerbach

    How long was the dump at Seaside Park? How many years, does anybody know? After they look into the solar panel scenario, do all studies necessary, will the city and environment benefit or will it be toxic??? Carolanne Curry a question for you, This is the most corrupt administration in the history of Bridgeport? Are you kidding me? As for the Solar panels, I am not so sure anybody outside the blogosphere is outraged. I could be wrong, but I am not. Like Mary-Jane Foster, I applaud the park board decision, the question I have is, were any of them appointed by Mayor Finch?

    • Sheepthrills

      All of them COULD have been appointed by the Mayor since they are supposed to serve four-year terms, and the terms of all the members have long ago expired. But here is another case of the Mayor not following the City Charter: “The mayor, during the month of December of each year, shall, with the advice and consent of the city council, appoint two members of said board to serve for four year terms commencing the first day of January next succeeding and until a successor has been appointed and qualified. Any vacancy which may occur through death, resignation or otherwise may be filled for the unexpired term by an appointment of the mayor with the advice and consent of the city council.”

    • Bepo In The Know

      Steven, you said “As for the Solar panels, I am not so sure anybody outside the blogosphere is outraged.” You are wrong. The prestigious National Association of Olmstead Parks in Washington DC recently sent a letter to Finch urging him to “reconsider your plan for building solar and fuel cell power plants on the old landfill property adjacent to Seaside Park” and they “urge Bridgeport to extend Seaside Park and enhance the Olmsted and Vaux legacy by returning the landfill site to parkland.” And thanks go to Rick Torres for making the NAOP aware of this potential development detrimental to Olmsted parkland.

      • Steven Auerbach

        Bepo, I totally support that plan. I would definitely support expanding the park. When someone offers a reasonable plan that is more in line with the City, living up to our preferred image of the Park City as opposed to the armpit of Connecticut. This is the first I am hearing of this and grateful for the information. I have not been reading the CT Post regularly as I have been more involved with issues outside of Bridgeport. I would always prefer to hear alternate options instead of constant bashing. The bashing serves no purpose. Vision does.

        P.S. Thank you Rick Torres.

  • Jim Callahan

    Yeah, I’d like to see a definition of ‘corruption’ before we get all hyperbol-y.

    Or may I suggest (not taking my own advice): “Bridgeport is at a crossroads between the future and the past turning toward the swamp of an efficiently opaque tomorrow while striving for the higher ground of proactive conflagration of resources.”

    Foster hit several points worthy of discussion in the opening paragraph.

    Phil Smith hit a couple the other day about the contract itself.

    And I’m fascinated after all these years no one has figured out a way to challenge the mayor on NOT appointing people to boards and commissions. This is a wonky issue the general public cares nothing about, but it does increase executive power in marvelous ways boards and commissions were designed to curtail.

  • Joel Gonzalez

    No word from former Mayor John Fabrizi nor a single member of the Bridgeport State Delegation. We know where most of the City Council members stand After the closing of the public hearing, Bill Finch asked the council if there were any matters on the agenda that anyone wanted to table. One councilmember made the motion to table 13-13 and another seconded the motion. Is this not a violation of Robert’s Rules of Order?

  • Local Eyes

    Solar panels aren’t an eyesore; they’re a status symbol, indicating the progressive nature of Black Rock residents.

  • Harvey Weintraub

    Just watching the CC meeting of Feb 4th, Finch’s plea to pass the airport settlement sicken me, he had the gall to bring up the “disfigurement” of the accident victim from years ago, his very monotone plea (begging really) is disgusting, no one cared about any of this ’til Finch decided to give his buddy $400,000, he got caught and now is trying to just end it as quickly as possible, sickening.
    And now we have his latest fiasco, he actually wants to go ahead with a deal that clearly does not benefit Bpt at all, in fact it will end up costing its citizens in the end. Have not found out yet why Finch is shoving this down our throats, either payback to his UI buddies for past campaign contributions, or maybe it’s for future employment opportunities. The reason hasn’t come out yet, but it will, you know it will.

  • Mojo

    *** Those who are rubber stampers and their time has expired on their respective boards or commissions have nothing to fear ’cause the Mayor will keep them right there and renew their positions sometime in the future; at the same time removing those who have had a mind of their own. Most board or commission members’ times have been expired for quite some time now without thought of renewals from this admin. ***

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