UPDATE: Does Joe Ganim possess redeemable qualities? That’s his pitch in a commentary first published in the CT Post. Last week Ganim also entered the confessional of radio hosts Chaz & AJ where the former mayor admitted the jury got it right convicting him on corruption charges in 2003. Ganim invites your thoughts about a comeback at Joeganim15@gmail.com. In the last week, Ganim has moved from Easton into a condo on the West Side at 80 Cartright Street, according to multiple sources, another step toward a run for his old job. He also has registered as a Democrat with that voting address. Ganim commentary follows.
People are inextricably tied to certain places. I’m tied to Bridgeport. I’m tied to Bridgeport because of our history together–because I have always loved this city and believed in Bridgeport’s great potential.
As mayor, my rise and fall played out in the most dramatic fashion on the pages of this paper and elsewhere.
Now, perhaps, it includes a second chance.
After much thought and discussion with residents throughout Bridgeport, I am seriously considering running for mayor.
I know this will generate all sorts of reaction–from positive to negative–but I would like to share with you my reasons for seeking an opportunity to once again serve our great city.
I am part of a family that started in this city over 100 years ago, selling fruit from an outdoor market in the city’s North End. I grew up in Bridgeport as one of eight children. My parents’ sacrifices enabled me to get a good education and pursue a career in law.
But I aspired to public service because I believed we could build a better Bridgeport that would improve the lives of the citizens of this great city. When I ran for mayor in 1991, Bridgeport was on its heels–having been one of the first cities in the nation to declare bankruptcy. Businesses were leaving and taking with them hundreds of jobs. Neighborhoods were littered by burnt buildings, crime was out of control and children suffered from attending underperforming schools.
But like you, I believed in Bridgeport and knew our city had tenacity and heart.
When I was elected mayor, my promise was hard work and a vision for a better future. I listened to people’s worries and worked to make a difference.
We engineered financial stability and better credit ratings.
Taxes were held constant over a decade.
Our community policing teams helped crime levels fall dramatically.
We replaced hundreds of empty buildings with trees, flowers and neighborhood parks with a beautification program. Our city’s recovery was called one of the greatest urban success stories of any city in the country.
My administration built Harbor Yard Park, and with help brought the Bluefish to Bridgeport.
We built the arena and brought Sound Tigers hockey and the Barnum and Bailey Circus back.
We created downtown’s intermodal train and bus terminal.
Our land use plans built Housatonic Community College as a centerpiece for downtown with State Police Barracks nearby.
The plans for hundreds of millions in school rebuilding projects were launched. It was under my administration that the city actually secured the existing developer and began the now-progressing Steel Point project.
Our list of redevelopment, job creation and fiscal successes was extensive.
Then something happened that changed everything. I made serious errors of judgment that broke the law. I breached the trust so many had placed in me. And for that–and what it did to our city–I am truly sorry. Those things I cannot undo or I would.
I can only ask you accept me with that as a part of my past, knowing that I have learned from it and write this as a stronger but humbler person who wants the opportunity to make things right.
With this opportunity and by working together, I believe we can build a better and stronger Bridgeport for everyone.
In order for this to happen, our city must have leadership with vision–leadership to create jobs and economic development in every neighborhood; leadership to reduce crime; leadership to improve our schools so every child can receive a world-class education; leadership to reduce the tax burden; and leadership that supports political and campaign finance reform. My strength stands with my years of experience in getting things done.
The ups and downs of my life have now taught me that hard work–with compassion and humility–make a difference.
I am far from perfect. But I am an optimist, a doer and a leader with a vision for a better Bridgeport who cares deeply about this city.
But today, you are the actual decision makers. I value your opinions and advice on our city’s future.
Please take a few minutes to write to my email below.
After reviewing your input and opinions of others around the city, I will decide whether to run in April.
Forgiveness and redemption are personal choices.
I want to contribute by working with you with transparency and integrity to build a Bridgeport that works for everyone.
Thank you for reading this and I hope together, we can build a stronger and more inclusive Bridgeport that works for every neighborhood and every citizen.