Gomes: Where Do We Go From Here? Highlights Languishing Properties

Democratic mayoral candidate John Gomes, in his latest Facebook video, focuses on two troubled properties, the Congress Street bridge and old Remington Arms factory site on the East Side.

Last October Congressman Jim Himes provided an update on replacing the bridge that connects Downtown with the East Side. See timeline below:

Mayor Joe Ganim is expected to share an update soon on the city’s plans for the Remington site.

Show and tell or tell and show?

As we advance deeper into this mayoral election cycle the charges and counter charges will soon heat up.



  1. Candidate Gomes’ remarks are heartfelt and 100% correct.
    However, he was unable to offer a true and concrete plan to renovate the bridge or upgrade the Remington Arms property.
    If Mayor Ganim sticks to his placard’s promises, he’ll be able to start construction before the primary. and take all the credit. That’d be turning other’s empty promises into personal political victory.
    Judge him by that.

  2. With reference to the Congress Street Bridge Timeline above, a call to the Purchasing Department indicates that the January “Go out to bid” indicator did not yet happen. However, some materials preparatory to an actual bid are present with the balance expected.
    That puts the timetable about three months delayed with no reason to assume that the time estimates going forward will be acheived “in a timely manner”.

    Oversight by elected Council members, candidates for public office, and just plain citizens can advance the common good. In a busy world it is hard to keep track of “timelines” but maintaining a “story line” about delay in timelines is up to the incumbent, isn’t it?
    I comment as someone who has raised the failure of several past mayors to ignore appointments to the FAIR Housing and FAIR Rent boards for 15 years or more, allowing those groups to disappear, while in plain sight on the City website of Boards and Commissions. Kind of an ‘open’ question, just like a bridge that was present at one era of City history but is no longer, though deemed important enough to have 95% of design complete and funding secured, or is there an alternative poster due? Time will tell.

  3. Let me get this straight. Gomes, who is running for elected office is campaigning in this election cycle about how every election cycle the Port hears about politicians campaigning about Congress Street Bridge and Remington Arms in every election campaign. WWWWHHHAAT?

    Way to keep up the Tradition? 🤷

  4. How does one Bridge this conflict of interest?
    A conflict of interest is a situation in which a person or organization has two or more competing interests. When a conflict of interest occurs, the person or team can’t perform their duties appropriately because it could mean betraying their interests to one of the parties within the situation. When such a situation arises, it’s often a legal requirement for the primary party to remove themselves.
     What are interests?
    Interests can include many different types of commitments, duties, obligations and values, such as:
    Contractual or legal obligations
    Loyalty and relationships to family and friends
    Inside knowledge
    Reputation and status
    Professional duties
    Business interests
    In the public sector, judges have the legal obligation to recuse themselves if they have a link to one of the parties in a case over which they’re presiding. If a legislator attempts to profit from insider knowledge, this is an example of insider trading, an illegal activity. In the private sector, if a company has proof that a board member profited from their role on the board, the company can take the board member to court.

  5. Where do we go from here?! That sounds like something that a “lost” person would say… Mr. Gomes needs to go on a “vision quest” that will allow his campaign to paint a real picture of future Bridgeport… What, specifically, would Mr. Gomes — as Mayor Gomes — envision for Bridgeport? What “destination” and “course” would a Gomes Administration chart for us? What plan would he put in place to get us there?…

    We know that a Ganim Administration — of which we have had a collective (non-productive) 20 years of political occupation of the two, Bridgeport City Halls — has never had a comprehensive plan for a Bridgeport renaissance and never will. We will get more apartments putting more stress on city services, and probably a few contra-indicated, city-subsidized entertainment projects, with a net negative effect on Bridgeport city taxpayers, that only serve as political advertising for the Ganim Administration. We will probably get more scandalous headlines related to Administration players and their various Administration projects and personal agendas. What we will definitely get from another four years of the Ganim Administration is “more of the same,” which means no real economic progress, and more backward momentum in education and public safety — not to mention more erosion of our political power in Hartford and DC resulting in more “regional” abuse and disrespect…

    So. Mr. Gomes, please let us know when you figure out where we should go and how we can get there from where we are… (Joe doesn’t know — nor does he seem to care…)

  6. Jeff,h outside of Gomes” Point, the conflict of interest to politically use the situation as a means to get elected/conjure up votes. The one conflict of interest I have heard of is what type of bridge is going to build. a free-standing or retractable.

    Any renaissance for the Port will not be based on the nostalgia of the old industrial hay-day of manufacturing. As delicate as it may be, regardless of the conflict of interest as to the direction, plan, vision, be it failure or success, Gold Coast speaking., for the Port. Any replacement is at a higher level of the political game, state/federal.

    “We will probably get more scandalous headlines related to Administration players and their various Administration projects and personal agendas. What we will definitely get from another four years of the Ganim Administration is “more of the same,” which means no real economic progress, and more backward momentum in education and public safety — not to mention more erosion of our political power in Hartford and DC resulting in more “regional” abuse and disrespect.

    A scandalous headline was Three People being shot at Seaside Part, considering the emergence of any renaissance will be in the form of an entertainment destination where the Sound on Sound aims to give the Port a rebirth and path of its revitalization. Not to mention Seaside Part is the crown jewel, a place of enjoyment that brings a sense of quality of life to the Port and its residents. I would think.

    As for your take on Gomes, “So. Mr. Gomes, please let us know when you figure out where we should go and how we can get there from where we are… (Joe doesn’t know — nor does he seem to care…)

    Though, it is not so easy to plot a course in a “democracy” with diverse opinions that are never really on the same page. Such things usually end in destruction or at the very least devaluation.


    That being said, Jeff, I think you were a little hard on the “Cortez” 🤣

    P.S. I Depart with the Prophet. “Lotto”. Think about it.

  7. “Though, it is not so easy to plot a course in a ‘democracy’ with diverse opinions that are never really on the same page. Such things usually end in destruction or at the very least devaluation.”

    That paragraph makes an extremely important point, Robert. Really, it makes an essential point. It is absolutely vital for the success of a city administration to operate in a democratic manner — accepting feedback and input on its plans for municipal development and governmental operations and adjusting/changing such plans and operations to accommodate the preferences and the best-interests of the residents/taxpayers of the city. But, in the same vein, it is the role of “leadership” — e.g., the mayoral candidates — to provide some sort of starting point, related goals, and ways and means to reach those goals (a vision) for the people (voters) to consider in the context of the candidates seeking election/re-election to office… If the people (voters) feel that the candidate is on the right track (their hopes resonate with his/her vision/plans) and has a better sense of meeting their needs than the other candidates, then that candidate will get elected, and, presumably, their plans will be (flexibly) implemented in the context of constituent feedback… That is how “leaders” are supposed to be democratically chosen to “lead”…

    It would seem that we haven’t elected a “leader” in Bridgeport in a long time. The last time that I remember Bridgeport leadership having any clue, at all, about current standing and indicated tax-base/jobs development goals (a vision/plan) was the with Mandanici candidacy and later, the Mandanici Administration, albeit the actual standing/needs of the city (long-term) and related goals were somewhat nebulous. But Mandanici was one of the rare examples of Bridgeport mayors/candidates that was more about action than bs/hype — he said that he was going to pursue an economic/industrial and political comeback for Bridgeport, and he acted on both promises. He brought new industry and jobs to Bridgeport, even after he faced-off with those in high places that would disrespect the Port… So far, I haven’t seen his equal (in these regards) among the mayoral candidates running for Bridgeport mayor in 2023. But it is still a bit early in the race not to be hopeful. Possibly candidate Gomes or Candidate Daniels will surprise us(?)…

    Anyway, Robert; your point about doing things the “democratic” way is well taken…

    1. Points taken, Jeff, however, perhaps we have to define what it means for a city administration to operate in a democratic manner, ethical, sure, but we have elected “leadership” through the democratic manner/process that has already taken place and will continue to do so as the democratic process revalues it elected leaders they elected to lead.

      While your currently input and feedback/opinion may differ from the current “leadership” that doesn’t mean the democratic process has not played out, thus to my point

      “Though, it is not so easy to plot a course in a “democracy” with diverse opinions that are never really on the same page. Such things usually end in “destruction” or at the very least “devaluation”.

      I can’t speak on the Mandanici administration and its critics. with regard to “his” vision for the Port’s economic development plan, but from what I have read “his” administration was pretty corrupted. So from that angle or standpoint, perhaps G1 was on par with Mandanici,


      I don’t recall G1 having many political critics of his administration’s LEADERSHIP about municipal development, or governmental operation that accommodated the preferences and best interests of the residents/taxpayers of the city. Though, I would bet perhaps they were being well-fed on those Port tax dollars.


      Perhaps leadership could be viewed/defined from different angles as well. JS

    2. Jeff, if someone just moved to Bridgeport and didn’t know much about the history of Bridgeport politics, your comment might seem unremarkable but let me share with you the reality of that “rare example” Mandanici administration you so fondly reminisce about. “From 1977 to January 1983, nineteen associates of Mandanici or administration officials were indicted on corruption charges such as perjury, fraud and misapplication of federal money.” Including his son John Mandanici Jr. Is this the “leader” you were talking about Jeff? “ In 1982 the state elections Commission fined Mandanici $800 for establishing an illegal campaign committee and soliciting funds for it the previous year. Mandanici’s son John Mandanici Jr, the special committee chairman Mario Testa and special committee treasure George H Farrell Jr, along with several Bridgeport area businesses were also fined.” I only mention this last point so as to, draw a straight line from Mandanici through Mario Testa, to our current totally dysfunctional, political system in Bridgeport. There has been nothing but corruption in Bridgeport politics for over a hundred years. Let that sink in for a minute. Here’s the first sentence in the Wikipedia description of Mayor Jasper McLevy, “In the early 1930s, Bridgeport, an industrial city in southern Connecticut, was plagued by corruption and hard hit by the Great Depression.” Would you like to revise and extend your remarks Mr. Kohut?

  8. Actually Jeff, you would have been better off sighting Jasper McLevy as a “rare example” of a “leader”. I’m not an expert on depression era politics in Bridgeport but I do believe that the overwhelming consensus is that McLevy was a good mayor, if not the best Bridgeport ever produced. And even though the McLevy administrations didn’t seem to be plagued by corruption, it’s probably true that the corruption was swirling just below McLevy and resurfaced the moment it got the chance. I’m speculating now but I just don’t know how you or anybody else can ever talk about Bridgeport politics in normal terms, without acknowledging the issue that supersedes all other issues in importance because it materially affects all issues and that’s the dysfunction due to corruption and incompetence. “But it is still a bit early in the race not to be hopeful.” No Jeff, I don’t think that it’s too early to not be hopeful.

  9. Jon: Key to discussing Bridgeport politics productively is “context.” I cite late-Mayor John Mandanici in the context of his background as a working-class citizen-politician. He was a “neighborhood guy” and worked in the produce department of an A & P supermarket on Boston Avenue in Bridgeport. He lived, and raised a family, in a modest Cape Cod style house on Houston Avenue in the Whiskey Hill section of the city — right around the corner from a citizen-politician of similar background, Ed Gomes, who served on the City Council during the Mandanici Administration. Everybody in Bridgeport knew John Mandanici through one form of contact/association or the other — from grocery-shopping excursions, church attendance, “the neighborhood,” or through a shared friend/acquaintance or relative… He was “Bridgeport” to the core. When he ran for mayor, he ran on the working-class platform of jobs, tax-base creation, and maintenance/improvement of the quality of life of the average Bridgeporter. He believed that Bridgeport was a working-class city with a history of providing a good life for its working-class citizens through its role as a center of commerce and industry. He sought to reverse the erosion of Bridgeport’s working-class-jobs, manufacturing/commercial base. He also sought to reverse the erosion of Bridgeport’s political power, which was occurring in tandem, if not for the same reasons, as the erosion of its economic base. He had no tolerance for the dismissive attitude toward Bridgeport by the state and federal government that had first appeared when the ascendant suburbs of post-WWII Connecticut engineered the abolition of county government in our state (circa 1960)…

    The thing about John Mandanici that should serve as a model for any current, or future, would-be mayor of Bridgeport is his sense of love and stewardship for the city. He didn’t run for mayor as a stepping-stone for higher office. He ran for mayor on a simple, clearly stated platform on which he acted from his first day as mayor. Bring industry/jobs and political respect back to Bridgeport. He actually managed to bring back several-hundred industrial jobs to the city, locating them on East Side brownfields adjacent to GE and Remington Arms — both of the latter were still employing several thousand workers (collectively) at the time (late ’70’s). While he might not have brought political “respect” back to Bridgeport, he deliberately raised the consciousness of the Bridgeport public regarding the disrespect for the city and its populace by the “outside” world/region and the higher levels of government — even as he demanded respect for the city from the same. In that vein, he demonstrated a willingness to go head-to-head with state and federal officials on issues regarding the city and his administration.

    So, Jon; my appreciation for Mayor John Mandanici and his modus operandi is based on his demonstrated desires and intentions for an economic renaissance for his city. He made serious mistakes in judgement regarding some of his choices for positions in his administration and his inner-circle of advisors, but it should also be remembered that he was never convicted of any wrong-doing.

    Most importantly, it should be remembered that the city’s grand list and jobs-numbers grew under his administration. That has not been the case for the past 40+ years.

    Regarding Jasper McClevy; he certainly has to be credited with honesty, humility, and working-class compassion — but it might be construed that he was blind to the writing on the wall and deaf to the music playing in the background concerning Bridgeport’s future. He was definitely not a “leader” in the sense of being visionary or proactive. He was certainly a guardian/watchdog of the peoples’ basic interests, regarding government, but he failed at the level of discerning and acting on the need for pre-emptive action(s) that would have staved-off Bridgeport’s socioeconomic demise. And one certainly has to wonder why, when he ran on a socialist platform that included the need for government ownership of the essential public utilities of electric power and water, that he never undertook to secure such government ownership of such for his Bridgeport constituents… He really didn’t accomplish much for Bridgeport during his 24-year tenure as mayor…

    1. Wow, nice piece Jeff. I enjoyed reading your comment, you write well. Did you ever think of writing a book on Bridgeport with a thread of politics running through it or a book about Bridgeport politics with a thread of history running through it? Should only take you a couple of years to write. But I digress, I won’t disagree with anything you said in your comment but much of what you said, even if it’s all true, is merely window dressing for who John Mandanici really was as a human being, who he associated with and what his intentions really were. I’m not just playing devil’s advocate to be oppositional, I’m merely pointing out that even if all you say is true, it’s hard to draw too many useful conclusions about John Mandanici because we don’t know enough about him or his dealings. As for not ever having been caught or arrested, maybe that was his true talent, not getting caught. I don’t know but a leader who surrounds themselves with crooks, including his son, is often a crook themselves, which doesn’t mean that he didn’t have some redeeming qualities or accomplishments. Have you ever heard of Ronald Reagan and the Iran Contra debacle, same thing? Listen, forget about Mandanici for now, Bridgeport has a huge monkey on its back and it’s called corruption and mismanagement. Relatively speaking, nothing else really matters until we can fix this problem. We need to break this cycle of uninformed, disengaged voters, which creates the void for corrupt, self-serving individuals to come in and take over the political process and doom the rest of us to a diminished civic life, with a lower standard of living, not to mention pride or a sense of well-being. Unless we are only ever going to talk about corruption and mismanagement in Bridgeport, we will ultimately have to do something about it someday, don’t you think? I’ve been proposing a solution to this problem, what’s your solution Jeff?

    2. Jeff, are you saying Mario has a love for the city? He has never been looking for a higher political office.

      While your sentiment is noble and your heart has a love for the city perhaps you are giving Mandanici more accolades he deserves. The Feds had their own attitude toward Mandanici. 🙂

      Perhaps your modus operandi for Mandanici is based on nostalgia.

      At any rate, while I can’t speak on McLeavy’s administration either, for the most part, Socialist politics there tend be a stepping stone to communism, where there is no future, vision, or growth of gander for the city. but generally settles in oligarchies. There’s no social socioeconomic for the people outside of collectiveness that the state deems their needs and wants. Just a thought., though. JS



Leave a Reply