Happy Birthday Bridgeport!

Bridgeport Harbor train line
Bridgeport Harbor and its train line a few years after the city's birth in 1836.

On Monday the state’s largest city celebrates its 175th birthday. From MARK TWAIN, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court, 1889.

So I gave up the idea of a circus, and concluded he was from an asylum. But we never came to an asylum–so I was up a stump, as you may say.

I asked him how far we were from Hartford. He said he had never heard of the place; which I took to be a lie, but allowed it to go at that. At the end of an hour we saw a far-away town sleeping in a valley by a winding river; and beyond it on a hill, a vast gray fortress, with towers and turrets, the first I had ever seen out of a picture.

“Bridgeport?” said I, pointing.

“Camelot,” said he.

If not for Samuel Clemens’ friendship with Bridgeport’s most famous citizen P.T. Barnum we may never know his nugget from a Connecticut Yankee. Clemens was born about two months before Bridgeport’s official birth as a city. Before there was Bridgeport it was called Stratfield taking its name from Stratford to the east and Fairfield to the west. Damn Stratford left its nascent most of the bridges to upkeep over the port so it seemed reasonable to call the new place Bridgeport, first as a town in 1821 then a city in 1836.

So, what birthday gift would you give the city? For me it would be excessive surplus of hugs and kisses for keeping me off the unemployment lines. Shoot, I have a whole bunch of stuff on my wish list of gifts for the city like a general embrace from General Electric. C’mon guys, corporate is only a half mile from the city. Just move it over a bit. We need the tax revenue.

How about Mayor Bill Finch embracing Mary-Jane Foster at the University of Bridgeport. (Do I sound greedy?) I’d love that photograph.

How about Bill Gates opening Microsoft East?

Dan Malloy morphing into Lowell Weicker to spread around generous portions of revenue from new tax increases.

Barack Obama making a return visit to the city to host the Democratic National Convention in 2012 at the Webster Bank Arena. We’ll take the Republicans too. What say you, Mitt?

So let us know, if you could wave your magic wand, what birthday gift would you give the city? I’ve fired up 175 candles.



      1. If we all did that, there would be a much worse debt problem than there is now. Think of the tax revenue loss … think of your job security! Not an answer. So class it up, and stop trying to gloat because I am sure Bill and Mario would not want that. They know there is a problem, and so should you. They have some work to do.

        1. I am not gloating, just fed up with whining. Everyone knows we have financial problems, including the State which has approved delaying payments to the pension fund. Do you really think now is the time to pay into the fund when we are in a worse financial situation than the great depression? Taxpayers are having a hard enough time staying current on the bills they have now and you want to raise taxes.

          1. This comment makes no sense at all.
            Your option is not to pay into the fund at all and when it goes dry … or yeah what to do then?
            The plan is to borrow again and hope this time there are no major drops in the stock market.
            Good plan.

          2. It’s inevitable, the voters get what they elect. My sympathy goes to those who have been trying to prevent the perpetrators of this mess by running and voting against them. Gullorancy must be treated first in order to control the ills of the city.

          3. Taxpayers? Like the homeowner across the street from me whose whole family (5) I registered to vote years ago and continue to stay home during important primaries and elections?

          4. Let’s see: you have about 900 retirement plan beneficiaries seeking their monthly check that comes from the City (with or without a pension fund available) to the tune of about $2,500,000 per month. Make believe you are Mayor: What do you do when they are on your steps? Some are sick, injured or disabled, some are widowed, none have the capacity to return to work. Is this a photo-opportunity or do you sneak back to Hartford for another blessing without funds attached?
            That is where we stand, bporteye. That is what I have been reporting for many months. Did you read it? Certainly you did not understand it, did you. What do you do personally when your obligations are not current? Ignore them, kick them down the road?
            And remember we will still be making bond payments as today of $30 Million for the Pension obligation Bond next year, and the year after, and the year after that. Do you remember when those payments end?
            What do you want your Mayor to do? What is your sensible solution? Might you start today and look at every budget item that was passed this spring and find out where the slush is? There is certainly in excess of $5 Million of easy pickings there. What do you know about this financial game? Do you care?

          5. If you are going to interpret everything you read that is in direct conflict with the practices of the Finch Pasta Nation, then I suggest you find another blog.

  1. You know Mayor Finch and advisers are not the only power brokers in town, maintaining control with a precious few fellows, and avoiding “open, accountable and transparent” governance as much as possible. You might guess I am referring to the Ordinary of the Diocese of Bridgeport and you would be correct.

    Bishop Lori chose last Sunday, the weekend before the primary, just as the CT Post was winding up its months-long research into Bridgeport’s debt burden, to reveal a reorganization or reform plan for Church properties, mainly in the City. Closing, merging, etc., in a word, change was necessary. The announcement came after more than two years of ‘study.’ How many members of depleted urban parishes were participants in the study? What initial priorities were favored by those doing the study? And who complained about the announced results?

    Wasn’t it interesting the first anyone heard from Chris Caruso on any subject was the day after, on Monday, objecting to actions against his parish. Silent on Bridgeport for months? But up in arms about an executive decision from Jewett Avenue? It’s not a democracy, Chris, didn’t you understand that? Property ownership and administration is not religion but its structure in the US has separated the people who fill the churches (and the collection baskets) from any say in the business operation of their institutions. That is historical but not scriptural I suggest, but it is also a subject for another day.

    When governance is in the hands of the few, especially the unrepresentative who fail to practice open, accountable and transparent leadership to their people, tough decisions do not go down easily. Bishop Lori has changed his web site, his biography and his blogging practices within the past year. But he has failed to post comprehensive and current financial data. And when this late September announcement was made, it was made as far behind the close of the last Bishop Appeal and about as far from the opening of the next Bishop Appeal as possible in a calendar year. But people do not forget decisions made without their participation, no matter how wise or unwise they may be.

    And the Bishop’s communication director told us “it is not about the money” but the public has come to understand when someone says it is not about the money, it is about the m___y! Perhaps someone will call the Vatican?

    Surprise, it’s Bridgeport!

  2. Lennie/Ray,
    Is the croaking in my computer a sign of approaching demise or merely an indication I need to take a child to the Bridgeport Zoo? Or perhaps it is the Fearful Toad Hacker who has entered my PC seeking an insect meal? Not sure. Whom do I call? Maybe I’ll just go to lunch.

  3. My gift will be my treatment for gullorancy, which process I call “Polypsychosis.” Stay tuneg for my OIB thesis-in-part/Analysis and brief presentation of my gift to the City of Bridgeport.

  4. Some funny things happened with me during the recent primary campaign:
    Chopsey Hill and Reservoir Avenue. I was standing waving the MJF sign on the spot flyonthewall saw me on. I notices a Hispanic man in the distance approaching on a bike. I noticed him because he was swerving like a child who just started bike riding. As soon as he reached my spot, he said “She can’t even run the Bluefish.” Looking straight in his local eyes, I responded, “You can’t even ride a bike.”

    Another time, I’m standing on my spot which is close to the lane for those turning left onto Reservoir Avenue. A senior citizen pulls up with his window down and stops at the red light. As soon as we made eye contact, he says, “They’re all the same.” I asked him if he was married. With a smile on his face, he responded, “Yes, for over 43 years.” “To the same woman?” I asked. “Yes” he responded with the smile still on his face. “So what’s your point then?” I asked. The smile disappeared.

  5. As I have said many times in the past, you want to make a statement, then go to the general election, have your name crossed off but vote for no one. 1000 people do this and next year the campaigners will be contacting them for sure.

    1. Hector A. Diaz // Sep 30, 2011 at 2:27 pm
      To your posting

      What are you smoking?
      This is not a solution and I am sure you already know this.

      1. Carolanne, you seem to want to know what everybody is smoking, are you in need of some sort of intervention? The last time you questioned my constructive critique with your negativity it really paid off for you, eh? Whatever the answer for Bridgeport is, unless you move here, of no real concern to you. Sour grapes leave a stain, be careful.

  6. What’s to celebrate? Same old pols dragging Bridgeport back into the dark ages, next is the Black Plague. We need an inquisition to burn all the pols at the stake or put them in the the Iron Maiden (not the rock group), Mario would need a booster seat. Perhaps a guillotine at McLevy Green or one of the new Finch parks.
    Even with all the kissy kissy going on, Finch, Mario and the machine can still go F..k themselves.


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