Mickey Herbert, co-founder of the Bridgeport Bluefish baseball team with Mary-Jane Foster, writes in a commentary that also appeared in the CT Post that “Bridgeport voters need to elect the party-endorsed Democrat candidate for Mayor of Bridgeport: Joe Ganim.” From Herbert:
Right off the bat, I acknowledge I don’t really have a dog in this hunt, since I don’t live in Bridgeport, and no longer work there. However, I do have a strong opinion about the upcoming mayoralty race there, and that is that there is only one candidate with the requisite experience to manage the state’s largest city, and that candidate is former mayor Joe Ganim.
From 1996 to 2005, I was closely involved with the feasibility, planning, development and operation of the Bridgeport Bluefish Professional Baseball Club. Thus, I was pretty much at ground zero for much of the time Joe Ganim was our city’s mayor. I worked closely with him and his economic development staff in the effort to bring professional baseball to Bridgeport, including the awesome task of reclaiming the brownfields at the old Jenkins Valve site.
I also worked with him to get essential state funding to bring the Harbor Yard arena to Bridgeport. For two years during this period I chaired both the Bridgeport Regional Business Council and the United Way which afforded me an opportunity to observe first-hand how well the mayor was able to galvanize the city, and move it forward without increasing taxes to the citizens of Bridgeport. It was an exciting time when many folks around the state developed “Bridgeport envy” at how well our city was doing.
It was, frankly, exhilarating to work with Charlie Dowd and Ken Paul for the seven seasons I was the majority owner of the Bluefish, as we broke independent baseball league attendance records and brought home a professional sports championship to Bridgeport for the first time in 95 years.
There are also few people who were more disappointed at Joe Ganim’s “fall from grace” and his ultimate conviction and seven years he served in prison than I was. But he certainly did his time and I am utterly convinced if he is elected mayor that his administration will be cleaner than a hound’s tooth going forward. And here’s the clincher for me: Joe ran the state’s largest city for over a decade, and he ran it well for most of that period. In contrast, no other candidate in the race has even remotely that level of experience. Not even close.
On Oct. 19, the Bridgeport Regional Business Council had its quarterly board of directors meeting. I continue to serve on this board and its executive committee. The agenda for the meeting was comprised mainly of hearing from developers who are actively investing in exciting new projects for the city. I would bet my house that none of these investors will abandon Bridgeport if Joe Ganim becomes the city’s next mayor. And I am also certain that potential investors are not going to be scared away if he elected. On the contrary, I think they will be encouraged that Bridgeport will have a mayor who has the compassion, talent and experience to continue and accelerate the city’s economic development.
Bridgeport voters need to elect the party-endorsed Democrat candidate for Mayor of Bridgeport: Joe Ganim.
*** Of course he would endorse Joe after all the forgiven past back taxes he owned the city while with the Bluefish, no? ***
No! There were no forgiven back taxes with the Bluefish! None, zippo, de nada. The Bridgeport Bluefish never missed a tax payment, and never made a late tax payment to the city, to the state or to the feds. Not once, not ever. How dare you make such a mendacious comment!
Mojo, I think the tax break was given to Trump who owned the land. I am not utterly convinced Ganim’s past is behind him. No one can really say that. Especially when he only apologized this year when he decided to run for mayor. One thing I can be sure of, Bridgeport’s reputation will be diminished, and I’m 99% sure State and Federal funding will dry up. As for investors well they’re always looking for funding or tax breaks from the State and Feds. Mr. Herbert, do you think Mary-Jane would make a bad Mayor?
Robert, the funding from both the State and Feds will NOT dry up based on whom our Mayor is. The responsibility for those funds would fall on our State/Fed. Senators and Representatives. Not a one of them has said they wouldn’t be able to bring in funding if JOE GANIM becomes Mayor, even those visibly assisting other candidates haven’t actually said “If GANIM wins, I might as well step down.” You want to know why, because they too know Joe Ganim is winning this election!
OK, not one of them endorsed Joe, I’m sure what he did would make it harder to get others in the state body to fund projects in Bridgeport. Do you think Mary-Jane would have a harder time than Joe to attract funds? Outside of the Bridgeport Bubble, reelecting a man who robbed and extorted the state and investors doesn’t make sense. And the Governor is not a fan of Joe. It looks bad for the Democratic Party. The Republicans sees this and will exploit it. All for Joe. The State is losing Business and making cuts. There’s going to be a lot of competition for the limited funds. I’m sure the people backing Joe could find a better man to run for mayor. Why Joe? What are they really selling? But what do I know? I’m only one Vote. Mary-Jane.
Let’s look at the facts. All the good Joe did was because the State and Feds gave hundreds of millions of dollars to the city. Fact. Before these funds, Joe had to raise Bridgeport taxes, from what I hear was the highest in Bridgeport history. Fact. If I were in charge, I would give the bare minimum to Bridgeport to survive. All a Ganim Mayor says is we are a corrupt city, because at the end of the day it’s all about the funding. That’s fact. It’s all about the funding. We will see. I read how Finch was corrupt, what makes me laugh is we send out the image Bridgeport is so corrupt, even a corrupt mayor who never got caught lost the primary. We don’t even try to hide our corruption. Image is important and it’s all about the funding. I think Bridgeport will get more funding under Mary-Jane. But what do I know? I’m only one vote.
Mickey, I appreciate your support for Joe. He is a most likable guy. I voted for him twice. Could you please explain why you are not supporting Mary-Jane Foster? There is something missing in your commentary. You obviously had close business dealings with the woman I supported four years ago. A huge Finch supporter, I am back in Foster’s camp. I think people are extremely curious as to why you make no mention of Mary-Jane Foster And Jack McGregor. Is there something we are missing? I am very curious. Btw, I do not believe any of the current developers would shun Joe Ganim or the city. To believe the city would not suffer with a maligned reputation is silly. I am sad for Joe that every media story starts with disgraced or convicted felon. That is not good PR for the city. You do not currently live in the city and though I know you to be a respected business man, you stand apart from most business leaders in the city and across the state. Your endorsement of Ganim is curious, but please explain why no mention of Mary-Jane Foster? She would clean the corrupt image of politics in Bridgeport.
You might be willing to bet your house, Mickey Herbert, but you don’t have to. I don’t have that luxury, my house IS on the line in this race. That’s why I’m supporting Mary-Jane Foster.
Throw Back Thursday: Six Years Ago
Fun reading the comments.
Yes, this one in particular
Ron Mackey // Oct 17, 2008 at 9:54 pm
“Milton Johnson” #30, wrote “If I were a Democrat, here in Bridgeport, you would never hear from me as a candidate because they (the local Democrat party leadership) don’t like who they cannot control.”
Although I am a strong supporter of Ed Gomes, Milton Johnson is right on target about the local Democrat party leadership, they don’t like who they cannot control.
Milton Johnson is a nice guy but he was never involved with the Democratic Party. I agree with his point but Republican won’t ever be in control in Bridgeport. Jennifer, you are outnumbered 11 to 1, Jennifer, 11 to 1? Get real, Black Rock should try to become a part of Fairfield where there are more Republicans. The only way you and others like you become Democrats and fight from the inside because your party will grow in Bridgeport.
Who cares what this guy thinks, he cannot vote here and he does not live here.
Are you voting by absentee on account of your hemorrhoids?
Claude, you slay me! I wonder if I know you in real life. BUT, we will never know! Anyhow, GO TORRES! (I know you are for Joe, my #2 choice, aside from Tony Barr, of course.)
Why is Mickey being crucified because he’s rooting for the candidate of his choice? Aren’t we all? This is an election, that’s what people do. Mickey, I know you well enough to know you take these negative comments from whom they come. I hope all is well for you and your family.
Hi Honey! Like the old political adage says; “Will you Love me in November like you Loved me in July!”
Lisa Parziale, clearly Mickey Herbert has better things to do than write a commentary for a man who has been convicted of bribery and racketeering as well as extortion and mail fraud not to mention thousands in expensive wine, shirts, rugs and home improvements. He was asked why not Mary-Jane Foster, a woman with whom he had business dealings. Ganim was wise to find a businessman whom many people know to have been a real mover and shaker in the city 20 years ago. It was brilliant of Ganim to attempt to get an endorsement when the rest of the business community whom do live and have business here believe Foster is the best bet. Mickey is naïve to believe the city will not have their reputation destroyed with a Ganim mayoralty.
I am still waiting for Herbert’s response on why not Mary-Jane Foster! Lisa. it is very cute the way you compliment those supporting Joe and criticize those billboards with personal dismay. It does sound utterly ridiculous.
Lisa, I would hardly call it a crucifiction. Mojo’s comment is standard political BS. I read BS from most if not all the bloggers on this site. Including you. Steve’s might be a little more nefarious, since he’s in the know and his comment seems to state that. I just tried to clarify what limited knowledge I have on Bridgeport Politics and my position. I also wanted to know if he thought Mary-Jane would make a bad Mayor since she and he were business partners. If he had to work Joe and state to secure funding of the project, so did Mary-Jane. I agree with Fardy though, people say whatever is expedient for them. I will have to rely on my personal experience I had with Joe, Finch, Mary-Jane and the other candidates running in this Mayoral election since I don’t have a financial or personal stake in any of them. I will vote for one I think is the best candidate to represent Bridgeport for the next four year. PS, that’s Mary-Jane.
The candidate of his choice is a crook, Lisa. If Ganim is re-elected it would be akin to putting a weasel in charge of the henhouse. And he IS a weasel.
Steve, you know better. No one has a right to question you, me or anyone else about our choices. We live in the US of A, and we’re guaranteed that privilege. We hardly ever agree, but that doesn’t take anything away from how I feel about you, and it never will.
No one is questioning Mr. Herbert’s choices, we are questioning his morals for supporting a known racketeer.
🙂 Lisa you are an excellent politician. 🙂
Steve, I send you a big smile and a hug.
Mickey Herbert, when someone offers you an opinion on a subject with no “skin in the game,” their lack of “vulnerable epidermis” must be considered as part of their commentary.
I have been writing for over five years on governance weaknesses in Bridgeport. I am a 28-year resident and 100% taxpayer, no abatements or special deals.
The closer I get to look at governance processes and structures, the weaker the City seems to be today. We are not currently able to deal with the multiple types of abuse Joe Ganim did to the City years ago and for which he was arrested, tried, found guilty and imprisoned. Checks and balance mechanisms of most types are not working. Financial reports that would give balanced, timely and accurate City status are not available. Offices that should be keeping track of City properties, taxes to be paid, fair and reasonable assessments, and evenhanded treatment of taxable properties across the spectrum are not functioning at professional levels. And the public is shut out of knowledge of the operations and meetings of many City Boards and Commissions by failure to post all groups, meeting dates, membership, minutes, etc. on the City website and calendars. Things move along and the public does not see it or hear about it, sadly. And the public has lost much trust. Mr. Ganim returns to the scene and is asking us to trust him, but does not allow us to witness a reason for the restoration of such trust. He can have forgiveness, but renewal of trust is different. Acknowledging his administrative skills is not the same as re-creating an environment of trust in my opinion. And during his time away, has he noticed the decline of administrative skills and practice in the City? How does Joe feel about watchdogs and questions?
And public watchdogs, such as I have called attention to and branded, are not welcomed by the DTC, by many on the City Council and by others who write on OIB. Watchdogs make the status quo uncomfortable by asking questions with answers that are hidden in darkness.
If Mickey Herbert had tried to run PHS and could not see the Fiscal Year-ending monthly report, his business would have tanked, but that is what DTC management allowed to persist, like a disease for more than two decades. And our “finance committee,” the B&A has provided no example of looking out for taxpayer money. And if Mr. Herbert had a business budget but some profit centers kept revenue items to themselves while asking for sufficient dollars to run their operation, he would have fired them, I suspect, so how has Lighthouse program gotten away with hiding $850,000 of revenue? With no skin in the game, who needs watchdogs?
Most City people like dog,s I find. And Bridgeport people need trained watchdogs to be part of delivering fair and quality governance to all aspects of the City. For those who have skin in this game, who respect the work of trusted watchdogs, and vote in the 130th District, please look to Toms-Lee at 10F and 10E on November 3. Time will tell.
Your lengthy rebuttal to the choices we have made is duly noted. Now, if you’re so committed to change, which I believe you are, get out and work your campaign so you can have a voice in implementing the changes you address. You can’t win an election unless you do what the three mayoral candidates are doing, working 24/7. So get going, John.
As first-time campaigners for a Council seat, there are lessons to learn. Report card day is Tuesday. When you plan your work, then work your plan, in all parts of the community with door knocking, with prime voters and those who are not, we are still knocking and greeting and getting the word out about qualifications for public office. When you are petitioning Democrats who are asked who else is running for City Council (other than Toms-Lee), you get an early lesson on how difficult it is to reach many people, and then you are glad the WATCHDOG brand is identified and necessary to provide value to voters.
You may note my rebuttal of your choices, but you do not want to discuss the failure to provide grounds for verifying a request for NEW TRUST. Perhaps that is why you instruct: So get going, John. Most of the seven, not just “three” whom you see in serious contention are knocking on doors and getting at the anger, outrage, suspicion, and offense of too many citizens of those who have won election and failed to bring about changes in multiple areas. That may be the biggest difference in this campaign, the sheer number of candidates and their teams knocking on doors and calling on phones. Time will tell.
But JML, you did not pass the mid-term either.
I am happy to hear from you that running on the GANIM line in the ‘mid-term’ primary Toms-Lee did not win. But we ran ahead of the GANIM candidacy in our District by a good number while the Democrat endorsed team ran on the Finch line, while a least one of them was circulating GANIM petitions. Such are the conditions of running for office in this City, I guess.
Your use of the term ‘either’ confuses me, Bob. When you write today, was it to inform me of our loss, or to make another of ‘your ever so subtle’ statements? At least Lisa claims to support change, whereas you buzz around like an old angry bee. Does that help your candidate gain support from other change candidates, do you think?
We were prepared to take a final exam and alerted other potential petitioners to that subject before they realized it. We did not keep that to ourselves as we are about change. Verify this at HQ if you have reason to doubt me.
Finally, if you will, please critique whatever part of the Watchdog branding, writing, advocating, etc. you feel is unworthy of our governance process, please? That’s what we are about. That’s what I assumed you have been about. Sorry if I have been mistaken. We can compare report cards on Wednesday I guess. Time will tell.
One has to wonder why Mr. Herbert didn’t endorse his former partner. And why did he ease away from their business partnership early?
Since he has no financial connection to Bridgeport anymore, but does have a business reputation to maintain, and has extensive experience working with Joe Ganim, this very successful businessman must really believe in Joe Ganim’s abilities and character-development process. Apparently, he doesn’t think very much of his former business partner and her ability to lead, govern, or cultivate business development. But then, all that we have to do is see what she did to the Bluefish and how much she cost Bridgeport taxpayers to figure that one out for ourselves. We don’t need Mary-Jane’s economic wrecking ball going back to work on Bridgeport! Mickey Herbert is obviously trying to warn us!
Jeff–you should fire your fact-gatherer. The only two years the Bluefish had an operating profit (after deducting for the large start-up expenses) were years one and two. Mary-Jane was the CEO for year one, and developed the operating budget for year two before selling control to Herbert.
Mr. Kohut has a point: Why did Herbert endorse Ganim, a crook, over his former business partner? One could surmise he believes a felon is the lesser of two evils. The lesser evil is still an evil, however.
Fact check: Before 2006, MJF was never the CEO of the Bluefish, and until 2006 never developed any operating budgets for the Bluefish.
Please keep the FACTS coming, Mickey.
Mickey Herb–your memory is indeed fleeting! Mary-Jane was in fact the first managing partner and CEO of the Bluefish, from inception through the first operating season. As such, she supervised the preparation of the operating budgets for the first two seasons of operation, prior to sale of control to you. Be also reminded the only two operating profits for the Bluefish, after deducting for large start-up expenses, were those first two seasons. All of the above have been confirmed by Mary-Jane and her partner Jack McGregor.
OMG! I don’t know who you are, but do you think you know more about the early years of the Bluefish than me? I was an equal partner with Jack and MJ. On paper, the LLC had a managing partner, but I can assure you there was no CEO until I assumed that role in March, 1999. I actually moved my office into the Ballpark at Harbor Yard in June, 1998 (our first season), and, de facto, assumed the role of CEO. Sadly, we did not return an operating profit in any year. The rent was $750,000/year (way too high for minor league baseball), our workers’ comp expenses were almost as high as our salaries, and we operated the Newark Bears’ team out of the Ballpark at Harbor Yard. Moreover, we only had 50 home games that season since the league had a truncated season in 1998. The budget was developed the first season by Charlie Dowd and Ken Paul. My recall is virtually total of those early years since most of the start-up and early operating capital came from me in the form of a working capital loan. We also did not have an operating gain in 1999 (a budget I helped develop with Charlie and Ken). The reasons were the same (except for the Bears operating out of our ballpark, and we did have more home dates). That was our best season financially, but still no operating gain.
Jeff–Jack, MJ and their partners sold their interest to Mickey at a premium price.
Please see my comments from 2008. This gives the Full Monty.
Grin Ripper // Oct 17, 2008 at 12:26 pm
Why is this contract negotiation, renegotiation or assignment of lease, not in front of the contracts committee?
If the taxpayer does not pay their taxes they are subject to an 18% interest penalty. Shouldn’t the city get at least 5% new interest on our money if we are going to finance new debt? Furthermore, that arrearage of debt is amortized off the patron parking to the tune of two dollars per car. It does not come off the operating expenses or revenues of the ballclub. That was a kicker clause that increased parking costs from two dollars to four dollars per passenger vehicle implemented over three years ago in lease renegotiations with Mickey Herbert. This money was a carryover from an original $500k back rent debt accrued by the Bluefish under Herbert’s tutelage. So in essence this has been over a six-year interest-free loan.
Not to be forgotten is the fact that during the debt/lease renegotiation of 2003/2004? The Bluefish rent was cut by $75k to help the team become profitable.
Walsh is not being an obstructionist. He is being a good negotiator and responsible councilperson. He is Trolling for Dollars.
Herbert–only mildly delusional, I am told. To whom did Paul and Dowd report in the pre-opening and 1st operating season? Jack, Mary-Jane and an LLC they controlled owned two-thirds of the Bluefish, and you one-third. Because they agreed to your request to use Bluefish office space after you left PHS and thus had no office, this made you the “de facto CEO” of the Bluefish? Why don’t we go back to supporting our favorite candidates for Mayor, and stop worrying about Bluefish history?
I’m done. Just flabbergasted by revisionist history.
Jeff, tell us where you got your facts and figures or is this another attack on MJF with no proof of any kind?
Why does Mickey dislike Mary-Jane?
Because he bought a bad ball club for big bucks.
*** I slightly remember the Bluefish Team at Harbor Yard being behind on either their lease rent or back taxes, etc. and having to bargain with the city by giving them the scoreboard or a percentage of their concessions earnings and other type dealings with the city to stay afloat. City’s fault for sort of being in business and becoming a silent partner of sorts in minor league baseball due to the Bluefish’s bad seasons, in the red finances and all the problems with the Harbor yard ball park itself like the plumbing in winter, etc. I don’t think every detail has to be exactly told to the letter to admit there were financial problems with the running of the ball club, its bills and dealings with the city of Bpt, no? *** WHOOP ***