Amid the elegance of the architectural masterpiece built for the former Mechanics & Farmers Bank building Downtown, Mayor Joe Ganim on Saturday rallied supporters at the opening of his reelection headquarters urging a door-knocking, retail presence to win another four-year term roughly 75 days from an expected Democratic primary.
Ganim’s hoping the former bank building provides karma to bank another four years placing him on the cusp of matching Socialist Jasper McLevy’s 24-year run as mayor, albeit Ganim in split service, McLevy consecutively from 1933-57.
A collection of political leaders including City Council President Aidee Nieves, a potent vote producer in her East Side district, promoted another four years on behalf of city progress.
The tax rate has remained essentially the same since Ganim returned to the mayoralty in 2015, ongoing street paving and bulk trash pickup popular among voters were highlighted as well as Police Chief Roderick Porter providing stability in a department troubled by turbulence for years.
Still, the one thing of note that does not often happen in these political settings is a voice from the business community normally demure from this sort of political setting.
(OMG, we cannot be involved in politics)
They love politics when it benefits them.
Howard Saffan is not your typical business community leader. If Howard likes you he tells you, if he does not he explains why. He’s the brain behind the city’s development jewel, the near 6,000-seat concert amphitheater hosting artists past and current: Sting, Foo Fighters, H.E.R, Earth, Wind & Fire, Goo Goo Dolls, Ringo Starr, Van Morrison, James Taylor, Rod Stewart. Downtown restaurants are jammed prior to these performers.
That’s not all. Saffan has opened the amp to college and high school graduations, embracing a community destination. He’s a sports and entertainment entrepreneur who brought Elton John and Andrea Bocelli to the amp’s adjacent, 10,000-seat arena.
He also brainchild the Sound On Sound music festival at Seaside Park hosting this autumn Bridgeport-born John Mayer, Alanis Morissette and Red Hot Chili Peppers.
Saffan showed up to the political rally on his own, a few blocks from the city-owned amphitheater he manages. He was asked to speak to a crowd he largely does not know.
Looking upon the crowd, McLevy Green in his sights, Saffan talked about the impact of economic development in terms the audience understood.
He pointed them to look blocks south on Main Street to the visible amphitheater’s big top that, he said, has “completely transformed the horizon” for Bridgeport.
Ganim is taking nothing for granted. He has begun door knocking potentially facing three primary opponents September 12 — John Gomes, Lamond Daniels, Marilyn Moore — that must petition onto the ballot to face him, following his presumed party endorsement July 25.
District Leader Wanda Geter-Pataky enjoys a light moment as Ganim addresses supporters.