Leave it to retired Superior Court Judge Carmen Lopez to assess the state of affairs in city politics. Fresh off taking the city to task for rolling out a messy parking meter system, the city resident writes in a commentary for OIB “The more things change, the more they stay the same.”
And the beat goes on …
The more things change, the more they stay the same.
Just take a look at Bridgeport and its governmental and non-governmental institutions.
If you want to see proclamations of major change, just look to City Hall.
If you want to see real change, look elsewhere!
Where else in Connecticut would a free people vote in a Mayor who served time in federal prison for public corruption? And that corruption was in their own town, not in another place, far away!
The Bridgeport voters wanted change and they sure got it! We wanted change to move the City forward, and we wanted no more of Finch and his cronies.
In the movie, The Last Hurrah, a clergyman opines, “I prefer an engaging rogue to a complete fool.”
The voters of Bridgeport agreed.
I remember the reluctance of the distinguished folks in the Greater Bridgeport Regional Business Council. Most of them believed that business would suffer and that Bridgeport would never move forward if Mayor Ganim was returned to office.
It is hard to believe that at their recent business luncheon, where people are charged $100 per plate to learn the state of their city, Mayor Ganim was given a standing ovation!
No more shunning the leper!
Now there is some change for you!
What is the old saying, “what a difference a day makes” or should it be, “what a difference political power makes?”
Ethics and accountability played a critical role in the campaign to re-elect the current Mayor.
During the campaign, one of the Mayor’s more visible props was former FBI agent Ed Adams. His claim to fame was that he helped convict Joe Ganim. Adams described himself as the lead investigator of the federal investigation called “operation hardball,” although two of his federal agent colleagues challenged his assertions that he was the lead investigator.
In the end, it did not matter. His presence helped to sanitize a stained and sullied politician in search of a second chance.
Adams’ reward was a senior advisor position in the Mayor’s office earning close to $100,000. We were told that this former FBI agent, a beacon of light and accountability if there ever was one, would monitor any forces of corruption attempting to sneak back into the city and, with a wave of his powerful law enforcement sword, destroy the evil enemies.
The City was in for real change alright!
The re-incarnation of St. George the dragon slayer was now going to have an office in the Mayor’s suite.
No need to fear; Ed Adams is near!
What a change was in store for Bridgeport, a place some have called the capitol of corruption.
However, no sooner did Bridgeport’s Ethics Czar, assume his position as a City Employee, than his duties changed.
Now he is negotiating contracts with private corporations designed to privatize parking meters in the City. He is presiding over meetings with the powerful titans of Bridgeport business and the not-so-powerful tenants of struggling downtown businesses.
How is that for change?
During his first months in office, Mayor Ganim launched Open Bridgeport, “an online portal through which the public will be able to search real time city financial information.” Ed Adams, the point person, said at the time, “Mayor Ganim has pledged an open, honest and transparent city government … This initiative … will deliver transparency and establish an easily searchable database for the use of all residents.”
Looks like somewhere in the months following the launching of this Open Bridgeport portal, something changed again.
Mayor Ganim and his circle of enablers, recently announced that a bridge had been constructed in City Hall. This bridge is accessible to certain highly perched and privileged city personnel. This selective group of city employees are permitted to connect previous years of service with current service. In this way, they increase their pensions and their benefits.
CTPOST Scribe Brian Lockhart, in an article published on February 24, 2017, reported that he has made many efforts to obtain the written policy for allowing this bridging of services, but the City has not been forthcoming. Instead, he was provided with a list of high level officials who gained admittance to this bridge. The list includes David Dunn, personnel director, and John Ricci, Director of Public Facilities and of the newly created Parking Division, to name just two.
The list also includes Mayor Ganim, who as it turns out, was accruing time, while he was doing time.
How is that for change?
Where is our ethics czar when we need him?
George Orwell said it best in his classic fable, Animal Farm; “All animals are equal, but some (the pigs) are more equal than others.”
As I said, ‘the beat goes on.’