I’m Green, Clean, Mean … Yadda, Yadda, Yadda, Plus: Shays Reveals Campaign Probe

“Together we are making Bridgeport the cleanest, greenest, safest most affordable city, with schools and neighborhoods that improve each year” … Mayor Bill Finch.


Every press release, every official government statement, everything coming out of the mayor’s office features the above referenced slogan.

This is the problem with a lofty governmental jingle. Can you validate, reach, live up to it? Can you put words into action? Or is it a hollow holster on your way to collecting a package worth $150K per year?

If I were running a reelection campaign against Bill Finch, now one year into his mayoralty, here’s what I’d ask–on the internet, radio and cable, and in your mailbox:

Is the city cleaner?

Is it greener?

Is it safer and more affordable?

Have the schools improved?

Have the neighborhoods improved?

Now, I’d like to see Finch realize those haughty declarations. I have no problem cheerleading for him. But if the mayor’s going to continue to make that superior declaration part of his mission statement he’s going to have to back it up. Has he? If not, get rid of the slogan and lower expectations. You can’t say I was dealt a bad hand–the former mayor left me a mess, the economy sucks, the sky is falling–while embracing that kind of hallucination.

I’m not crazy about syrupy government slogans. They’re stupid because they suggest an extension of a political campaign. Campaigns are about money, organization and message. Government is about judgment, communication and negotiation. On some of the stuff Finch has been okay. On other stuff disconnected.

The good news for Finch: he still has a year or so to show he’s more than a recruit of pols who thought Johnny Fabs couldn’t defeat Chris Caruso in a primary. But that will require he make more friends than he currently has–in the city, with the business community, in Hartford and Washington.

One year on the job and have we heard a peep from him about an economic development proposal that’s his? Have we heard him say anything about the future of Steelpointe or Canyon Johnson?

Yes, it’s tough out there, but New Haven and Norwalk are both recent examples of cities announcing more than slogans.

So, what say you?

Pizza Party

Hey, everyone, we’re gonna have a holiday party. Mark your calendar for Wednesday Dec. 17, 5:30 at Two Boots on Fairfield Avenue, beautiful downtown Bridgeport. We’ll enjoy some serious gourmet pizza. First cocktail on OIB. Spread the word.

Breaking news from AP via Hartford Courant

A campaign committee for U.S. Rep. Chris Shays, who was defeated in last month’s election, says it has uncovered apparent fraud in its financial records and referred the matter to federal authorities.

The Shays for Congress Committee says it became aware after a post-election review of a series of anomalies that appear to be the result of fraudulent activity by one of its former employees. Details were not released.

Campaign officials say the committee’s attorney contacted the U.S. attorney’s office, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Federal Election Commission and is cooperating fully with law enforcement officials.

News Release from Shays

Shays for Congress Committee Issues Statement Along With Filing of FEC Report

Norwalk, CT (December 5, 2008) – Following the submission of its post-election Federal Election Commission (FEC) Report, the Shays for Congress Committee issued the following statement:


In the course of its post-election review, the Committee became aware of a series of anomalies in its financial records that appear to be the result of fraudulent activity by one of its former employees.

The information, which was discovered by campaign treasurer Ralph DePanfilis, and finance director Kathleen Pierce, was communicated to Congressman Shays and the Committee’s attorney, who contacted the United States Attorney’s Office, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Federal Election Commission. The Committee is cooperating fully with law enforcement officials regarding this matter.

What is known at this point is that certain financial records do not reconcile and there are indications that this may be the result of fraudulent activity on the part of a former employee. Until a full investigation is completed and because the matter is under review by law enforcement officials, the Committee is not able to comment further on the specifics of the situation.

The Committee filed its post-election FEC Report yesterday and notified the FEC that because of the discovery of this information neither the Committee nor its Treasurer can affirm that the content of the report is complete or accurate.

The Committee will amend the report and any previous reports as it obtains the necessary information.

Congressman Shays stated, “This is a serious and sad situation. If true, the actions of this individual represent a betrayal of my campaign, its supporters and the very things I stand for, but in no way do they reflect upon the incredibly dedicated and honorable service of my other staff members and extended family of volunteers and supporters. We hope this matter will be
resolved as quickly as possible.”



  1. Maybe for his next election effort instead of promising $600.00 his slogan should be, “Vote for Finch and Save Some Green!”

    Would this be considered a Green Ripper?

  2. Gossip of The Rialto

    Cops hard on soft sell!

    Undercover sting operation of a Bridgeport massage parlor brought about a bust yesterday. One undercover officer was approached about being rubbed the wrong way. Masseuse claimed innocence in that all she was doing was removing the Hairy parts of her leg with some Nair.

  3. Somewhere between the closing of polling stations on election night and that first day in office, every mayor in recent history has believed the mere words “economic development” had the magical ability to turn this burg into Camelot on the shores of Long Island. “We’re the next stop” for the exodus out of New York has always been the cheer.

    And time after time, we’ve been shown that’s not reality. Have we learned anything from these lessons? Maybe this town needs to have a book called Con Men I’ve Known and Loved!

    I remember a preferred city developer (Ferry Boat restaurant fame) standing in the lobby of the People’s Bank building (not the one built by ‘Bow Tie Banker David Carson, but rather the building that now houses a pizza joint) telling a gaggle of reporters that he was off to Germany to buy a roller coaster for a new amusement park to be constructed on Pleasure Beach.

    How’s the ride been so far? That roller coaster is, well, like the dreams of children, gone with the years that have passed. The ferry boat restaurant that was here for a while is long gone. In fact, it was sunk on the New Jersey shoreline and cut up for scrap metal. Nothing ever replaced it downtown.

    Economic development doesn’t happen because some politician simply wishes it so or comes up with a catchy slogan. Municipal leaders need to stand up and assess what they have to sell to a developer. And if what the city has isn’t desirable, invest in making it so.

    Quality developers are economic mercenaries. They simply want a profit and they don’t care if the project is in Bridgeport, Norwalk, Stamford or some other state. They want to call up an accountant and get the answer to a single question – are we using red ink or black ink today?

    They don’t care if the person cutting the ribbon on their completed project is a “D” or an “R.”

    They don’t care if the city is the historical home of Tom Thumb or Tom Jefferson.

    They don’t invest out of a love for a city. They invest to make a profit – and there’s nothing wrong with that formula.

    Simply saying Bridgeport is the next stop on the railroad of economic development is foolhardy. That train has left the station and we weren’t on board!

  4. EVERY magazine, newspaper and broadcast news show has printed or televised numerous pro-GREEN stories. It’s a popular idea enhanced by our “dependence on foreign oil”. Nowhere in America are those initiatives proven and complete. Everywhere in America GREEN thinking, ideas and changes are evolving with the goal of increased power and reduced emmisions. Bridgeport and Mayor Finch are a small part of this ongoing and still incomplete mission. He’s trying to close the budget gap while making Bridgeport a GREENER city–what’s wrong with that?

    I disagree with john gilmore’s conclusion that the future is over (#3).

  5. I just got back from the recycle bin with an enormous sense of satisfaction and gratification. Recycling is an important component to the restoration of our land. I also found 72 cans and bottles that I can take to the supermarket and convert to cash so that I can pay my outrageous taxes while Mayor Greenjeans is doing nothing to alleviate the burdens of the taxpayers except insisting that all city toilets be stocked with recycled toilet a paper and that city employees should utilize both sides.

    I firmly believe in GREENING as a way of life. But Mayor Greenjeans, all you have espoused so far since you slipped into office is your commitment to making Bridgeport a truly GREEN city. Admirable. What about all of the other problems you promised to address? Your incompetence and inability to do your job is jeopardizing our prospects for a future.

    You know, Mayor Greenjeans, the color of mold is GREEN too. Unless you get off your ass and get some meaningful things done, mold is going to be a way of life around here.

  6. Lennie – Great column and couldn’t agree with you more

    Harry – Very clever

    John Gilmore – Great comments. Let’s hope they resonate with certain local, state, and federal elected & appointed officials.

    As for me, I could give a rat’s ass about this being a “green” city.

    Get city management & development moving ahead efficiently per Gilmore’s screed and then just maybe, some other communities might be “green” with envy of Bridgport!

  7. Does anyone know what the mayor’s actual goals are? Does anyone know what the actual deficit is?
    Clean & Green, that is a bunch of leftist bullshit. Most of us are busy trying to keep our heads above water and pay our bills and high utility and heating costs. We are recyling as much as we can but I can tell you I am tired of seeing my street decorated with recyclable material that is dropped there by the people doing the collection. These guys are really contributing to making this city a dump.
    We have housing code inspectors, blight inspectors, zoning enforcement officers, cops and Fire Marshals all having the power to change Bridgeport for the better and they have the power to improve our quality of living in this city. Are they doing their jobs? Just barely. Do they ride around the city and stop when they see an obvious violation? In most cases the answer is NO. They wait for a complaint.
    In my neighborhood which is residential we have four (4) 10-wheel dump trucks that are parked on various streets or in driveways (they rotate where they park them). Complaints have been filed going back over 1 year and they are still here. We have a tree service that parks all his equipment on a city street in a residential neighborhood, complaints have been filed, to date no action. Down the street from my house is a guy running an illegal car repair buisiness, nothing has been done. We have a number of houses that are vacant and the property is overgrown, nothing has been done. Just try an sell your house with this crap going on.
    So I guess the answer is things have gotten worse since I don’t have a clue Finch and his cohorts have tan office.

  8. Bill’s solution to becoming “Green” is forming a 32-person committee to be overseen by the BRBC. The initiative is called B-Green 2020. A Green economy in Bridgeport would bring about a new economy to an old economy town.

    However in order to accomplish that you must have an economic Greed factor. That’s what Gilmore, Yahooy and OMalley are writing about in their postings.

  9. Lennie you forgot the word execute. And I am not talking in the sense that many taxpayers in the city might want to see the mayor executed.
    “Judgment, communication and negotiation” are fine but if he does not execute a plan and create real results it is all lip service.
    The only thing that our Economic Development Department knows is how to try to give away things. Give away taxes, give away property and give away the future. And these same people start to believe the PR BS that they used to try to sell idea to begin with. And when the developers fail to abide by their obligations, all they do is threaten to pull out and the city gives away more out of fear of being embarrassed by a bad plan to begin with.
    Execute. Make thing happen. Or move out of the way and let people who are not afraid of failure try.

  10. Nice Rip, Reap!

    Although I appreciate and thank all those city employees that participated in the furlough program, was it really necessary or PRUDENT for the city spend all that money for a full-page ad in the Connecticut Post today?

    Bridgeport needs an operational audit and it should begin with the idiot that came up with this advertising gem.

  11. Oh boy, do I agree with Grin Ripper. What a waste of the city’s tax dollars–my goodness, what a waste! I too would like to know the name of the administrator who authorized this expenditure. And, I would like to know the amount of this waste. I’m certain it was in the thousands of dollars. My God, what a sin!!!

  12. Thank you JYD!

    Another question is did the city employees, who participated in furlough program, give permission to the city to print their names?

    Paging Elaine Ficarra!!!

  13. Certainly it was very gracious of those employees to take the furlough to assist the City with its financial difficulties and certainly they should be acknowledged. I think a letter to each of them from the mayor would have been sufficient and maybe they did get a letter. If public acknowledgement is what the administration was seeking, the mayor’s public relations person (the new $80M appointment) could have written a press release with their names and I’m certain the paper would have released it. That cost would have been “zero.” I’m still waiting to hear from someone within the city to declare the cost for this sinful waste of taxpayer money. I have always tried to give the mayor and his administration the benefit of the doubt since they inherited a lot of these difficulties. I am now having very serious reservations about the entire group and that is disturbing and disappointing to me.

  14. I cannot imagine Lennie “cheerleading” for Mayor Finch (today’s lead post). Blogs make people do weird things (sigh).

    But then I heard yahooy discussing the joys of recycling and the dangers of mold. What a mood swing!

    Grin Ripper and Grin Reaper–never confuse the two–are upset to the point of firing an entire city department.

    Warren has abandoned Wall Street to start a new career as a tv writer.

    Zoom …

    It’s a fast world we live in …

  15. I think the Mayor should take a page from hot new political ideology, “team of rivals.” In one room, invite all factions of Bridgeport players to a series of meetings. People such as Testa, Gomes, Caruso, Stafstrom, Timpanelli, McCarthy, Shays, Russo, Walsh, Ayala etc. to sit down and air differences, brainstorm, set priorities, legislative agenda and leave political agendas at home. There should be witnesses … I mean spectators, who could ask questions at the end. It would be a public showing of sincere desire to end toxic political posturing and roadblocks to progress. It also shows that the Mayor is secure in his position as the leader of the City, that he doesn’t know everything, and he is willing to go beyond his safe circle of obstructionist staff.

    I can hear the critics rattling their keyboards as I post.

  16. clichbpt: You listed 10 people of influence meaning there are 10 seperate agendas. I think your idea of getting them into one room and getting their shit together is a Good Idea.
    It’s time for this group to realize there is more at stake than their personal agendas. Because they have only been giving lip-service to making Bridgeport a better place just the opposite has taken place. We are sliding backwards at a pretty fast pace.
    The problem as I see it is that they all have their hand out in one fashion or another.
    I think that Finch has got to start this off and he has to start telling us meaning the citizens of Bridgeport the truth about the deficit. There is a document out that is in the hands of certain council people that shows the deficit is not as big as we have been told. I am at the point when one of the 10 you mention say anything my first reaction is yeah more bullshit. I know I should not feel that way but I am at the point where I don’t know who to trust.

  17. Number one junk yard puppy.

    It sounds like you are wondering out loud today.
    Be concerned. Be very concerned.


    I’m right behind you with wondering.

  18. Wondering, you are right to wonder what the truth is and who if anyone really knows all of it. My sources from outside the City inform me that the City is in worse financial shape than they are letting on. So you’ve heard less, I heard more, and no one trusts anyone in charge to give an accurate portrayal. I am not sure how much is endemic of the present trend of distrust of the constituents everywhere or a systemic problem in Bridgeport politics.

    I believe that identifying the source of the condition is necessary in trying to craft the solution. I personally believe it is just an exaggerated condition of a nationwide epidemic. I wholeheartedly believe that Obama is masterfully eroding the distrust and skepticism of the electorate by showing he is secure in his leadership role and crafting an overwhelmingly inclusive administration. That’s why I believe a serious and public attempt to emulate the President-elect’s style would go a long way in building consensus and confidence. Again this only works if done in public way, with participants being from Bridgeport only, minutes and widespread dissemination of the discussions of Bridgeport’s “team of rivals summit.”

  19. I have been told that we have collected more tax money than was anticipated and if this is true then our deficit should be less. We really have not been given the truth on this matter and no one outside of the inner circle knows the true extent of our debt.
    While I supported McCain in the presidential race I am impressed with what Obama has done to date. I hope he keeps it up. His inclusion of the other party and former enemies is a bold move and shows a level of confidence. If only we had JUST ONE person that was that decisive.

  20. *** It will take Finch’s entire #4-yr. term just to get back somewhere near to when Bpt. was a Real Estate hotbed in New England. So while we’re waiting & since it’s close to Xmas, how about getting your name or the name of your family & friends, club, lodge, etc. engraved into the new sidewalk bricks that will surround & lead up to the new Bpt. Vet. WW-II Memorial to be located @ McLevy Hall Green, downtown Bpt. Only $50. or $100. For info. call *Lisa* (203-576-3964). ***

  21. I went to the Christmas tree lighting this evening. Very nice event. Lots of people and lots of Kids. Santa was the big hit of the evening.
    Meet someone from LaLuna union at the event. I was told 34 of their members took the week’s furlough. More layoff notices went out this afternoon. Nine of the 34 LaLuna members who took furlough were laid off.
    I would have thought that you would finalize deals with the unions before you laid anyone off. It would seem to me that further negotiations with the unions just got tougher. Oh Well Merry Xmas Bah Humbug.

  22. According to the union official I met at the tree lighting the layoff notices went out late Friday afternoon. Nine of the names were part of the list of people who took furloughs that was posted in the ad sponsored by the city and appearing in the CT Post.

  23. *** In the Finch Admin. it does not matter if you took the furlough route, if you’re low on the senority list you can get a double pink-martini too! *** Also, #17’s comment about getting all those political people together in a conference room to speak on ideas & plans to help put Bpt. first, is definitely a thoughtful wish! Problem is many of these people have been together in rooms, meetings, dinners, etc. & nothing really ever happens except hot air, like we should, they should, etc. … Wake Up! ***

  24. Goes to figure that a birdbrain drunken a-hole like Finch who has had every job he’s ever had spoonfed to him because he is incompetent and lazy ends up laying off the good employees he hasn’t scared off AND chooses to boot struggling citizens all right before Christmas in a down economy.

    Who made these decisions? Finch and his gaggle of heartless lying incompetent out-of-town braniacs, that’s who.

    It’s a shame. He’s blowing off good people like he did that guy on his ex-wife’s couch.

  25. I find it so funny that WorldsSecondBiggestLiar has chosen a pen name that so clearly describes the facts he/she points out. For starters, he is “incompetent and lazy?” He would not be where he is today if he was either of those things. Secondly, the reason he is forced to put boots on cars, which from your post almost appears as if you were a victim of this, is because people like you do not understand the importance of paying their taxes, and deserve to have the boots put on their cars. Why should they be allowed to drive around as they please when the rest of us actually have to budget our taxes into our spending. I feel no mercy for those who had the boots put on, it’s just yet another example of these idiots living beyond their means.


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