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Jim Himes Visits Pol Pod, Plus: Hanging Out At Épernay And Waiting For Moses

October 2nd, 2009 · 54 Comments · Analysis and Comment, City Politics, Development and Zoning, Interviews, News and Events, State Politics

Congressman Jim Himes touched base with OIB on Friday to chat about a variety of subjects including Joe Biden’s campaign visit for him on Monday, stimulus spending, health care and the beleaguered Congress Street Bridge.

Himes had a full day making a number of stops at events in the Fourth Congressional District. Health care is topic number one these days, but he’s dealing with a whole set of issues as he approaches the one-year anniversary of his election last November when he defeated Republican incumbent Chris Shays.

Campaigning, as he points out, never stops and Joe Biden’s visit kicked off our conversation. Grab a cup of java and listen. {running time: 12:36}

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Épernay, Make Your Day

It’s always nice to hang out with OIB peeps.

I did that Thursday night downtown at Épernay on Fairfield Avenue. If you’ve not been there check it out. Épernay is the berries. The food, the drink, the atmosphere.

I ran into Alex Hernandez, former federal prosecutor extraordinaire, who put away some of the region’s biggest drug dealers working out of the federal building in Bridgeport. Alex is now an attorney for Pullman & Comley. Alex reminded me about my book Chased, a true-crime biography about Billy Chase who spent years infiltrating some of Connecticut’s biggest drug operations including the Number One Family that terrorized West End residents in the 1980s.

Bridgeport’s inner-city neighborhoods were war zones back then, 50, 60, 70 murders a year. Hope that never happens again. As Alex pointed out, Chased had a high readership among drug dealers, a lot of the guys Billy put away. If only readers with a clean life had thought as highly of that book. Oh, well.

One of the things that gives me a kick about this webzine is the interest in posters. “Who the heck is City Hall Smoker?” some readers asked. “She knows what goes on in City Hall.” You know what, I have no clue who Smoker is, be s/he male or female, and if I did I don’t give up my peeps (unless of course they want their identity known).

Yahooy, Anna, Up On Bridgeport, Grin Ripper, Grin Reaper, Town Committee, Mojo, Speedy Gonzalez, Countdown, Independent Soul, Bpts Finest, Bridgeport Kid, Big Pussy, John B, DonJ and all the rest make this site what it is. Notice I haven’t called it a blog? I like webzine. Say the word blog and people say OMG only crazy people post there.

Well, I like to think of this place as controlled chaos. A little edgy at times but a place to vent, learn something and maybe even figure out stuff. And sometimes it can be a little scary what readers learn on OIB. I met a young attorney at Épernay, and a bunch of us were on the subject of the merits of a four-year term for mayor. I am a supporter of a four-year term for several reasons, but the primary reason because every election year under the two-year term had always produced a screwy budget. That meant every other year was a phony budget. Anyhoo, a number of folks were supporters of the two-year term. “It’s easier to get rid of the mayor.” Okay, fair enough, but the young lawyer reminded me, “Lennie, weren’t you the guy that managed the campaign that passed the four-year term?” Yup, guilty as charged.

So we talked about the four-year term, bringing back a two-year term, the return of Joe Ganim and then someone said, hey, what about Ernie Newton? When’s he getting out of the joint? The former state senator should be getting out right around the time of Ganim’s release. Just think, the Moses of his people returns. Bet you can’t wait.

Check This Out

Sustainable Development Guru to Tour Bridgeport and Address Regional Leaders Oct. 7-8

Urban Land Institute Westchester/Fairfield County District Council program to focus on “Secrets to Successful and Sustainable Cities”

Ed McMahon, a nationally renowned authority on sustainable development, will meet with local and regional leaders for two days in October. The first day will include a walking tour of downtown Bridgeport and the second day will feature the presentation, “Secrets to Successful and Sustainable Cities.” McMahon will highlight examples from around the country, illustrating what various cities have done to initiate sustainable practices, become greener and respond to the challenges of redeveloping urban cores, building the infrastructure and adapting to climate change. Based on research from his latest books “Sustainable Planned Communities” and “Green Infrastructure: Linking Landscapes and Communities,” McMahon will talk about mistakes made and lessons learned. All attendees will receive ULI’s recent publication “The City in 2050.”

This program is hosted by the Urban Land Institute’s Westchester /Fairfield County District Council and sponsored by Spinnaker Real Estate Partners and Forstone Capital. The Urban Land Institute is a nonprofit education and research institute whose mission is to provide responsible leadership in the use of land in order to enhance the total environment. This event serves as a follow up to the ULI Advisory Services Panel that was undertaken in Bridgeport in 2005.

Ed McMahon serves as the ULI Charles E. Fraser Senior Resident Fellow and is a nationally renowned authority on sustainable development, land conservation and urban design. He is the former vice president and director of the land use programs at The Conservation Fund, where he worked to improve both land conservation and land development practices through programs that balance economic and environmental goals. Other presenters include:

· Lizanne Galbreath, Galbreath & Company, will offer welcoming remarks

· Mayor Bill Finch, City of Bridgeport, Connecticut, will outline the goals and objectives to move Bridgeport’s sustainability initiative forward

Wednesday, October 7, 2009: 4:00 – 5:30 P.M. – Walking tour of downtown Bridgeport. Ed McMahon will join Bridgeport business and civic leaders for a tour that will include visits to significant development sites and progress reports from key investors and business leaders. Location: The tour will kick off from the Barnum Museum, 820 Main Street, Bridgeport.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009: 5:30 P.M. – Reception with ULI Fellow Ed McMahon. Open to the public and media. Location: Atrium at City Trust, 955 Main Street, Bridgeport.

Thursday, October 8, 2009: 8:30 – 10:00 A.M. – “Secrets to Successful and Sustainable Cities” Location: Playhouse on the Green, 177 State Street, Bridgeport, Conn. Free parking is available in the lot between Broad and Main Streets behind Ralph ‘n’ Rich’s restaurant. Entrance is on Cesar Batalla Way, one block south of State Street.

News release, Bridgeport By The Sea Calendars

Once again, Bridgeport aficionados will have the chance to relish the Park City’s past now that the 2010 Edition of the popular Bridgeport By The Sea Calendars are currently on sale throughout the region, just in time for holiday gift-shoppers!

Using a new selection of historic and colorful postcards from the first half of the 20th century, from the collection of Andrew Pehanick, “At the Ritz!” radio show (www.attheritz.org) producer and calendar publisher Jeffrey Williams presents the theme “Growing Up In the Park City” for 2010. Over 20 illustrations reflect the paradise younger people enjoyed as children in Connecticut’s largest city, including views of Seaside Park, Beardsley Park, Brooklawn Country Club, and Pleasure Beach. Tranquil, vintage city street scenes of trolley cars, horse-drawn vehicles and people having fun conjure a sense of peace, play and prosperity in a city laden with trees and beauty.

A special feature of the new calendar is an international success story that started on Jewett Avenue in 1965 … the year Fred DeLuca opened his very first sub sandwich shop. From the humble “Pete’s Subs,” his enterprise evolved into today’s world-wide Subway Sandwich Corporation with over 31,500 franchises in over 30 countries!

Sponsors for the 2010 calendar include Bridgeport’s Merit Insurance, Ralph and Rich’s Restaurant, Porto Painting, Chris Bartlett Mortgage Solutions, and WICC, along with the suburban businesses Subway International, Sassafras Restaurant, Jennie’s Pizzeria, Frances Bakery, Only In Bridgeport Webzine, Grover Opticians, and Fairfield Stationers.

Limited edition and collectible 2010 Bridgeport By The Sea Calendars are on sale now for $12 each in:

BRIDGEPORT

Barnum Museum, Beardsley Zoo, Helen Antoniak’s Greeting Cards, White’s Diner,

Hill View Superette

FAIRFIELD:

Fairfield Stationers

STRATFORD:

Clough’s Hardware, Grover Opticians, Salerno’s Apizza

TRUMBULL:

Frances Bakery, Frame Creations

SHELTON:

Sassafras Restaurant, Written Words, Beardsley Cider Mill, Center Services

MONROE:

Jennie’s Pizza

MILFORD:

Graphic Image Printers

For more information: www.bridgeport-by-the-sea.com  or call (800) 529-8497.

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54 Comments so far ↓

  • Grin Ripper

    Ed McMahon is being resurrected with ULI. Here’s Johnnny!

    Combination of Publisher’s Clearing House and Mr. Clean.
    I know I sound like a soiled-sport, but can somebody please pass me the handi-wipes.

    When Joe and Moses return from the dead we can have a fundraiser for them and call it The Reds, The Whites and The Blues!

    • The Bridgeport Kid

      I can’t wait for Ernie “Moses Of My People” Newton to return from the purgatory of the federal prison system. I’m sure he enthralled fellow inmates with his dazzling skills at the keyboard, tickling the ivories while informing his captive audience “I am the Moses of my people.” I’m willing to bet the rent that Ernie’s fellow convicts actually believe a sawed-off runt like him is a religious leader, lawgiver and prophet.

      • The Bridgeport Kid

        Y’know, maybe Ernie will emerge from Club Fed and, having re-embraced the Baptist faith of his youth, adopt a Christ-like philosophy and outlook. He may even help a few ex-convicts find legitimate employment as Jimmy Hoffa (and, I assume, Christ) would have.

      • Mojo

        *** I would bet my last dollar on Ernie against a spineless masked website punk like you, in a 3rd. controlled fight match. You can call yourself B/K the jasper of your people as well. Tic-Tic-Tic, your time is getting close to “High Noon”! ***

  • The Bridgeport Kid

    Un mensaje para Mister Mojo:

    ***No le dé a cabo si no se puede tomar!***

  • The Bridgeport Kid

    Lennie,

    Slow day today, eh? Guess the site, er, webzine has gone to the dogs.

  • Solid as Barack

    The Democrats in the U.S. Senate are on life support, and need an advanced directive on the health-care issue, or it will be time to pull the plug.

    Let the Good Himes Roll is going to need an Act of Congress to get the Congress Street Bridge erected.

    VIP in Milford has a very good stimulus package.

  • Harry Neigher

    The Gossip of The Rialto!

    WorldWide Pants announces extortion plan against David Letterman.

    Variety exclaims headline, calling extortioner “Pants Enhancer.”

    Women’s Wear Daily issues worldwide warning on Letterman not being able to keep it in his pants.

    Rod & Stream comes out with new line of Letterman leggings called “Trouser Trout.”

    Leslie Moonves, CBS boss and husband of CBS’s Big Brother hostess Julie Chen, said he always admired Letterman’s surf casting ability. “Dave caught the big one when he married his wife, a former writer for Letterman, and had Harry.”

  • town committee

    Well I just wasted 12 minutes and 36 seconds listening to Jim Himes. He is preaching the standard bullshit line from Washington. We now have 20 more police officers because of the stimulus package? That’s a crock of BS. He managed to get funds for taking down the Congress Street bridge, Big Deal. Where is the money to replace it?
    He spoke at a 7th-grade class on Health Care reform in Darien. Like those kids are worried about health care. Bridgeport is the place that is worrying about health care for its poor and underemployed; not some rich suburb where daddy is making tons of money.
    Going to Fairfield for the Merritt parkway work thanks to the stimulus, then off to Greenwich to dine with the rich and famous. We won’t see Himes here until election time and then as far as I am concerned he can hold his hand on his ass waiting for my vote.

  • anna

    I liked the Himes interview. We haven’t heard from Yahooy. Let me guess, he spent the best 9 minutes with himself. Blech!!!

  • Joel Gonzalez

    “Who the heck is City Hall Smoker?”

    There is a rumor at the Health Department that Joel Gonzalez is the mysterious City Hall Smoker. Talking about “Smoker,” how do all you smokers out there like the $1.00 increase on a pack of cigarettes? I have an Idea! If you are a smoker, save your ciggy butts and give then to a Democratic member of the Connecticut Legislature, when you meet one. If or when a member of the our legislature goes to the next OIB Party, all ciggy butts gathered will be split evenly among them. Before a member of the Connecticut Legislature is allowed to enter the next OIB party, he or she must hold a lit ciggy for 3 minutes on the palm of the hand. If you see any member of the legislature drinking, you are allowed to use their cups or bottles as ashtrays–only when they are not looking.

    • Mojo

      *** You’re not smart enough, wrong gender & not enough wrinkles either to be C.H.S. *** But you can be the “grim reaper” since you have a dark personality! ***

  • Joel Gonzalez

    “Notice I haven’t called it a blog? I like webzine. Say the word blog and people say OMG only crazy people post there.”

    Crazy people post on blogs; the inzine (Insane) ones post on webzines.

  • Joel Gonzalez

    City won’t ID bidders on Black Rock property
    By Keila Torres
    STAFF WRITER
    Updated: 10/02/2009 05:35:34 PM EDT

    BRIDGEPORT — The city is refusing to disclose information about the proposals filed by potential developers of the former Black Rock Bank & Trust Co. building, which were unsealed this week.

    The request for proposals for re-use of the building at 2838 Fairfield Ave., which most recently housed the Black Rock Art Center, was issued last month. The city set the minimum bid for the property at $750,000.

    “We’re advancing through the normal [Request for Proposals] review process. An appropriate announcement will be forthcoming when a selection is made,” Donald Eversley, the city’s director of planning and development, said in a e-mail Friday morning in response to the Connecticut Post’s inquiries about how many bids were submitted and who the bidders are.

    The winning bid has also yet to be identified.

    The 31,800-square-foot property is assessed at $790,240. The building itself takes up about 11,400 square feet and is within in an office/retail zone at the corner of Fairfield Avenue and Brewster Street.

    Despite neighborhood residents’ claims that the property lies within the Black Rock Historic District, it is neither in that district nor the other historic district in the neighborhood, Black Rock Gardens, which is bounded by Fairfield Avenue, Nash Lane, and Brewster, Rowsley and Haddon streets.

    The building was home to the Black Rock Art Center for nearly five years before the city forced the group to leave. Although the art center has been gone for months, neighborhood activists hope that use of the property will still be centered on the arts.

    The RFP urged interested developers “to review the [Black Rock Neighborhood Revitalization Zone] plan, and provide a project that is consistent and compatible with the community’s desire to improve the area’s street-friendly, walkable character at this important intersection.”

    The city’s Office of Planning and Economic Development will refer the sale and redevelopment of the property Monday to the City Council, which meets at 7 p.m. in City Hall.

    PLACE YOUR BEST GUESS AS TO WHO MAY BE WINNING BIDDER: I SAY “PRIMROSE CONSTRUCTION”.

    • city hall smoker

      Hey Health Dept. smoker, I just read this myself. I thought once the bids were open they became public information. What’s up? What are they hiding now?

      It’s true about Mark Anastasi’s son being hired at CitiStat. Wow they kept that quiet. See what happens when you get rid of Ralph Jacobs? You don’t have to bother with any of that nonsense like job postings and qualifications and interviews. You just pick who you want.

      • InsideGirl

        It’s a beautiful thing, isn’t it?

      • InsideGirl

        Yeah … Anastasi is there alright … right in the address book for city employees email. Surprised CHS? I’m certainly not; he’s one of many in the past few months, while long-term civil servants remain on the recall list that will never be used. Apparently, they are not needed; experience, good work ethics and exemplary performance to the wind … the City just really needs more relatives and more inexperienced and infantile employees is all. I get it now.

      • Joel Gonzalez

        Does that make Mark’s son the InsideBoy?

    • city hall smoker

      Primrose Construction as in Ms. Guedes, the civil service chair? Could they be that obvious?

    • Grin Reaper

      My guesses as to the bidders are:
      Papa Ganim
      E & N
      Garfield Spencer
      Phil Kuchma
      Bridgeport Landing LLC (off-site workforce housing)
      Primrose/Cornerstone

      And the winner will be (based on the fear of Little Joe coming back to town) Ganim, Ganim and Ganim.

    • The Bridgeport Kid

      I would venture bets on Sal DiNardo or Bob Scinto. Maybe the latter will relocate his proposed Jewish Home For The Elderly to Black Rock. Wouldn’t all the wealthy elderly retirees enjoy living right across the street from Matty’ Corner, a den of iniquity known for for its lively and intelligent political discussions and the refinement and sophistication of its patrons?

  • Bpts Finest

    There is a rumor out of the Board of Ed that Rosa Carrera who is on that civil service commission also … has a nephew in the BOE who just got a temp job as the Director of Operations … A job that a gentleman with a Doctorate held and Rosa’s nephew was a custodian.

    • InsideGirl

      They actually think the bulk of us don’t see and are inexperienced and stupid. We don’t know anything. ABF … prevails. They can’t get us all, although they have tried. Inexperienced public employees are serving in positions where long-term dedicated public SERVANTS have been shoved out the door. The taxpayers should be feeling the difference right about now. Those who wanted to serve you are now replaced by those who think they are doing you a favor.

    • Mojo

      *** Republicans have to get something for their services to the Admin. too, not just Dems. ***

      • The Bridgeport Kid

        Señor Mojo,

        You seem to be extremely critical of the posters that have opinions with more than a passing connection to reality. You also have demonstrated hostility toward any other poster with an intelligence quota more than ten points higher than your own (a category that includes the rest of us). Unless you have something constructive to say, get offline and get out of the house. You’ve got way too much time on your hands. Your opinions and viewpoints would have a measure of validity if they weren’t expressed with such vulgarity.

        Tu madre es, sin duda, orgullosa de que ella dio luz a un imbécil.

  • town committee

    One has to wonder if the small ineffective Republican party leaders have been bought off. We have not heard one word of criticism from the head of the Republican party. We have not heard one alternative plan for anything proposed by the Democratic power brokers. is it any wonder they are a forgotten party in this city?
    There is no voice of opposition in this city.

    • Joel Gonzalez

      I assure TC that Republican leaders have not been bought off. It would be nice to have the Republican leaders speak out more often. However, Democrats such as yourself have done a pretty good job at pointing out the uselessness of the Bridgeport Democratic Party. Based on my experience working with the Republican party in Bridgeport during the last year, I can tell you this: Just because some Republicans serving on commissions have made certain decisions in the course of their duty, it doesn’t mean that the Republican leadership is in agreement with those decisions or votes.

      Whenever there are commission spots open for Republicans, the Republican Party makes recommendations to the city of people the party wants to see appointed to the boards or commissions. The Democratic administration in most cases does not select or appoint those recommended by the Republican Party. Why? Because they simply don’t have to. Minority party representation can mean anything (just ask Mark Anastasi) from Republican to Independent. There are quite a few RINOs (Republicans In Name Only) who are serving on boards and commissions. The Bridgeport Democratic Party has gone as far as having Democrats either register as Republicans or switch parties in order to appoint these people to boards and commissions and meet the minority party representation requirements–just to save face.

      “There is no voice of opposition in this city.” Are you saying that you are in support of the Democratic Party policies? I’m sure all the OIB readers were under the impression that everything you posted here was in opposition to the status quo.

      • town committee

        Joel where the heck did you get from my last post that I support the Democratic policies as they are now formulated in this city? I am against the status quo.
        What I was trying to say is in every mayoral election of late the Republicans come up with a sacrificial lamb whose name is on the ballot and no one knows who he/she is. I was trying to say the Republicans should have a candidate now who will start speaking about the issues so that they can have some name recognition.
        I can point to issues all day but I am not a Republican candidate for mayor.

  • Grin Reaper

    Hey CHS,
    The CT Post finally has something on their website concerning Mark A’s son being hired in CitiStat.
    There are supposed to be 4 analysts in that Department.
    So it would be
    Chris Anastasi
    Chris Rosario
    EZ Santiago
    and who am I missing?
    With the exception of Chris A, do any of these others have a bachelor’s degree in a related subject?

    • city hall smoker

      Jodie Paul, former labor relations officer, could be the 4th although I think she’s the director. So Carol Curry was kicked out so that Chris Anastasi could get a job. Carol must be pissed. Why doesn’t she spill her guts? You know she has a lot to say. BTW, Chris Rosario is a nice kid and EZ is MIA more often than not.

  • city hall smoker

    CitiStat is under the CAO’s office which is budgeted at $491,000:

    CAO @ $115,000 Andy Nunn
    Admin. Asst @ $66,000 Lisa “I don’t make copies”
    Dep. CAO/CitiStat @ $83,000 John Gomes
    Proj. Manager @ $83,000 Jodie Paul
    3 Asst. Proj. Man @ $47,000 Ezequiel Santiago, Chris Rosario, Chris Anastasi

    Now I ask you, what do they do for all that money? We all know what Lisa does to keep her job. What about the others? The last I heard, Jodie and her staff were training employees on how to answer the phone and take messages.

    Finch doesn’t want real recommendations like those that Gomes and Carol Curry made. He didn’t implement one of them. He wants bullshit work that will give jobs to his peeps. The next two years will be all about giving jobs to his peeps.

  • Local Eyes

    OIB Rumor Mill:

    Third-party validation makes debut here. It goes like this:

    Mojo’s detractors are rage-filled primates.

    The reason he has “way too much time on his hands” is because he made his earlier times so worthwhile. After producing more than he consumes for so long he is now enjoying the benefits.

    His postings aren’t vulgar. Mojo’s passion for politics goes beyond his postings here. He’s not just a blogger, he’s a player, too.

  • Local Eyes

    OIB Rumor Mill:

    Being an OIB bogger has a hip sound to it.

    Being an OIB webziner has unwanted connotations and makes me wanna …

    gag myself with a keyboard

  • Wingnut

    What is the amount of Taxpayer $$$ involved in this trip to China? What was the purpose of this trip? How will it benefit Bridgeport? Who is managing these dept’s while these directors are away? The kids are watching the candy store!
    When are the other two Heroin users in P.F.D. going to come out of the closet! Charlie doesn’t care, where in China did he go? Hope he bought a one-way ticket!

  • Mojo

    *** It’s not anti-opinions, it’s anti-spineless bloggers that can’t respond to any topic without disrespecting people. I merely give it back when I can! ***

  • Local Eyes

    OIB Rumor Mill:

    Doesn’t Lennie deny the Only-in-Bridgeport credo when he claims that Bridgeport should do what every other town does to promote itself?

    “It’s been proven over and over, market your destination points, promote the arts and people and investors will follow. Gee, what a novel idea.” <– Mr Grimaldi

    I think Bridgeport is special and would be wise to develop unique marketing ideas to exploit its unique assets and not employ the same old ideas used elsewhere. The cookie-cutter approach won’t work here.

  • Nancy Hadley

    Wingnut,
    The trip to China was sponsored by the Bridgeport Regional Business Council. They have been advertising this trip for over 8 months. There was a huge open house at the Trumbull Marriott to explain the itinerary and details. It is about $1900 per person for seven days including chartered airfare, stays at 3-4 star hotels, three meals, all the ground transportation and the entry fees to an incredible amount of Chinese venues both business, and historic. The Fairfield Business Council sponsored their trip in the spring. The New Haven Business council sponsored their trip in the summer. Everyone pays their own way. American Chambers sponsor these types of trips all the time. So do the business councils of foreign countries. It was an incredible opportunity for a ridiculously low price. I think 80 folks went to see what couldn’t be seen from the Olympics footage. No public funds.

  • Grin Ripper

    Ms. Hadley is correct on this info. However, could a city employee or councilperson be sponsored through city trade mission dollars to check out on labor relations, or use their council stipend?

  • Mojo

    *** OIB is good for opinions on local topics in CT, etc. *** Not good for website-masked spineless wannabes or disgruntled city employees & rumor addicts that respond with disrespectful blogs over anything & claim it to be intelligent info. ***

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