Joe And Ernie, More Ferry Dust, Mr. Barnum Needs Our Help, And Bridgeport Rocks!

The official release date for former Bridgeport Mayor Joe Ganim, serving out his time under supervision of a halfway house, is Monday, according to The official release date for former State Senator Ernie Newton, who’s completing his time under home confinement, is Aug. 13. Joe is 50, Ernie 54, both relatively young.

The federal government is not totally out of their lives. Both will serve a few years of supervised release under the authority of U.S. Probation. As long as they follow conditions set forth by probation, they should have no problem carrying on, albeit not the lifestyle they once knew. What will they do?

I don’t see an immediate political future for Joe. His focus will be family on the Easton homestead, trying to regain his law license, stay low key and possibly show up here and there in the city with Bridgeport friends. Don’t expect him to pound a lectern at a town committee meeting at Testo’s Restaurant. If he did that I’m guessing his wife Jennifer might take the lectern to his head. He’ll not be a candidate for mayor next year.

Ernie’s a different story. He’s back with his peeps in the East End and I see him becoming a player right away. What will Ernie do? He’s an irrepressible pol. Loves the political action. Like it or not, Ernie’s departure created a void, and before that the death of former State Senator Alvin Penn, in the African American community. More than 20 years ago there was Charlie Tisdale and Margaret Morton. Penn and Newton followed as high-profile pols. Next year is the mayoral election. Ernie’s gonna be a pain in the ass to someone. Ernie will seek elective office. If not next year, perhaps in 2012 for his former state senate seat now occupied by Ed Gomes. Yes, we’ll be hearing from the Moses of his people.

Addressing Rough Waters

OIB friend Denis O’Malley is chairman of the Bridgeport Port Authority. He’s one of the good guys in government in a volunteer capacity. He’s not happy about the current relationship the ferry company has with the city. He shares this guest column:

Prior to being appointed a Bridgeport Port Authority commissioner, I loved the Port Jefferson Ferry. Even after my BPA appointment in the middle of this lawsuit and the resulting tension, I love the Port Jefferson Ferry. It’s a great operation, well-run, accommodating staff and altogether a pleasurable experience. Brian McAllister has done a great job taking a seasonal ferry service with a very limited schedule and rather than get out of the business as his father suggested, building it up to three boats running 365 days a year. Better service for the passenger, more revenue and profit for the company … And that’s the way it’s supposed to be!

By the way, a significant factor in that growth has been the Water Street Terminal built by the Bridgeport Port Authority. To summarize the statistics that can be accessed at, with BPA’s much more passenger-friendly terminal and 24-hour security, the entire experience made a magnum leap for the better. Ferry traffic has gone from 585,000 people and 281,000 cars to what will be over 1,000,000 passengers and approximately 500,000 cars and trucks in 2010.

Unfortunately as has been well publicized, the BPA and Port Jefferson Ferry Company are embroiled in a landlord/tenant dispute that has resulted in very expensive litigation. (Because of that litigation, the BPA had to table building a parking garage adjacent to the terminal after spending over $1 million and since then, lost the grant dollars.) Some of the decisions have favored the BPA and some have favored the PJFC. While the tariff was ruled constitutional which is a win for the BPA, the Court decided that the tariff could only fund benefits to the PJFC and its passenger and that places severe financial restraints on the BPA. Prior to the Court decision, the BPA collected approximately $1.4 million a year (This excludes a tariff surcharge enacted to pay legal fees) which helped fund a number of initiatives PJFC collected from passengers for which they received roughly $30,000 a year as a service charge, and remitted to the BPA.

This Court decision actually compounded the situation as the BPA is now fighting a class action lawsuit that in all likelihood will also name the PJFC a defendant as well because they were paid to collect the tariff. In the long run, the class will receive nothing but the law firms will earn significant legal fees. Not happy about this but that’s our legal system.

The other main revenue streams of the BPA would be the monthly rent paid by the PJFC. They are going in to the final year of the 10-year lease and are now paying of $12,700 a month, $152,400 a year. Given the improvements to the property, many have suggested that the rent is too low but prior to my appointment, the BPA felt this fair due to the tariff revenue collected from passengers. To put that rent in perspective, Derecktor Shipyards currently pays the BPA $250,000 a year in rent that increases to $275,000 in 2013 with far less traffic and stress on City services.

Because of the severe financial hardship resulting from the Court’s decision, one of the BPA’s efforts has been trying to settle this case by either selling or entering into a long-term lease with the PJFC. Unfortunately that has gone nowhere even after two days of settlement mediation by Federal Judge Garfinkel. The PJFC’s appraisal of the terminal’s value is extremely low and we just can’t seem to get to a number that works.

The BPA opposed the PJFC moving across the harbor to the Coastline terminal property. We believe that the ferry is a benefit to downtown Bridgeport right now with the Intermodal Center concept. More importantly, as urban development changes and downtown becomes more of a residential/entertainment/commercial environment, the ferry plays a key role contributing to the Downtown Bridgeport experience. This trend is being seen in cities all over the country and it’s starting in Bridgeport as well. While there are many frustrated with Bridgeport development and understandably cynical, this trend is happening. The ferry is already a strong component in that growth and can only better Bridgeport even more down the road.

Contrary to earlier news coverage and comments, the BPA, very much wants to get out of this litigation nightmare

As with most commercial disputes, it comes down to dollars & cents. Now there is a much higher value to the Water Street dock because of BPA improvements. We have not come to agreement with the PJFC over that value. To some degree, I think this may well be because of the finances of the City of Bridgeport, the BPA and Coastline Terminals. The PJFC has been in discussion with all and seems to be playing a war of attrition, working to get a price that is not equitable. (Last week’s P&Z decision, essentially knocks Coastline out of the picture.)

Both the BPA and the PJFC have made mistakes in all of this. So too has the City of Bridgeport and the State of Connecticut. Rather than agonizing over real or imagined past wrongs, the BPA and the PJFC have to work this out. But the numbers have to work for both parties.

I sincerely wish that we could work this out with PJFC because right now, only the lawyers are making money

Denis O’Malley

Bridgeport Port Authority Chairman

Mr. Barnum Needs Our Help

The Barnum Museum

Last month’s tornado took a big bite out of the Barnum Museum. From Executive Director Kathy Maher:

It is hard to express how touched we are that so many colleagues, neighbors, and friends have reached out to The Barnum Museum after the tornado hit Bridgeport on June 24th. The devastation throughout the City is truly unbelievable, and miraculously, no one was severely hurt from the rage of the storm.

The people of Bridgeport demonstrated a remarkable benevolent spirit of caring, compassion, resilience, and the City’s resolve to persevere and move forward was clearly seen as Bridgeport’s services and community members banded together to assist the many affected families, shops and businesses. We witnessed thousands of age-old trees and tons of debris cleaned from the streets of the largest city in the State of Connecticut, and hundreds of people running to the aid of strangers, reaffirming Mr. Barnum’s core belief in the ‘goodness of human-kind.’

Barnum wrote after the devastation of one of his business enterprises: “The situation was disheartening, but I had energy, experience, health and hope.”

It is estimated that well over 800 artifacts will need to be reviewed and hundreds will require conservation. Exhibition rooms require specialized cleaning and carpets must be replaced due to glass embedded in the pile. Teams of conservators, historic architects, environmental and structural engineers have begun assessing the situation to determine the scope of work necessary for immediate action, and the Museum staff and volunteers are envisioning new ways to serve our local, regional and global constituents as we emerge anew.

The Barnum Museum is dedicated to rising to the challenges we are now facing in the aftermath of the tornado as we examine, restore and re-engage the glory of the Museum for all to enjoy. P.T. Barnum never let his public down, and to honor the Great American Showman, we hope you will stand with us as we begin our recovery efforts.

We humbly ask you to please consider making a donation to support The Barnum Museum’s recovery.

Your generous contribution will provide us with much needed funds.

The Barnum Museum
Attention: Deb Saviello
Development Office
820 Main Street
Bridgeport, CT 06604

Or make a contribution on line at:

Bridgeport Rocks


BRIDGEPORT CT, JULY 1, 2010 — Connecticut’s favorite musical-theater performers are blending their star power with Broadway’s best and brightest to present “Out Tonight: A Rock Musical Benefit Concert,” on Saturday July 31, 2010. Bridgeport Theatre Company, a new addition to Fairfield County’s entertainment scene, describes itself as being ‘for the community, by the community’. They will feature 20+ local performers singing favorite songs from the most popular rock musicals of all-time, including RENT, Hair, The Who’s Tommy, Jesus Christ Superstar, Spring Awakening and many more.

The one-night-only concert will feature special appearances from Broadway performers and a live band. All proceeds will help in funding BTC’s inaugural ‘Season of Love’, which opens this fall with Jonathan Larson’s Tony Award & Pulitzer Prize-winning musical, RENT. In addition to live entertainment, the evening will also include raffle prizes, a silent auction, local artist display, and the announcement of the full BTC 2010/11 season of shows which will include two musicals and two plays.

The evening will feature over 20 local performers including Elayne Cassara (Weston), Lianne DiFabbio (Stratford), Jim DeVivo (Monroe), Jessica Ferraday (Milford), Molly Garbe (Fairfield), Gina Garcia (Bridgeport), Bryna Kearney (West Haven), Juliette Garrison Koch (Milbrook, NY), Christy McIntosh (Bridgeport), Jenifer Menedis (Darien), Jim Nassef (Fairfield), Eli Newsom (Bridgeport), Jeff Porper (Stamford), Brian Riley (Bridgeport), Kevin Thompson (Stamford), Danny Ward (Stamford), DaRon Lamar Williams (NYC), Melinda Zupaniotis (Norwalk), plus performances by Broadway singer/actors Rashidra Scott (Hair, Avenue Q, and Finian’s Rainbow), Ryan Duncan (Shrek, Altar Boyz), Annie Edgerton (Mamma Mia!) and Carter Calvert (It Ain’t Nothin’ But the Blues). The concert will be directed by Bridgeport resident and professional actress, Christy McIntosh (Evil Dead: The Musical, Elvis and Juliet with Fred Willard, and the upcoming The Girl in the Park).

“Out Tonight” will take place at Playhouse on The Green located at 177 State Street in Downtown Bridgeport. Tickets are priced at $25 for General Admission and $50 for Premium Tickets. Premium ticket holders will also receive an exclusive invitation to a private, pre-show reception at the theatre with complimentary beverages and catered food. Tickets are available online at or by phone at 800.838.3006.

BTC was founded in May 2010. Their mission is to lead a culturally diverse collective of local artists to provide a quality, accessible, and affordable theatre arts experience for the community, by the community. BTC is incorporated with the State of Connecticut and is a pending 501(c)3 non-profit status organization. Please visit to make a donation, buy a ticket and … be part of it!



  1. Too bad the city and bpa didn’t dial “O” for O’Malley before this thing got out of hand.

    I must disagree with his appraisal that Coastline site is off the table. Also what is the Ferry Terminal value if BPJFC moves out of town? Look up the much-ballyhooed Master Plan on the definition of a MUWD. How long are we going to have to wait for downtown to ever be this viable entity we have been hearing and dreaming about for years? And why should the Ferry Company be this white horse for a white elephant? And furthering these thoughts is if the Ferry Company is such an economic engine then what happens to downtown when Steal Point becomes a reality?

    How’s that LDA coming for Seaview Plaza? If I’m Tate George and Simon Konover, I want the Ferry company on my side of the street. Otherwise this project will be called Taint George.

    Maybe we should call in “the Moses of His People” to come and part the harbor. Clearly the water-taxi king, Don Clemons, must have taken a trip out of town in a yellow taxi.

  2. Right now I could give a damn if Newton & Ganim run again for office. Newton probably will run and will get elected because the people in his district vote for the same candidates no matter what and no matter how little they do for them.
    Ganim should stay in Easton and enjoy his family he has already missed a lot of his kids growing up.
    Can someone tell me how the mayor and the labor relations department can be on vacation when we still have a deficit and we still have not met with many of the unions?
    Do the mayor, labor relations and the council realize they are playing with peoples lives? WE have employees and their families who every day wonder if they will have a job when this travesty is finally finished. Damn it no one should be on vacation until this deficit is closed. I say this even though I know the above-mentioned council, mayor and labor relations are totally unqualified to lead this city and solve this manufactured deficit. I know some if not all these budgets that were submitted and approved by this farce called the budget committee are inflated budgets. Before this bullshit is over Finch and company are going to say they now have managed to have a Surplus. This whole process is a set-up to screw the employees and make Finch look good in the voters’ eyes.

  3. Lennie, I agree with your assessment of the political future of Ernie Newton but I think you left something out. What is the fast track for Ernie to get back into the mix, challenge State Senator Ed Gomes for Ernie’s old seat back or challenge State Representative Don Clemons for the seat Ernie had before? The senate seat is a much bigger district with more votes to get than the state representative district.

    1. I believe the Senator has made more enemies than the State Rep., but there would be more candidates for that seat (Senate) if Ernie announced. I actually believe he would be better for Bridgeport in a municipal seat. It’s about time we get some real “LOCALS” making decisions for us.

    2. It’s nice to see ERNIE back in BPT and Lennie like it or not we’ve no Leadership since he’s been gone. One thing he has is the common touch with people and the people he served while on the city council as the first Black to ever hold that position in our city. As a state Rep and Senator, he never forgot who he represented; and more people in this city and in his district are waiting to see what he’s going to do. Mr. Newton truly represents his district.

  4. How about some positive Bridgeport bloggin’ or shall I say webzining, Lennie?


    Feeling ‘cocked?’ Go to the Beardsley Zoo and see my cocks.
    For 10 years I lived with and observed the Peacocks at the Zoo. I remember the winters when in freezing weather the Peacocks all full of ice would just look at me when I walked by. They reminded me of politicians when they spread their tail and showed their true colors.


  5. From the CT Post
    BRIDGEPORT — An unidentified city employee has filed a sexual harassment complaint against City Council member Richard Paoletto, who also serves as acting deputy director of the city’s Housing and Commercial Code Enforcement Department.

    Now this can’t be good …

  6. “I’m not being suspended,” he [Paoleto] said. “I have a hearing next week” before the city’s Labor Relations Department.
    Would that be a hearing before City Council President Tom McCarthy?
    And when does Rich Paoleto go on trial before the City Council???
    Would that be right before or right after Evette Brantley and Angel dePara???

    1. Something smells very bad here. The city’s policy in a sexual harassment complaint (whether substantiated or not) is to put the supposed harasser on a paid leave of absence while Labor Relations investigates the charges. Buckley in P&Z was suspended with pay immediately. This smells of preferential treatment. Too bad there’s no one in charge to enforce the policy. They’re all on vacation. There’s more to this story and it’s going to get very ugly. Another black eye for Bpt and the city council.

      1. City Hall rumor mill is the “unidentified city employee” works for Warren Blunt, another member of the city council. Some of Warren’s employees were witness to the harassment. Yes it is going to get very ugly.

  7. 12 New Haven aldermen call for tax assessor to resign
    Published: Friday, July 16, 2010

    NEW HAVEN — A group of aldermen is calling for the resignation of embattled Assessor Bill O’Brien, who has come under fire in recent months for widespread assessment hikes and alleged unprofessional service by his office.

    A letter signed by 12 aldermen and calling for his immediate removal from office was delivered to City Hall late Friday afternoon by an aide for Alderman Michael Smart, D-8.

    The letter says: “After much review and deliberation, we have no confidence whatsoever in Mr. O’Brien’s ability to discharge his duties in a straightforward, professional and equitable manner.”

    Now why couldn’t Bpt’s City Council do something positive like this??? Instead New Haven will can him and Bpt will bring him back. OIB!!!

  8. Any news on the Public Facilities Acting District supervisor of Operations who allegedly is in jail for attempted murder? Boy did the city put a lid on this in a hurry! Just another example of the fine leadership and judgment within the system. Just look who took his place and his past history! It never ends just gets worse!

    1. The city did not put a lid on it. The CT Post decided not to print the story because it didn’t involve a city elected official; there was other news to follow; and like Lennie, they felt it wasn’t “juicy” enough.

      1. Joel, this is the first I’m hearing about the Public Facilities super. Regarding Paoletto, I’m hesitant to write about sexual harassment complaints until the city takes formal action. Complaints are serious, but I’ve also seen people falsely accused. Several readers brought the Paoletto accusation to my attention. I checked on it and was told the process is ongoing. Paoletto has issued a statement to the Post about it. We’ll see what happens. The Paoletto accusation adds a different wrinkle because he’s a City Council member and the City Council President Tom McCarthy works in Labor Relations. I would expect McCarthy to recuse himself from the process. We’ll see how this plays out during the week.

        1. If McCarthy recuses himself, then who handles the investigation? Fellow DTC member Larry Osborne? Smoker was right in his earlier post. The policy is to suspend with pay while the investigation is being conducted. Why didn’t McCarthy and Osborne follow policy? This isn’t the first time a politically connected supervisor was allowed to harass (allegedly) a female employee and get away with it on Osborne’s watch.

        2. You need to read more of our OIB posts, Lennie:
          Joel Gonzalez // June 2,2010
          “There is more “gOssIB” a Bridgeport City Employee Supervisor was allegedly arrested and charged with attempted murder; home invasion; and assaulting Police Officers. Motive was allegedly a love triangle in which the city employee stabbed his girlfriend’s lover. A Triangle has three sides, If you ever catch your sweetie in bed with another man, first consider having a threesome.”

          It’s good to be hesitant in your way. The CT Post reporters could learn something from you. I question how a reporter can get information as to who the complaint is against and not who made the complaint, yet only know it is a city employee. Already everyone assumes what happened is indeed a case of sexual harassment and nothing else; Rich should get suspended; the accuser won’t get a fair hearing.
          If what happened was consensual, would both be suspended–not just Rich Paoletto? They are both city employees.
          This also puts Rich in a bad spot. Labor Relations and the administration may never give Rich the benefit of the doubt for fear of being accused of a cover-up or biased in their ruling.

          1. Rich and Public Facilities Supervisor charged with attempted murder allegedly shared one thing in common–Rich’s Accuser. She carried on very public relationships with both men. And, she is not without her “connections.” She has many drinking buddies within the administration. Wonder who her next victim will be?

  9. I won’t venture a comment regarding the charges against Paoletto. I will say this is the second city manager who has been charged with sexual harassment. The first was Buckey and he was suspended for 45 days.
    I know this is going to sound dumb but it’s time for the city to look into having professionally run classes on sexual harassment. They should also be holding management training classes for their department managers and for all appointees.
    I worked at a fortune 500 company and once a year all employees (40,000-plus) received sexual harassment training.
    This administration and others before it always had money to hire political assholes but never money to train its employees and managers. It’s time it started.

  10. Hector while that is true there is a cost but what is the cost for a sexual harassment suit? What is the cost of a grievance filed by an employee because a manager did not react properly? There are always cost factors associated with this type training or for that matter any type of training. The benefits of such training will save you money in the long run.
    There always seems to be money available when a select few of the district leaders want jobs for their friends.
    Using the cost excuse by the city is just plain bullshit and anybody that buys that argument needs a checkup from the neck up.

  11. What about Dennis Murphy for sexual harassment training?
    He is an attorney. He is the former head of Labor Relations. And it would probably be more cost-beneficial to the tax payers than whatever it is he is supposedly doing now.
    And he could put a different twist on the subject; if you get my drift!!!

  12. Hey, Another Unperson. I heard the same thing about that love/hate triangle this weekend.
    Pretty ugly …
    Guaranteed it will get uglier.
    Fortunately, the city of B-port has a pretty big broom to sweep all of this under the proverbial rug.

  13. Bridgeport police probing three Saturday-morning murders.

    Murder rate climbing. City Fire Dept unable to handle two fires at the same time.

    And the Finch Administration is talking laying off police and fire???

    Finch may not make it to the the promised land in Hartford!

  14. Sexual Harassment is common in City Hall Annex. Some people don’t get getting too touchy-feely or making it a hostile work place is sexual harassment.
    Also this:
    No debate translates to no vote
    By Dick Ahles
    Publication: The Day

    Published 07/18/2010 12:00 AM Updated 07/18/2010 04:11 AM
    It was rather cheesy of Ned Lamont to lift the old Lowell Weicker slogan, “Nobody’s man but yours,” for his campaign for governor and now, by refusing to debate his opponent, he’s looking more like nobody’s man but his.

    Lamont is the Greenwich millionaire whose inherited fortune has made him the front runner for the Democratic nomination, which will be decided in a primary on Aug. 10. Do not confuse him with Tom Foley, the Greenwich millionaire whose inherited fortune has made him the front runner for the Republican nomination, which will also be decided in a primary on Aug. 10. Diversity isn’t exactly the name of the game in the Connecticut gubernatorial race.

    Having sorted out our Greenwich millionaires, let us return to picking on Lamont, who pulled out of the live, television debate scheduled in New London July 27, two weeks before the primary. A Republican debate the next day is still on. The sponsors of both events are this newspaper and WTNH-TV Channel 8.

    In ducking the debate, Lamont has denied Democratic voters their best opportunity to compare and choose between him and former Stamford Mayor Dan Malloy in what is surely our most important gubernatorial election in 20 years.

    He also revived memories of his own unsuccessful attempts to get Joe Lieberman to debate him and the criticism Lieberman received for being a chicken before he defeated Lamont for U.S. senator six years ago.

    This time, Lamont’s playing the poultry, lamely claiming he’d rather spend the time talking directly to the voters on the campaign trail, his way of saying he prefers talking directly to the voters without fear of contradiction in television ads.

    Why risk looking dumb in an hour-long TV debate when your millions allow you to look like nobody’s man but ours in your very own 30-second spots?

    Spots by Lamont and Foley have so dominated the campaigns for governor that pre-primary debates are a must if the electorate is to learn anything useful.

    Fortunately, Republican front runner Foley can’t pull Lamont’s stunt because he has two opponents and the sponsors of the Republican debate July 28 would probably feel obliged to hold it even without him if he too opted to play it safe. So, we’re assured of at least a Republican gubernatorial debate that will give that party’s voters a chance to see how Foley stands up to Lt. Gov. Mike Fedele and businessman Oz Griebel.

    As a registered Democrat, I have to choose between Malloy, who has 14 years’ experience running the only prosperous Connecticut city, and Lamont, who has his failed effort against Lieberman to his credit but hasn’t run successfully for anything but selectman. I still await evidence that either of them can stand up to public employee unions or handle a Democratic legislature that has acted so irresponsibly in the recent past.

    Nevertheless, on Aug. 10, I expect to vote for Malloy and then see what develops in the general election campaign.

    Had there been a debate, nobody’s man but yours may have convinced me that he was more deserving of my primary vote. Now, we’ll never know.


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