Remarks by city government observer John Marshall Lee who addressed the City Council Monday night:
I am looking for FAIR in Bridgeport tonight and I come to you as a last resort. Do we need to call on the State or Federal government for assistance? Where is the FAIR in the Housing Commission in Bridgeport? Where is the FAIR in the Rent Board in Bridgeport? Largest City in the State by population, which is the fact by number of residents, but without a FAIR Housing or FAIR Rent group to listen to residents who have questions, problems, issues, or concerns. And more renters than in most cities or towns. With constituents from throughout the City going to New Haven or other towns and being asked by those communities WHY?
As one duty among his authorized powers, the Bridgeport Mayor is tasked with appointing resident voters to limited terms with an expiry date on Boards and Commissions and persons so appointed and approved by the Council serve until replaced. What you know but have done nothing publicly about for too many years, is that without nominees to the bodies, all terms expire, and groups do too. No nominee replacements. All expired. Groups die in place. Nobody buries them!!
Failures of Finch, Fabrizi and now Ganim for recent six years to provide timely nominations leaves many vacancies, as well as persons serving expired terms … maybe, but does CC provide oversight or feedback? As I look back on much of the past 15 years, I note that political appointees have been assigned to work on the task of finding board replacements. First, a former City Council member, Angel DePara and subsequently Constance Vickers, members in good standing with the DTC have addressed the appointment subject.
But the work is never completed. No public discussion occurs. The CC appears deaf to my 2022 observations as I get no feedback that I can quote. I am working with Council members downtown on HUD housing issues of discrimination and intimidation that is illegal and being reported to HUD in Boston. People who are harassed because of the color of their skin have nowhere to turn WITHIN THE CITY because of the City failure to support Civil Rights and Fair Housing laws.
How fast can you get FAIR back into Bridgeport Boards and Commissions? Or must we live another 15 years without citizen representation and hypocritically claim on our City website that all is FAIR and in order? Time will tell.