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Kiss, Don’t Tell, Plus: Zoning Regs, Diocese Docs And Chatting With Fedele

December 1st, 2009 · 20 Comments · City Council, City Politics, Development and Zoning, Education, News and Events

Afternoon Update: Sometimes in the dizzy world of Bridgeport politics, it’s the person who delivers the oath of office that matters.

A whole bunch of city pols–City Council members, Board of Education as well and city sheriffs–will receive the oath of office tonight in City Hall. I took a peek at the lineup. State Rep. Auden Grogins, the blonde banshee from Black Rock, is scheduled to swear in her former partner on the City Council Pat Crossin who’ll be taking a seat on the BOE. I see that Judge of Probate Paul Ganim will deliver the oath to City Councilman Carlos Silva.

But the one that intrigues the most is Democratic Vice Chair Dottie Guman delivering the oath to all elected officials of the 131st District including sheriff and District Leader Mitch Robles and City Council member Leticia Colon who’ll be leaving her legislative seat for a spot on the BOE.

The nine-member BOE will conduct its organizational meeting on Dec. 14 to select officers. Mayor Bill Finch would like to see ally Leticia as president controlling the BOE’s budget which makes up roughly one third of the city’s nearly $500 million spending item. Nice to have a friend in that position.

Hizzoner and his political benefactor Dottie, the Mother Goose of the party, haven’t been best of buds over a variety of issues since the mayor took office two years ago. Mitch is a power player in city politics. Did he reach out to Mother Goose to deliver the oath to his entire district because he wants to send a message to the mayor? Or did he reach out because he wants to schmooze her support for Colon as BOE president?

One can never really tell.

News release from Mayor Finch

Mayor Finch Hails Passage of New Zoning Rules, Map

Mayor Bill Finch today hailed the passage of the City’s regulations and map as a huge step in moving development forward in the City.

“This represents a lot of hard work on the part of many City staffers and volunteer board members to get the Zoning Map and regulations approved. The new map, coupled with our approved Master Plan of Development will enable us to attract investors, businesses and new residents who will be appreciative of the work we’ve done to move Bridgeport into the 21st century,” said Mayor Bill Finch. The Mayor also thanked all Bridgeport residents for their valued input into the process through their attendance at public hearings.

“Bridgeport, because of its location at the nexus of rail, bus, ferry, train and two major highways, is poised to take advantage of the next wave of development that is mainly transit-oriented, and less dependent on the automobile. We are encouraged by the trends we see in the marketplace, and the interest of investors in the City of Bridgeport,” said Mayor Finch.

More than four years ago, the Urban Land Institute, after a comprehensive review of the City’s development standards and zoning regulations, issued a report detailing the need for a comprehensive overhaul of the City’s zoning regulations and Master Plan. A consulting firm was hired to update the Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy and the Master Plan, visionary documents that provide the framework for development both downtown and throughout the City. The Master Plan addresses the six pillars of development – downtown, jobs, neighborhoods, education, infrastructure and environment. The Zoning Map and regulations provide the enforcement tool for the concepts that are incorporated into the Master Plan.

The new Zoning Map and regulations will go into effect in January 2010.

Documents Genuflect

So after years of lawyers stalling, stonewalling, legal arguments, motions to dismiss, appeals, more appeals, millions in flock contributions and excuses, could it be we’ll finally see 12,000 pages of documents addressing man-of-the-cloth abuses against children, for decades, under the leadership of Bishops Walter Curtis and Edward Egan?

“The diocese intends to comply with the court order regarding the release of the documents,” says Joseph McAleer, the spokesman for Roman Catholic Diocese of Bridgeport.

The diocese paid roughly $30 million in settlements to keep the allegations under the sheets until several Connecticut newspapers said hold on a minute, what gives?

McAleer says the documents, scheduled for release today, amount to old news. Really? Then why block it for seven years? From The Hartford Courant. For more www.courant.com

“Claims are claims. Allegations are allegations.”

Those six words uttered by retired Cardinal Edward M. Egan during two depositions neatly sum up his approach to handling the burgeoning priest sexual abuse scandal that he inherited when he took over the Roman Catholic Diocese of Bridgeport, Connecticut in the late 1980s.

In 448-pages of depositions that Egan was forced to give as part of 23 lawsuits against seven priests that eventually were settled, the Bishop showed little compassion for the alleged victims and instead argued with attorneys that only a “remarkably small number” of priests have ever been accused of wrongdoing.

“These things (sexual abuse complaints) happen in such small numbers. It’s marvelous when you think of the hundreds and hundreds of priests and how very few have ever been accused, and how very few have even come close to having anyone prove anything,” Egan said.

“Claims are one thing. One does not take every claim against a human being as a proved misdeed. I’m interested in proved misdeeds.”

Egan’s depositions taken in 1997 and 1999 were supposed to remain sealed forever when the diocese settled the cases in 2001. The Courant obtained copies of them in 2002 and published several stories about them. But on Tuesday for the first time the documents were made available to the public after a seven-year court battle by the Bridgeport Diocese to keep them secret.

Egan’s depositions are among 12,600 pages of documents released Tuesday including personnel files of well-known pedophile priests such as Laurence Brett, who the Courant tracked down in 2002 living in St. Marteens while still being paid a stipend by the church, and Raymond Pcolka. The documents also contain depositions from the hierarchy of the diocese, including Egan’s predecessor Walter Curtis, who not only acknowledged keeping secret files on priests but also that he deliberately destroyed alleged complaints of sexual abuse against some of them because the complaints were “antiquated.”

A Chat With Michael Fedele

Our friends from www.doingitlocal.com caught up to Lieutenant Governor Michael Fedele regarding his gubernatorial plans. See here: doingitlocal.com/video/gallery/LT-Gov-Fedele-Makes-It-Official.

I Was Worried

Thank goodness. For a second there I thought Yahooy and Anna might be caught up in this mess. Whew! From the Connecticut Post:

MILFORD – Two Bridgeport women will be arraigned Dec. 15 on prostitution charges after they were caught up in a prostitution sting operation using ads on craigslist.com, according to police.

The women were arrested in separate incidents Friday night at the Mayflower Motel on Woodmont Road.

Charlie Says …

The Gallery at Black Rock is proud to present Charlie Walsh 2.0, a first Anniversary Celebration.

Charlie Walsh will show a new group of works on paper at The Galleries First Anniversary celebration on December 3rd 2009. An Opening Reception will be held from 6pm until 9 pm on that day.

Charlie’s drawings and watercolor/pastel work celebrate the banal and the bizarre aspects of daily life, using a style uniquely his own, Walsh infuses elements of cubism and surrealism with a pared down graphic sensibility.

The mostly pen and ink drawings seem to highlight the odd and often comical way the artist perceives life. The artist will display never before seen work much of which has been done in the past year.

The Gallery at Black Rock is celebrating its first Anniversary by coming full circle with an exhibit featuring our premiere showing artist. Eileen Walsh Gallery owner admits to being highly partial to Walsh’s work being that he is her father. “The public really responded well to his work last year and I think the new work is going to be even more exciting. It has been a wonderful and event filled year in the Gallery and I can’t think of a better way to celebrate than this” said Ms. Walsh.

The Show will run concurrent to a holiday artisan gift boutique at the gallery. All work will be available to bring home for holiday gifts.

The opening reception for Charlie Walsh 2.0 will be Thursday December 3rd from 6 until 9 pm. The work and giftware will be on display at the gallery until January 7th 2010.

**Don’t Forget Bridgeport’s Holiday Gift Trail

Anniversary blog: blackrockart.wordpress.com/

Charlie Walsh

Charlie Walsh

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20 Comments so far ↓

  • town committee

    Well tonight we swear in the same old faces to do the same old bad job that most of them have been doing for years. Yes there will be new faces in a few spots but many of these new faces are just retreads from previous years.
    I attended the circus they call the planning and zoning meeting and the assault on the zoning in the upper east side continues.
    Last night these handpicked Finch puppets voted to change the zoning designation on 2 residential properties that had been zoned for 1 family homes to a zone that will allow the construction of two, 3-story, 3-family dwellings.
    The presentation was made by everyone’s favorite zoning lawyer Ray Rizio. You remember him he got the zoning board to pass a medical building and change the zone in the north end and lo and behold an apartment house was built.
    The only politician there to speak for the neighborhood was Chris Caruso. After promising to be there in defense of the neighborhood neither alderman showed up and spoke. Curious???
    So in addition to a Jehovah Witness church that was passed 2 years ago and has yet to be acted on except to strip the land and vandalize the 2 vacant house still on the property. In addition to the upcoming JAIL that the governor wants to build here we have three 3-story apartment houses in an area dominated with 1-story 1-family dwellings.
    I spoke at this meeting and while speaking it dawned on me that I was speaking to a group that just did not give a damn, these dolts were not even paying attention. This is pure utter bullshit.

    • BARF

      … and nothing is ever solved here either. Some folks read, comment; but attention spans are short! There are few venues for discussion these days, and fewer people who care … unfortunately.

  • yahooy

    Anna can’t afford the Mayflower rates especially at her established rates.

  • Grin Ripper

    Yahooy likes the full room and board tariff served up at the Mayflower Inn in Washington, CT. No Milford Mayflower Madams for him. Anna must be on yahooy’s shit list not craigslist. It’s a nice day for some Franz Liszt.

    • anna

      And yahooy is still an apologist for those pedophile protectors.

      • yahooy

        I put up with a lot of your nonsense because you are amusing. But when you associate my name in the same sentence as a pedophile, you have crossed a very broad line. Go fuck yourself.

        Grimaldi … if that comment from Anna stays published you have heard the last of me.

        • Mojo

          *** Please leave the comment ’cause everyone that blogs on OIB knows yahooy isn’t going anywhere! He feels like a blog superstar with the attention he gets, good or bad. *** Forgetaboutit! ***

  • Mojo

    *** Special appearances tonight @ the City Hall Chambers by the past & present “Circus of Clowns”. *** Guaranteed to be a “sell-out” as usual. *** Forgetaboutit ***

  • Local Eyes

    It keeps getting closer to home.

    Wrong town, right idea … thinkaboutit …

    newcanaan.patch.com <–

  • Grin Ripper

    Dottie Guman and Mitch Robles?

    Mother Goose and Omar Sheriff? Now that’s a real switch.
    I guess you could call this a Grin’s Fairy Tale!

  • Bridgeport Now

    “Bridgeport Now” tonight at 8pm on Ch 88. On internet at soundviewtv.org.

    News, then
    8 to 8:30 – Ellsworth Park Expansion Controversy.
    8:30 to 9pm – Obama War Escalation / Nobel Peace Prize call-in feedback

    Ellsworth Park Expansion and controversy …
    Some say that there has not been enough investigation and consultation with the community to move forward yet. At a recent hearing on Nov 12, many residents voiced concerns about unresolved traffic and parking issues, safety, new proposed night lights, and most were upset with the proposed public bathroom and its location.

    No surprise that people are paying attention to our local parks. After all, this is called “Park City” and any changes should not be taken lightly.

    Some questions … Is it a done deal that the bathroom building will be built already? It was originally priced at $250,000 and 40 x 40 feet. Current proposed location is right at the eyesore location at the main entrance.

    Where exactly? Search on Google for these words:
    “ellsworth park bathroom” and you will see a short video someone put up there showing the planned location. Some say, if you’re going to build it, do so instead at the edge next to the fence. Others don’t want any bathroom at all. I never had one when I played little league.

    Is this the onset of a citywide plan to build public bathrooms in our city parks? What policy exists for public bathrooms, PZC, Master Plan issues. The Master Plan does indicate that neighborhoods should be protected and preserved.

    Will the public bathroom be open during the day and only during youth sports season? Will our overstretched and busy cops patrol?

    What about the Historic Brewster Street District. The oldest house in the city is on this street, built around 1680. Should there be some aesthetic issues addressed?

    Regarding design, was this a no-bid contract, the design, or was there an RFP? At the hearing someone said it was not clear what the proposed building actually was going to look like, anyway, just a dark brown structure. The building, btw, as proposed is half storage and provide one boys and one girls bathroom.

    What do you think? We will open phone lines soon after 8pm.

  • The Bridgeport Kid

    Anyone read the editorial page of the Connecticut Post? It’s an informative place. This morning an editorial written by one Donna Fewell, president of the P.T Barnum Residents’ Association, was published. It was an informative piece. “On Friday, Nov. 20, amidst great fanfare, a task force was appointed to explore the causes of the recent fire at PT Barnum Apartments,” Ms. Fewell wrote. “This task force included politicians, fire officials and housing authority representatives anxious for photo ops, but did not include the one group most directly affected — the PT Barnum residents.

    “On Nov. 24, the PT Barnum Residents Association met at the Gary Crooks Community Center at PT, for the purpose of forming a “Shadow Task Force” composed of residents and community leaders. As president of the residents association, I attempted to bring together people who did not have any vested interest in protecting the system, but would go where the facts took them.

    “Among those agreeing to serve on the “Shadow Task Force” were: Ron Mackey, a retired firefighter and former president of the Firebirds Association; Ron Morales, a former firefighter and president of the International Association of Hispanic Firefighters; Craig Kelly, former president of the NAACP and a retired firefighter; and former state Rep. Bob Keeley. Together with the residents of PT Barnum, this “Shadow Task Force” will attend meetings of the mayor’s group, and will investigate the facts leading to this tragedy.

    “As our organizational meeting was under way on Nov. 24, we learned that Mayor Finch, and Fire Chief Brian Rooney, with the press in tow, began a door-to-door canvass of the apartments. Their public relations stunt did not make residents any safer nor was the nine-page document they handed out helpful. Their efforts did, however, have the effect of generating self-serving publicity, and giving the appearance of caring and concern.

    “Indeed, if the Fire Department was truly concerned about the residents’ safety, after discovering so many fire alarms that did not work, and that so many hazardous conditions existed, why did they not work around the clock to protect us, but rather state that they would continue on Monday or Tuesday of next week?

    “It is interesting that although the politicians took great effort to notify the press, no resident was informed that the mayor and his entourage would be stopping by. In addition, only the next day in the Connecticut Post did we learn that the mayor had corrected his oversight, and would invite residents to participate in the Task Force. At 3 p.m. on Tuesday, I received a phone call from the mayor’s office asking me to attend a meeting in his office at 11 a.m. on Monday, Nov. 30.

    “Our plan was to attend the meeting on Monday and present our concerns.

    “We ask the mayor to remember that as residents, we know the difference between politicians in search of a headline and public servants in search of a solution.”

    Thank you, Ms. Fewell. I’m yet to be convinced that Bob Keeley deserves to get his old job back. I am also fully convinced that Auden Grogins is not the right person to be representing the legislative district that I live in. I’m glad that Ms. Grogins “saved” the Beardsley Zoo from imminent closure. I’m also glad that she wrote a letter to Governor M. Jody Rell begging Ms. Rell to throw some jing toward the Discovery Museum. But I’m appalled that Ms. Grogins, who, along with Mayor Finch, would have the unmitigated chutzpa to exploit for political points the tragic event Ms. Fewell wrote about. “We are here for you,” Ms. Grogins declared in the scaly reptilian tones of a jades attorney. Oh, really? You are here for the poor folk that have the financial misfortune to call P.T. Barnum Apartments home? Where were you when the city’s housing authority accepted a flawed building design that cost a young woman and her three children their lives? How many more people living below the poverty line must be sacrificed to get the attention of our elected officials (don’t ever refer to them as leaders–how can they be described as leaders if they are only taking us in circles)?

    The biggest problem Bridgeport is facing is the corrupt one-party machine politics that dominates public life. Mario Testa is a rich, powerful man. He has a lot of influence over the affairs of this city. Why is he so powerful? Because he likes the game, likes the power, likes the sport of it all. The greater good never enters into it. Meanwhile, the people of the city suffer undue economic hardship because of the pay-to-play nature of the city’s bureaucracy. No one with any real money to invest and create jobs has the stomach or constitution to navigate the torrents of greed that flow through the halls of 999 Broad Street.

    • anna

      You do nothing but complain. Whine. Whine. Whine.

    • The Bridgeport Kid

      As I said, Bob Keeley may or may not be ripe for a return to the legislature. Maybe his time in the wilderness has done him some good. Maybe he’s had time to reflect upon the past, make an analysis of his past errors. MAYBE.

      The current bunch of legislators (Representative Chris Caruso notably excepted) are motivated by self service, plain and simple. Not “What’s in it for me?” as much as “I have a personal agenda and objective and this gig is going to help further my goals.” Window dressing just don’t cut it. Wrote to the governor, didja? Got her to loosen the state’s purse strings to “save” the zoo and the museum? Good for you. Now, will someone kindly explain how this will improve the lives of people living in subsidized housing, purchase groceries with EBT or WIC cards, and have their health care needs paid for by SAGA (one of the lousiest publicly subsidized health care plans on earth)? How are the zoo and a goddamned museum going to provide employment opportunities for young folks coming out of an educational system that has a 73% dropout rate?

      Are any of these clowns in expensive business suits paying attention to the REAL problems facing Bridgeport’s perpetually downtrodden citizens, or are they so secure in the knowledge that Mario Testa’s corrupt political machine will maintain the job in Hartford that they just don’t give a shit about the rest of us?

  • Grin Reaper

    Hey Lennie,
    This must go back to you and Joey G. and Clarence.
    Was Joe Kasper the architect of this fine design?
    I’m pretty sure he did the new construction up at the terrace.
    We know Joe knew how to cut corners in the good old daze.

    • yahooy

      Yeah … that’s right! Kasper (I’ll give you a buck a foot, Joe, but I gotta design it my way) was the architect. I wonder how he feels now?

      Yeah … Ganim was a GREAT mayor. The irony of the Bridgeport election process is that the apathetic Bridgeport voters would put this guy back in office.

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