Community watchdog John Marshall Lee has a wave of questions regarding operations of the Bridgeport Port Authority including the lack of appointments to the board of directors.
Who is feeling “shy” at this waterfront moment? What else is ongoing but unsaid by those interested in Port development? Why is there no reference to other harbor front activity? Did anyone see the submission deadline for “Bridgeport Harbor Shipyard” issued on St Patrick’s Day but with a deadline of this Wednesday, May 17, 2017? (It’s for a 15.8 acre portion of 837 Seaview Avenue at least part of which we think of as formerly Derecktor.)
Of importance is: “The selected developer shall propose a project that offers positive economic impact to the Bridgeport Port Authority and the City of Bridgeport, with an emphasis on water-dependent usage, job creation, and property tax generation …” And where is the City Hall announcement concerning more than 25 acres, the balance of the site? Has there been a recent exchange of money and paper? Details?
Why does the RFP originate from Thomas Gill, who is one of three current Port Authority members, since there are two citizen vacancies, rather than from the Bridgeport Port Authority director? Why wasn’t this put out by Ms. Gina Malheiro, Executive Director of the Bridgeport Port Authority? At what meeting of the Bridgeport Port Authority was an authorization for this RFP discussed and voted upon? Last week was only the second meeting of the Port Authority since last summer when everyone was waiting for an announcement about a major food store for the East End. Wasn’t there a deadline as a qualification in a then-agreement regarding port property?
Why has Mayor Ganim ignored appointment of qualified, independent Bridgeport residents to the Port Authority in his 18 months of office? Has there been a sale already of part of said property for a rumored $2.6 Million? Who provided authority? Why has the City Finance office kept records on the Port Authority for years but refuses to provide them at current meetings? How is all of this going to look as it unfolds relative to MAYOR Joe Ganim’s gubernatorial chances? Where is there a Sheriff around a situation like this where community value is supposed to be maintained by a community body (like the Port Authority) but the Mayor fails to appoint, and City offices fail to provide requested data? Are appraisals for property values on which agreements are based current and reflect highest and best uses?
So many questions abound that perhaps you could float an aircraft carrier on the issues raised. However, might it get stuck in our harbor these days for want of dredging? If retail selling will be dead in 10 years as discussed nationally within the past week, is our development intended to be a last gasp, after waiting all these years? If we are not looking for the type of industry and jobs with no other siting potential, what are we settling for as a community? Who is speaking for our City? And why are they not sharing all of the numbers with the community before deals are acted upon? Who is managing the puppet show at City Hall? Time will tell.