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Library Battle Takes Center Stage In Tuesday’s Vote

November 6th, 2017 · 56 Comments · Analysis and Comment, City Budget, City Council, City Politics, Library, News and Events

ballot question 2017

Here we go, the 2017 municipal election is one day away with a library funding question that some are embracing and others are throwing a book at; as well as candidates for Board of Education, city sheriff and City Council.

The ballot question is located at the top above the candidates in both English and Spanish. “Shall a one thirty hundredths (1.30) mill tax be levied to operate a free public library and reading room?”

The question has become a major battleground advanced by library supporters after the 2015 revaluation altered the value of 1 mil that finances library operations following a voter-approved referendum in 2009. Library supporters argue the question merely seeks status quo funding level prior to the revaluation. City officials opposed to the question assert it’s a luxury taxpayers cannot afford in light of the recently passed state budget that cut roughly $13 million in funding city finance officials had anticipated when the local budget was approved by the City Council in the spring for the budget year that began July 1. If approved by voters, however, the library expenditure would start for the budget year beginning July 1, 2018.

Reminder to voters in the North End 133rd District. Electors in the district will go to the polls on Tuesday solely to vote in the Board of Education and city sheriff elections. District Democrats will vote once again in the City Council primary a week later and then all district electors in the general election Dec. 12. All four Democrats who competed in the September 12 primary will do so again Nov. 14: Bob Keeley and Anne Pappas Phillips versus party-endorsed Jeanette Herron and Michael DeFilippo. The top two finishers among the four on Nov. 14 will face Republicans Michele Minutolo and Neville De la Rosa Dec. 12.

Superior Court Judge Barbara Bellis sided in favor of a proposed agreement by parties to schedule a new Democratic primary for City Council in the 133rd District on Nov. 14 with a general election for the district Dec. 12 after ruling an irregularity involving an absentee ballot required a new vote. Keeley challenged the primary results after a previously uncounted absentee ballot found its way into a recount giving incumbent Jeanette Herron a 1-vote lead.

To view district ballots click here and scroll to Bridgeport ballot icon.

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56 Comments so far ↓

  • Local Eyes

    M.U.S.T. = Municipal Unity to Stop Taxation. M.U.S.T. urges all Bridgeport voters to vote NO on the upcoming Library Referendum.
    Here’s why:
    Bridgeport libraries are in fine shape and are operating at a surplus.
    Referendum backers are politically motivated.
    A NO vote puts downward pressure on tax rates.

    Bridgeport might have a few problems but our libraries are fine.

    Vote NO

    • The Bridgeport Kid

      This from someone that diesn’t even live in Bridgeport. What’s the matter, Local Eyes, tired of listening to the grass grow?

    • Joel Gonzalez

      I Live in Bridgeport.

      M.U.S.T. = Municipal Unity to Stop Taxation. M.U.S.T. urges all Bridgeport voters to vote NO on the upcoming Library Referendum.
      Here’s why:
      Bridgeport libraries are in fine shape and are operating at a surplus.
      Referendum backers are politically motivated.
      A NO vote puts downward pressure on tax rates.

      Bridgeport might have a few problems but our libraries are just fine.

      Vote NO

    • Joel Gonzalez

      LENNIE I TAKE IT THAT ON DECEMBER 5, 2017, THE 133rd DISTRICT WILL ALSO BE VOTING ON THE BPL REFERENDUM QUESTION.
      WHAT’S YOUR TAKE?

      “Reminder to voters in the North End 133rd District. Electors in the district will go to the polls on Tuesday solely to vote in the Board of Education and city sheriff elections. District Democrats will vote once again in the City Council primary a week later and then all district electors in the general election Dec. 5. All four Democrats who competed in the September 12 primary will do so again Nov. 14: Bob Keeley and Anne Pappas Phillips versus party-endorsed Jeanette Herron and Michael DeFilippo. The top two finishers among the four on Nov. 14 will face Republicans Michele Minutolo and Neville De la Rosa Dec. 5.”

  • John Marshall Lee

    Lennie,
    Do I count two people on OIB who are against people voting YES on Tuesday. Local Eyes and Joel GONZALEZ?

    Real cutting happens when those in office get serious. That has not been our fate in recent years where the elected officials believe that what gets spent in the dark, stays in the dark. Or more factually, what gets spent when the City Council goes out of town for meetings is a benefit to taxpayers. And how is that working out?

    Joel, just how is it policical for a 30 year resident of Bridgeport to get interested in fiscal matters a few years back and become partially informed about money, asking questions, and expecting answers from those who are paid and/or elected to represent me? I had a swing at political but have settled back down into questions for two years. But isn’t your defense political then also? And why are you stopping with the Library being the one thing you would cut.

    SINCE IT HAS NOT BEEN CLEARLY SAID ON THESE SEVERAL POSTS, THE LIBRARY REFERENDUM DOES NOT AFFECT THE CURRENT BUDGET 2017-18 THROUGH JUNE 30-2018, BUT WOULD GO INTO EFFECT FOR THE 2018-19 BUDGET WHEN THE NEW CC WILL BE SEATED.

    For Paul (local eyes) to say that City libraries are operating with a surplus is to point out that the fiscal planners for Library budgets know that a building campaign for two or three libraries on the eastern side of the City has been advanced for several years. Budgets contemplate such plans and place money in them to be available when needed. Prudent? Yes if you are serious about making Library locations in Eastern Bridgeport comparable to Downtown, west end/Black Rock, and North Bridgeport. They have not been comparable for years now and Ganim2 has not advanced the causes of Education or Libraries in his Executive budgets as priorities while increasing Police and City Attorney among others. What is really going on? Time will tell.

    • The Bridgeport Kid

      Joel has a man crush on Joe. He’s trying to strike up a bromance.

    • Joel Gonzalez

      Kid, how is your bromance with Rick Torres going?

    • Joel Gonzalez

      From JML:

      “SINCE IT HAS NOT BEEN CLEARLY SAID ON THESE SEVERAL POSTS, THE LIBRARY REFERENDUM DOES NOT AFFECT THE CURRENT BUDGET 2017-18 THROUGH JUNE 30-2018, BUT WOULD GO INTO EFFECT FOR THE 2018-19 BUDGET WHEN THE NEW CC WILL BE SEATED.”

      BINGO! Why would anyone prematurely, circulate, sign, and then HIDE FROM VOTERS the petitions for BPL referendum? Because, it’s expected to be a low turn out election, little excitment generated by BOE, and City Council candidates. Library supporters join and team up with City Council and BOE candidates having the upper-hand, they hope for victory. They have not and will not report any joint committee or PAC activity.

      • The Bridgeport Kid

        Stop drinking the Kool Aid, Joel.

      • John Marshall Lee

        Integrity is never premature, Joel. Where are your words of chastisement for City Council Liaison not being alert to what happens at meetings of the Library leadership? Since when have you made a habit of raising financial issues, anyway? What has been your true motivation in fighting the referendum? You have not told us that in the many words you have posted on OIB.

        You have misrepresented the issue on multiple fronts and made certain accusations about my role which are totally inaccurate. You can have your opinion. I can have mine. But we must use the same facts to tell a fair story.

        There is no conspiracy of which I am aware. Joel, fantasy on your part, likely? I was present at a City Council meeting on September 5, 2017 to address the Council. It was on a Tuesday following Labor Day and it was likely at Johnson School as I have previously mentioned. Jim O’Donnell, chair of Library Committee was there, and offered me an opportunity to sign the petition, similar in intent to one I favored years ago that instituted the original 1%. I signed. Nothing further until October 23 when I asked Lennie on a post on OIB whether there were any questions on the ballot.

        Nothing more, Joel. Nada. For some reason you are ignoring the funding of library plans for eastern Bridgeport which the careful and frugal fiscal people on the Library Board have carefully set into their budget.

        Speaking of conspiracies, Joel, what powerful force has grabbed you where it’s uncomfortable and begun to squeeze you to make these allegations? Isn’t that the “secrecy” surrounding this fiscal matter? When will you tell us about this “grab” and “squeeze” that is forcing such vehemence from your customarily less shrill voice? Time will tell.

        • Joel Gonzalez

          “Speaking of conspiracies, Joel, what powerful force has grabbed you where it’s uncomfortable and begun to squeeze you to make these allegations?”

          The same “powerful force” that grabbed you and 55 other people to sign the petition–James E. O’Donnell

          • John Marshall Lee

            Integrity is what grabbed me, Joel. Are you saying that your opposition to the Library is based on your personal integrity? Are you a practitioner of Open, Accountable, Transparent and Honest routinely. It seems as if you have strayed from such a path. But you are not the only one Joel.
            Tonight I will use City fiscal results to ask elected officials to consider their behavior? Or not? Time will tell.

  • Local Eyes

    Not every lawyer can succeed in politics and not every blogger can sway a referendum.

  • John Marshall Lee

    LE,
    Not much to disagree with in your current post on its face, perhaps inscrutable to those who don’t take time to stretch and reflect their minds to figure your context.

    But you mentioned on a previous thread that Bridgeport libraries are fine as they are currently, or something similar, didn’t you? I wonder whether you have visited the sites on the eastern portion of Bridgeport with three potential locations. How are those library sites? Like the ones you may have visited downtown, North End or in Black Rock?? Contect is critical when people are offering opinions, with or without “winking”. Don’t you think? Time will tell.

    • Joel Gonzalez

      Time has told me plenty. It’s telling the story of what you and others were up to since September 6 and 7, 2017. JML or Mr. Time W. Tell, will you tell us of all instances in time where the BPL reported or announced the possibility of Library closing or cutting or hours and services. Any press release to OIB, not old ones (no pun intended), Ct post article, letter to city bean counters, etc. There is no left time to tell, election on Tuesday.

  • Local Eyes

    JMl, I’m not in the business of reviewing potential library sites. However, existing BPL sites are fantastic.

    • John Marshall Lee

      FOrget a third potential site in eastern Bridgeport. Let’s confine your review to the five existing BPL sites that would include Newfield and Old Mill Green. When was the most recent time you visited those two locations. Were the sites as “fantastic” as Main, North and Black Rock?? Or were those two sites fantastic as to the journey they must take to become equivalent with other parts of the community? Time will tell.

    • Joel Gonzalez

      If it ain’t broken, don’t fix it.

  • Frank Gyure

    I copy and pasted this from an OIB article,”Mayor,Public Safety Officials Demolish Blighted Properties.”
    From Mayor’s Office:

    Mayor Joseph Ganim joined the Bridgeport Fire Department and Police Chief Perez this week to knock down blighted properties in Bridgeport’s East and West Ends. The demolished properties were located on Lee Ave and Newfield Ave, a building a part of the Civic Block. The future developments on the Civic Block will be part of a $10 million project that will include a state-of-the-art library, a public park, a community based grocery store, affordable housing and retail space. Mayor Ganim and Police Chief AJ Perez have made it their goal to clean up the Civic Block as it eliminates an area known for high crime.
    If you read the quote from the OIB article put out from the Mayor’s Office,you will see that the new construction will include “A STATE OF THE ART LIBRARY.” A state-of-the art library costs money to build and maintain. However,if it comes to fruition,the people of the East Side will possess both a library and a community center and this will benefit the people of the East Side. Mayor Joe Ganim seems to be talking out of both sides of his mouth and he is unaware of the daily goings on in the city that he is supposed to be mayor. It looks like Mayor Ganim,Finance Director Ken Flatto and OPM head Nester Nkwo were caught by surprise by the Library referendum question to be voted on within 48 hours. Here,in this PR event and press release, Ganim and his team talk about “a state-of-the art- library” but yet Ganim does not want to support the financials means to accomplish the state-of-the-art.

    • Frank Gyure

      The above article that I referenced was posted on November 3rd on OIB.

      • John Marshall Lee

        The Mayor, like most of us has two ears, though perhaps a touch of deafness may be present at times? He uses his mouth to project messages much more frequently than he exhibits listening behavior in his frequent comments to the community. How has he been hearing the public service message from the Library daily to the community it serves?? Perhaps he lost his Library Card? What will Bridgeport voters tell City leaders on Tuesday? Will they listen to the message? Time will tell.

    • Joel Gonzalez

      Frank Gyure, stop doing the JML and tell us how did you know that there was a BPL library referendum? You’re doing volunteer or perhaps work for pay for the two Black Rock (D) candidates who signed the petition back in September. When did you find out and from who?

      • Frank Gyure

        Joel…my response to your delusional idea of some type of Black Rock conspiracy is already posted. It’s here on OIB. I know you like to stay up late so there is plenty of time for you to search and find.

  • Maria Pereira

    Mayor Ganim, Scinto, Lyons and Herron were featured on a WICC live Facebook feed yesterday morning where Ganim asked voters to vote against the question because it would raise taxes. He also mentioned that he “loved all our city departments,” but…

    We want and need the library proposed in the Thomas Hooker Precinct. Let’s unite in delivering a victory to our libraries!

    • Joel Gonzalez

      Ann Phillips and Keeley signed the petition, the library supporters are helping them.

      “Let’s unite in delivering a victory to our libraries!”

      Maria Pereira, they’ve been united since September, either you’re one of them working behind the scenes or they left you out.

      • The Bridgeport Kid

        Joel,

        You keep ranting “He signed the petition!” and “She signed the petition!” and prattling on about conspiracies. What gives, man? What kind of drug you been taking? 

        Public libraries improve the quality of life in the community. A library is not just a book repository. Here in .black Rock the library branch hosts holiday parties for children, after-school programs, continuing education for adults, film showings, etc. But you cannot appreciate that because you’re one of the most obtuse posters on this blog. Joe Ganim is spreading misinformation about this referendum, Chicken Little hyperbole that it will raise taxes. That’s just bullshit, complete and total bullshit. 

    • DC Faber

      The has been a proposed library site on East Main Street (sitting vacant for over 2 years)that would create a better library for the area of the 138. In a city like Bridgeport the libraries are more important, and making them robust and accessible to all should be a goal.

      • Maria Pereira

        Exactly, Dan.

        • Grin Ripper

          The old Fairway/Fitzwilly’s site on East Main Street has is a Golden Moldie that may become a tear down. The Old Mill Green Library property has been sold. The new landlord has offered space in his basement. Perhaps a temporary location could be the shopping center next to the Huntington Inn?

          • John Marshall Lee

            Lots of ideas. They all will need funding. Is there anyone other than Joel and LE who may feel that the eastern neighborhoods of Bridgeport are equally well served as are those where the Main, North and western neighborhoods are served? If they are broken or require rehab, let’s get it done. Time will tell.

  • Marshall Marcus

    The Bridgeport Kid chastised Local Eyes for daring to commnent as he lives outside Bridgeport.

    I may no secret about living in Trumbull. I am in Bridgeport every day and we own property and pay taxes to the city.

    Our Trumbull library is often busy with Bridgeport residents using the facilities and checking out books not available in Bridgeport. I have used the Bridgeport main library for genealogical research with material not available in Trumbull. I love the North End Branch on Madison Ave and use it about once each month.

    As someone who is in the BPS schools on a regular basis, the East side of Bridgeport is under-served by the library system. Students need good libraries in their neighborhoods as a place to expand their horizons and a place of safety outside of school hours.

    Trumbull is blessed in having trust funds left to our library that enables purchases when the budget has been exhausted, not all municipalities have this. Books cost money and adequate funding must be provided to the library system, The schools alone do not educate our children, libraries are crucial in accomplishing this task.

    I would happily pay the small property tax increase this referendum could cause to insure better equipped libraries and newer/safer branches that meet the needs of the 21st century.

    As Maria P. writes there is a need for the proposed branch in the Hooker District. I often see students from Hooker using the Nichols Branch of the Trumbull Library because it is much closer to home than Bridgeport libraries….however, it is not open Friday or Sunday. Vote YES

    • Local Eyes

      Despite our differences, Marshall Marcus displays the kind of even-handed approach that prompts me to nominate him as OIB Blogger of the Day.

    • Joel Gonzalez

      Marshall Marcus your opinion is valuable. I’m sure plenty of readers would support the banning of The Bridgeport Kid before you. The fiscal future of the state, towns and cities looks pretty bad. It’s not the time to build much of anything that isn’t sustainable. Join me in demanding that Moore and Gomes go to the Indians and beg for their help in covering some of the shortfalls the Libraries will be facing.

      • Marshall Marcus

        @Joel Gonzalez

        As much as you’d like our State Senators (and Moore represents Trumbull as well as Bridgeport) to approach the Pequots and Mashantucket Tribes and ‘beg’ for more aid, that is not their place or their authorized elected duty.
        Revenue from the casino contracts is falling every year and it is unlikely that more money would voluntarily be given to the State. Furthermore, as much as you’d like it, there is no way to guaranty that even one cent of this wishlist money would be appropriate dto Bridgeport or its libraries.

        I would much rather our State Senators and Representatives sponsor legislation to directly benefit the library Boards of all cities and Towns. By statute the mayors and Selectmen cannot touch this money. Tim Herbst found that out when he tried to take over the Trumbull Library Board (and get at their money) and was slapped down by the State.

        It is also time for the residents/taxpayers of Bridgeport to set up a 501(3)C entity to raise funds for additional library services and acquisitions not covered by the budget. City Hall is not going to do anything to increase the library budget.

        If this initiative passes, I would not put it past the administration to bill the library increased amounts for city services equal to the new funding rate.

  • The Bridgeport Kid

    I hope this passes. Joel will have to find another windmill.

  • The Bridgeport Kid

    Joe Ganim used this as a photo op for News12. Stood in front of City Hall to proclaim “We can’t balance the budget with this library mill rate!” Yeah right.

  • donj

    John Weldon was at the Fairfield metro train station today asking people if they are bridgeport voters. Took a flyer but idk if I will b3 voting for any republicans. I voted for trump and I regret that. Sometimes it’s better to stick with.the devil you know. I will be voting yes tomorrow.

    • Ron Mackey

      donj, “I’m shocked!” “Shocked” to hear that you regret that you voted for 45. Donj, it was you as a young black man from Black Rock and a Republican who was such a strong 45 supporter, I’m shocked. Maybe you could contact David Walker because he’s trying to a black person to help him for his run for governor.

      https://youtu.be/SjbPi00k_ME

    • The Bridgeport Kid

      Donj,

      You are not the only Trump voter expressing “buyer’s remorse.” The Russia scandal is widening. Donald Trump jr., Jared Kushner, Paul Manafort, Rick Gates, George Papadopoulos, Sam Clovis and Wilbur Ross have all been ensnared. 45 is being investigated for obstructing justice, for firing James Comey in an effort to head off the investigation (a bad move, it led directly to the appointment of Robert Mueller).

      Historically the economy has boomed under a Democratic POTUS. Maybe you should rethink your affiliation.

    • Bob Walsh

      John Weldon was at the Fairfield train station because he believes he can not relate to the average Bridgeport voter but the Bridgeporter who takes a train in Fairfield is not the average Bridgeport voter.
      I’ll bet if he saw a black man he wouldn’t ask if he was a Bridgeport voter; he’d assume that he was.

  • donj

    I was always a democrat kid but really did not connect to hillary. If Bernie was the nomanie prob would have voted for him.

  • The Bridgeport Kid

    I have a feeling, and it is just a feeling, that the library referendum will pass. There are too many politically active residents that support it. I have no problem calling “Bullshit!” on Ganim’s claim it will raise taxes. If taxes go up it is Ganim’s fault, not a referendum to increase funding for the public libraries. If Ganim raises taxes he can take sole credit. 

  • Joel Gonzalez

    Four minutes.

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