Lieberman’s Barack Confusion, Plus: Machiavelli’s Layoffs

This is just too good to pass up. Uncle Joe Lieberman serenading Barack Obama two years ago with Yiddish superlatives becoming of one Dem to another. Oh, I forgot, someone stick a needle in my eye, Jumpin’ Joe is no longer a Dem, thus his convention fondling of John “I-vote-with-George-Bush-90-percent-of-the-time” McCain.

“He is a blessing to the United States Senate, to America, and to our shared hopes for better, safer tomorrows for all our families.” Joe wasn’t talking about McCain. Gee, all of a sudden in Joe’s eyes Barack is a schmuck, judging from Joe’s GOP prattle Tuesday night. Yahooy, serve this man a Philly steak. Check this out:

Machiavelli’s Protocol

Okay, so I’m getting phone calls and emails from folks asking why I’m being soft on Mayor Bill Finch as his budget implodes. “He’s responsible for this, Lennie, what’s wrong with you.” Yup, he’s the man in charge and things don’t look so good so it had me wondering what would Machiavelli say about all this. What’s the right way and wrong way to inflict layoffs?

This quote is from The Prince, a letter Niccolò Machiavelli wrote to Lorenzo De’ Medici in 1513.

“So it should be noted that when he seizes a state the new ruler must determine all the injuries that he will need to inflict. He must inflict them once for all, and not have to renew them every day, and in that way he will be able to set men’s minds at rest and win them over to him when he confers benefits. Whoever acts otherwise, either through timidity or bad advice, is always forced to have the knife ready in his hand and he can never depend on his subjects because they, suffering fresh and continuous violence, can never feel secure with regard to him. Violence must be inflicted once for all; people will then forget what it tastes like and so be less resentful. Benefits must be conferred gradually; and in that way they will taste better. Above all, a prince must live with his subjects in such a way that no development, either favourable or adverse, makes him vary his conduct. For, when adversity brings the need for it, there is no time to inflict harm; and the favours he may confer are profitless, because they are seen as being forced, and so they earn no thanks.” (Machiavelli, Niccolò. The Prince. 1513. Trans. George Bull, Penguin, 1981. p. 66.)

There, now, aren’t you reassured?

Rockin’ With Russo

Want to chat with State Senator Rob Russo? See Russo news release below:

Senator Russo to Hold Office Hours Saturday in Bridgeport

Encourages Constituents to Inquire about Charter Oak Health and State Energy Assistance Programs

HARTFORD – State Senator Robert D. Russo (R-Bridgeport) will hold office hours this Saturday September 6th from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. in the 1st floor lounge of the Burroughs Community Center located at 2470 Fairfield Avenue in Bridgeport. Constituents will have an opportunity to meet with Senator Russo to discuss any issues pertaining to state government.

Senator Russo said he has fielded a number of questions in recent weeks about Governor Rell’s Charter Oak Health Plan and the new thresholds the state has established for providing energy assistance this winter. He said he will provide application forms and assistance to anyone seeking information about these programs.

“In this economy, I hope people are taking advantage of all the help that is available to them. If you are a recent graduate, an employee of a small business, an early retiree, or someone between jobs, then the Charter Oak Health Plan may be an affordable health insurance option. I encourage anyone who fits one of those descriptions to stop in on Saturday and learn more,” said Senator Russo. “We will also provide information and assistance to people who want to apply for statewide fuel assistance programs and conservation tax breaks that can help reduce energy costs this winter.”

Senator Russo encouraged people to visit to learn more about state and federal home heating assistance programs and tax breaks they may qualify for.



  1. Lennie if you check the voting records of both McCain and Obama you will probably find that they voted the same way 90% of the time. Most of the votes taken in the senate have been on resolutions. With Obama you can only go back 3 years minus a year of campaigning so I suggest you check their voting record for ’05 and ’06.

  2. Those who think Mayor Finch caused Bridgeport’s fiscal mess are unaware the problems existed before he arrived at City Hall — trouble was waiting on his desk.
    It’s like blaming the repairman for the broken appliance.

  3. When Union wages are on parity with non-union wages the city finances will be manageable. What makes a union member worth more money than the non-union worker who does the same work?

  4. I can’t answer that question. For example, are all patrolmen members of the police union? Are some patrolmen not members of the union? Does a patrolmen have a choice? What happens if a patrolmen doesn’t want to be a member of the union anymore? How has the union benefited the city lately? We know how they have benefited themselves.

  5. Oh. Are you telling me that union members are better qualified to do the work then non-union members? How come we have to have unions? Seems to me we could offer competitive wages and benefits without the additional cost of unionized labor. I’ll check that out with my former neighbor. He had to move to South Carolina because the company he worked for could not keep pace with the union demands for more money despite the rise in taxes and other costs of doing business in Connecticut. He’s doing the same job in South Carolina for the same company for the same rate of pay.

  6. I met a guy at the Sikorsky strike a couple of years ago. He was the “Union” rep and spokesman. While his members got oogatz after several week on a no-pay strike, he got his pay every week. How come?

  7. Local Eyes

    You’re right!! Finch inherited Fabrizi’s mess. However, nine months have passed and he has not implemented one single program that would lead to a stabilized treasury. How come?

  8. A couple of points

    First, as far as I understand it, a member of a workforce who is operating under a union contract for the City does not have to be in the union. However, they still have to receive the “benefits” of a union – i.e., they get the same pay and protection. To me, it is kind of like drinking the milk but not paying for the cow, my opinion only.

    Union members are no more qualified than any other person or employee. The union is not responsible to screen or hire or train. The union inherits members. The City does all the “screening” and hiring. Bad employees are a product of the hiring system, and lack of infrastructure. You cannot weed out all bad apples in the hiring system, but it sure helps. Once hired, an employees who is in a job that has a union contract gets those protections, or some would say privilege. It is then the union’s requirement (whether they agree or not) to defend and protect them. It is an archaic vicious cycle.

    Why do union members HAVE to get paid more? Because if left to their own devices, as clearly seen in this blog, the City would not pay a prevailing wage if the employee was not in a union. If the unions took a huge pay and benefit cut, do you really believe that the tax burden would go down, and people could live in Bpt in happy harmony?

    Now, I am no fan of the system – City says no, Union screams yes, they go to arbitration, and everyone feels that they lose, especially the Taxpayer. There has to be a better way, and believe me, I can attest to the fact that the Unions have been told on many occasions to take a bad deal, and the next contract would be better. The next offer has never been any better.

    There is no trust on either side, the system is the problem, and I see the City as a big part of the problem; you, from what I gather, see the Unions as the big problem. That’s ok. The answer of unions giving back has been done before, Lennie clearly stated that a couple of times. What did the City do with it? If it truly is the answer, why are we back here again? It should’ve worked under Ganim, no?

  9. I posted this late on the prevous post, so I thought I’d repost it here to see if it gets any attention:

    Funny thing is, union salaries have not gone up 400% in that same time period. Ganim already set union employee salaries back 10 years. How can you keep going to the well? The time is long past for windfall union concessions. Just because union employees make up a large amount of the City payroll, and the Budget, doesn’t mean that they are overpaid.

    You want to make things better–how do you improve production (or at least maintain) while saving money? Hire good people and show them that they are important to you.

    Believe me, if union employees leave, it will be the ones who can get employment elsewhere, and you would be left with what your “heroes” have done.

    You don’t want your good employees to leave–the ones that show up and work every day. You want the ones to leave that will NEVER leave–you know–the political lackeys and no-show-ers.

    Have better hiring practices, have better upper management, and you will have departments that run better, more efficiently and for LE$$. Yes, I said less. You want to run it like a private enterprise, bring it on!

    Yay for Joe Ganim! He got his bloodletting from the unions some time ago. And then he squandered it. park city fan has it right.

    Maybe the City or someone on this blog should do a salary analysis of all City employees–base salary, overtime, and pension parameters, and compare it to New Haven, Waterbury and Hartford. Then maybe you all would see that labor is not Enemy Number One. They may not be innocent, but they aren’t raping and pillaging the City as many would think.

  10. Yahooy:

    Mayor Finch has submitted a balanced budget that would lead to a stabilized treasury and he did it because that’s his mandated function as Bridgeport’s CEO. Everything The Mayor does is centered on correcting the fiscal imbalance that threatens The Park City. Sometimes it seems like he’s the only person trying to do that and it prevents him from implementing his own programs to improve Bridgeport. I wish him the best.

    Based on Lennie’s submitted speech by Lieberman, it’s easy to see why McCain didn’t pick him as his running mate.

  11. Ok this may be out of the sequence of events discussed here, but I was wondering if any had heard the news of the thief returning to his job at the transfer station. It seems as though the city is going to sneak him back next week according to reliable sources. This is a severe slap in the face of BPT taxpayers as well as every other civil servant the city has in their workforce. If half of what we read in the paper was true about this guy, not only should he have been fired, but brought up on charges also…but it seems there are 2 sets of rules for some in our beloved city. One set for the nobodys and another for the ones who play ball. He must have the goods on somebody big for LR to wash all his sins away. It’s deplorable for them to just turn a blind eye to those robbing our city, but that’s the norm here in BPT anyway, screw change right? And if he in fact was innocent, then the city should readily make available the final outcome of their investigation and findings that led them to believe otherwise, and afforded him with a long paid summer vacation on us only to come back to spit in the taxpayer’s face yet again! Put a game show sign on the borders of town because if THE PRICE IS RIGHT, it’s LET’S MAKE A DEAL!

  12. Local Eyes

    My question is…What has Finch done to increase revenue from sources other than the Grand List? He submitted a balanced budget but did absolutely nothing to ensure that the $4.5 million Steel Point revenue, which is an important component of that budget, would actually be realized. No. He’s an incompetent oaf who has no business being in office. So long as people like you blindly vote the party line, we are stuck with these idiots. You watch…next time Testa is going to endorse a box of frozen calamari and you will vote for it and probably contribute to the campaign. Your man is a fool. He’s hurting us worse than any mayor in the history of the city. The longer he pretends to know what he is doing, the worse it will get.

  13. A salary comparability study should be done for city employees. It is way overdue. The state did one for its employees in the early nineties and it helped focus on the facts. I suggest that the study should be done by an outside independent group. If it isn’t, the results may not be known. My impression is that the Bridgeport City employees’ salaries are lower than comparable jurisdictions and private sector positions but the benefits may be larger. The study should include salary and all benefits in the analysis. Until we are ready to hear the answers, based on analysis, we will never know for sure. As for productivity of those employed by the City, my impression is that the overall productivity is not high. It is high in certain units, especially those units that have invested in technology to help measure outcomes. Other units are not nearly so fortunate. First the compensation issue. Second the productivity issue. Then decisions made on facts might actually prevail. The private sector should commission such a two-pronged study with matching funds from the State or philanthropy, not the general fund. The unions, executive and legislative partners must buy in if the business sector and philanthropy step up to the plate.

  14. If I wanted to extend my closing date to purchase a piece of property, I bet the property owner would charge a monthly fee to ensure I still had exclusivity on the property. I couldn’t get a closing extension without it costing me. Business is business.

    What I don’t understand is why the 50+ acres at Steel Point and the 10+ acres across from the arena and ballfield don’t fall under the same business transaction rules. If those developers still want exclusive development rights for some period of time, it should cost them a monthly fee. Those monthly revenues should have kicked in already with the revenue going to the general fund. What is the administration and council waiting for? Charge them a monthly fee or show them the door.

  15. Countdown

    Well said and originally stated by Bob Walsh. The big question is why weren’t these points negotiated or incorporated into the Steal Point LDA, and the Canyon-Johnson deals? Furthermore I wish the city and the press would quit alluding to Steal Point as a 1.5 Billion Dollar project.

  16. WHILE focusing on Obama, misguided Republicans miss the point: he has plenty of executive experience. Unlike McCain, Obama put his entire organization together by himself. He set the course and soon had top pols gravitating to him. He’s a top-notch CEO. True entrepreneurs make the world respond to them, not the other way around. What America needs is a political pro with sound judgement. Collectively, Congress has plenty of experience and what has that gotten us? Answer: a $10 trillion debt, an unpopular war, former friends turned enemies and a sour economy.

  17. Tom Kelly,
    I am suggesting something a little different from Bob Walsh. As I read in the paper, he wanted the $4.6 million purchase price paid now but that might mean they would take title to the property before the bonds are sold and the construction loan closing. I am not sure that was what he meant but I am suggesting something in addition to the purchase price. If both parties can walk away now because whatever deadline was missed then the City should charge a monthly fee equal to some dollar amount per acre for every month that the developer wants to retain exclusivity. Then when they are actually ready to close and take ownership of the peninsula, they need to cough up the $4.6 million purchase price. The LDA gave the ability for both sides to walk away. So, the City should walk away unless the developer pays a monthly fee for the right to retain exclusive development rights. In my opinion, the Mayor and Council need to make that decision in a hurry since the deadline has passed and nobody has blinked. Same goes for the arena ballfield area development.

  18. Well said Tom Kelly. Too bad we didn’t have countdown writing the LDA instead of the incompetent people in the Economic Development office.
    Instead the city, like a bunch of hillbillies, got bamboozled by the Philadelphia attorneys and the taxpayers are left holding an empty bag.
    City in-house attorneys were lauded as experts in real estate and it was guaranteed that they would get the best possible deal for the city. Instead we are left with an expired LDA, for financial recourse and a barren non-performing 50 acre piece of land in a prime real-estate market.
    Thanks for the expert commentary and insight, countdown. Maybe Finch should have hired you as his new Economic Development Director.
    As to countdown’s last post, I was suggesting that the developers come up with the $4.5 as the purchase price or a forfeited penalty. At least that way the city would have a strong upper hand in working out the inter-local agreement. But what is countdown suggesting?
    I would hope we are talking about at least $200K per month. And slap an escalator clause on the original purchase price so that they can pay us now and pay us more later.

  19. 50 acres at $5,000 per acre would be $250,000 per month. A one-year extension of the closing would mean $3 million for Steel Point starting September 1. 10 months until the close of the city’s fiscal year would be $2.5 million to the general fund.

    Using same calculation for Canyon Johnson’s deal, 10 acres at $5,000 per month would be $50,000 per month starting June 15th when that exclusivity agreement expired. That would mean another $600,000 to the City’s general fund in this fiscal year. That is $3.1 million in revenue. It would help but certainly doesn’t solve the gap.
    The escalator clause on the purchase price for the Steel Point closing makes me nervous since the City should not have put the RFP out in the first place under the Ganim Administration. They didn’t have site control. Fabrizi got the site control accomplished on Steel Point.

    One final point, the in-house city attorneys took a back seat to that lawyer that ran for Democratic Town Chair and lost to Testa. It is my understanding that it was that outside counsel that negotiated the key points of the LDA that went to City Council in November 2006. The two real estate attorneys that are City staff are excellent in my opinion. The City should be thankful that they have them. However, I don’t think it is fair to call them or the economic development staffers hillbillies. I refer you to my first comment. The city salaries are not competitive in certain units. I think the applicable phrase is ‘you get what you pay for.’ These deals are very sophisticated real-estate transactions because Bridgeport doesn’t have the clout that Hartford and New Haven have as far as State participation. Time is money and it is time for the City to collect a few shekels from these developers if they want them to continue to have exclusive development rights until the economy recovers. Bridgeport’s land is very valuable and in my opinion, the City needs to stop being a pushover.

  20. Con Filardi:

    Talking about the new assessment coming soon to a home near you. Don’t you think that the mayor’s concern over the budget is a bit premature considering that the new assessment is not done yet? Do keep us informed as to your take on the new assessment and whether or not you feel that it’s just another tax increase.

  21. Lennie:

    Did you see Syesha Mercado on the Connecticut Post?
    she looks hot and I think you should be the one to welcome her to Bridgeport. You are after all the only one to give her a plug on OIB. Give her my digits.

  22. Hot off the wire.

    I report, you decide:

    Ben Smith 1 hour, 2 minutes ago

    After a segment with NBC’s Chuck Todd ended today, Republican consultant Mike Murphy and Wall Street Journal columnist Peggy Noonan were caught on a live mic ridiculing the choice of Sarah Palin.
    “It’s over,” said Noonan, and then responded to a question of whether Palin is the most qualified Republican woman McCain could have chosen.
    “The most qualified? No. I think they went for this — excuse me — political bullsh** about narratives,” she said. “Every time Republicans do that … because that’s not where they live and it’s not what they’re good at and they blow it.”
    Murphy chimed in:
    “The greatness of McCain is no cynicism, and this is cynical.”

  23. URBANKAOS — right on man! You hit that nail on the head. Labor Relations has a whole shitload of evidence against DePrimo. Evidence regarding falsified time sheets, phony overtime, being MIA several times when he didn’t even answer his city-issued cell phone, letting certain favored haulers in at no fee, etc., etc. He did these things in plain sight of half of public facilities and he was caught red-handed by a city councilman and a high ranking DTC member.

    Many employees of PF were ordered into Labor Relations and told to give written statements about DePrimo and they did. These are not rats or disgruntled employees, they are honest hard-working men who have had enough. And Larry Osborne swore that he would take care of DePrimo once and for all.

    Now after Tony’s long paid summer vacation, all of the evidence is moot and DePrimo is returning to work vowing revenge against those who gave statements against him. So either Osborne royally botched the investigation OR he was told by members of the administration to let it go. But something is very very wrong here.

    The city is setting themselves up for some serious lawsuits. All of the employees who were ever fired for far less than DePrimo should contact a lawyer immediately. And all those employees who were orded by LR to give written statements against a man who is now returning as their supervisor should research the Whistle Blower law because they may need to use it.

    Only in Bridgeport.

  24. Harry Neigher … I agree. John from Black Rock is to me the best blogger on here, his info is the best. I woke up this morning seeing results from Black Rock by John and I can’t believe Shays won there thanks for the info and do you have results from 2004 there and from Longfellow? Lennie you need to do some work on that department getting the numbers out, there is no reason you can’t get a complete list of how precincts voted in 2004 so it could give us a idea what to expect on election day. Thanks John you are the best.

  25. Hey Joel in #29 when you say: “give Syesha my digits” you mean your phone number right? You aren’t gonna chop off any more fingers are ya?

    Just heard that Obama will be on the O’Reilly Factor tomorrow night. Guess they needed to spruce up the RNC because people are falling asleep. ZZZZZZZZZ

  26. I’m killing time here waiting for the big Palin speech at 10. Just read 1Junkyarddog’s posting from yesterday regarding the city employees with take-home cars. I agree there should be full PUBLIC disclosure of the people with take-home cars. You’ll be surprised to see who has a car: director of labor relations, director of IT, director of finance, several parks employees and the list goes on. These are non-union employees so their take-home vehicles are not part of any contractual agreement. Many live out of town and we the taxpayers pay for the gas, the insurance and the maintenance on the vehicles. What budget deficit?

  27. I accidently caught a little peek at the republican convention. Saw a woman waving a sign that said Hockey Moms for McCain. Well now, that’s a real special endorsement. Think I’ll watch the thunderstorm, anything is more exciting that that group of rednecks.

  28. The Republicans seem to have the endorsements of rednecks and racists. As a black person I could not see myself voting for one of those guys. In the city of Bridgeport I can honestly say whites and blacks live good. I have many white friends and we get along great and honestly that’s what I like to see. And honestly Obama represents out of many we are one and that’s why I support him. After I saw that sign it was a big turn off. All I can say is I love Bridgeport and Bridgeport has great people who live here. From around Longfellow to around Black Rock we are one. I was in Black Rock area and I can honestly say it is a friendly place … Also Republicans are not for the working class whites blacks or Spanish people … they are a party of the rich, just look at the convention you will see.

  29. While reading many comments in the Connecticut Post, OIB blogs and Editorials including those made by elected officials regarding the City’s Unions refusal to give concessions and take pay cuts, I’m convinced that there is a lack of understanding of the overall issue. All comments would lead any reader of average reading comprehension level (not City Kitty) to believe that all City and Board of Education employees live and pay taxes in Bridgeport. There are 2 kinds of City and BOE employees — those that live and pay taxes in Bridgeport and those that don’t. Many have stated or implied that the City employees don’t care about the Bridgeport
    taxpayers. That may be true of those that don’t live in Bridgeport. Has anyone stopped to think that many of us are City taxpayers too and we live here? Whether we rent or own a home in Bridgeport, we pay taxes. Renters are paying higher rent due to higher taxes, many also pay taxes on their motor vehicles. The non-Bridgeport resident city employees contribute nothing to our tax base. Approximately 73% of Bridgeport teachers live out of the city. In the first layoff cycle, over 90% of those laid off were low-wage-earning Bridgeport residents.
    The mayor wants give-backs from the unions and prides himself in saying that he will give back one week. I make less than $22,000 in take-home pay and the mayor makes 4 times that. Is this fair or equal? No, it is not and even if we earned the same pay, the mayor is not in danger of being laid off. What about the City employees with multiple family members working for the City and or the Board of Education and worse yet not living in Bridgeport? Are we equal to them and as equally unsympathetic to Bridgeport taxpayers? A residency rule for City and BOE employees would be unconstitutional. A City income tax on non-Bridgeport resident city employees would be unconstitutional. A city income tax on all would only bring Bridgeport resident city employees back to square one. The only viable option would be for Bridgeport city employees living in Bridgeport to have their own union separate of those that don’t live in Bridgeport. A City resident employee union would at least have the political power that current unions lack due to the absence of a residency rule. A word of caution to all OIB posters who continue to refer to our mayor as a one-term mayor. In the event that your references to a one-term mayor are accepted by the mayor as a real possibility, he may decide to institute a city income tax to replenish the rainy day fund and perhaps lower property taxes. Remember the name Lowell Weicker?

  30. alley black cat:

    I’m a racist? If you look up the term Voter Polarization you will find a picture of a black cat next to the term.
    Voter Polarization means that a black person will most likely than not vote for a black person. The same goes for folks of other colors or nationalities. What is wrong with a white person voting for someone based on the same method that you vote? According to your logic (if it can be called that) when you and I have voted, you would be the racist out of both of us, as there is no latino candidate. The Redneck doesn’t exist anymore. The Rednedck has evolved and is now known as the Blackwhitebrownneck. Let’s take mayor Finch for example. Finch could not be classified as a Redneck. Finch is more of a Blackwhitebrownneck. You see Finch became mayor with the support of Blacks, Whites and Hispanics (brown). With the mixture of all three you get the Blackwhitebrownneck. Each color looks out not for their communities, but their own personal interest and join forces to reach their goals. Tell me something alley black cat. Aren’t you confused? According to the principles of Voter Polarization, you must give half the vote to NObama and the other half to McCain as NObama is half Black and half Redneck as you call them.


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