Here we are in June, just a month or so before respective districts of the Bridgeport Democratic Town Committee meet to endorse candidates for City Council seats.
So far I’ve not heard of any high-profile challenges except for Andy Fardy, retired firefighter and long-time city pol and his running mate Ann Barney, a city educator, taking on incumbents from the 138th District Bob Curwen and Rich Paoletto.
I expect a competitive primary here. Fardy’s been around a long time and has lots of experience running primaries whether on behalf of his own town committee seat or for other candidates. Barney is a compelling selection because of her contacts in the education community. Education people vote. But primaries are all about identifying your friends and dragging them to the polls.
Curwen, co-chair of the Council’s Budget and Appropriations Committee, is toying with running for mayor in 2011. He’ll need a strong performance for anyone to consider him a serious candidate for the city’s top spot.
The 138th District covers some of my favorite parts of the city in the Upper East Side, including the areas east of Beardsley Park along the Trumbull and Stratford lines. Lots of owner-occupied homes there.
Come on, let’s hear it. What council members do you want to challenge?
Stratford Pols Bite
I’ve always maintained that Stratford politics is nothing more than Bridgeport east. Stratford State Rep. Terry Backer who doesn’t give two shits about the state’s largest city is trying to hold the city hostage because god forbid airport safety improvements should inconvenience those poor souls in his beloved Lordship. From Ken Dixon of the Connecticut Post:
HARTFORD – Legislation that would allow Bridgeport to postpone contributions to its troubled pension plan is on the verge of dying under a threatened filibuster by Stratford lawmakers.
It’s tit-for-tat politics, with the 12:01 a.m. Thursday legislative deadline looming.
Stratford lawmakers want to extend a moratorium to delay the expansion of Sikorsky Memorial Airport and if they don’t get their way, they’ll attempt to kill the Bridgeport pension bill.
In recent days, Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch and his staff have been working the halls and meeting rooms of the Capitol in attempt to fend off the attempts by Stratford’s House delegation to further delay the construction of an airport runway safety zone.
At the same time, Finch has been promoting the need to delay a $20-million pension payment due this year and next, hoping that the stock-market bounces back and retrieves some of the losses that have depleted the once $350-million fire and police pension down to about $165 million.
“The way it stands right now, is that the city of Bridgeport desperately needs the pension relief,” Finch said Monday afternoon in the Capitol. “Unfortunately, legislators from Stratford have decided to hold it hostage to prevent a safety zone at the airport that is mandated by the federal government and good conscience.”
Congress Street Bridgeport dough, news release from Mayor Finch
BRIDGEPORT, CT (June 1, 2009) – The City of Bridgeport is receiving $883,094 in U. S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Community Development Block Grant Recovery Funds, $600,000 of which is targeted for costs associated with demolishing the bascule leaves of the broken Congress St. Bridge. The City has already been granted $1.2 million in federal Recovery Act funds, which, together with the $600,000 HUD CDBG funds, will cover the $1.8 million cost of demolishing the bridge.
“These additional funds will allow the City to move forward on many fronts, most importantly tearing down the City’s most visible reminder of infrastructure neglect – the Congress St. Bridge,” said Mayor Bill Finch, in lauding the Council’s vote to approve the 11 programs to be funded with the monies from HUD.
“HUD is providing the City with the means to preserve and create jobs as well as promoting economic recovery by assisting those who have been most impacted by the recession,” Finch said. “I’m also pleased that this funding will help the City move forward on its B-Green 2020 initiative. The $95,000 dollars allocated to create an Energy Conservation Corps will educate and empower City residents to learn to recycle more, divert rainwater and avail themselves of a Home Energy Audit to make their homes more energy efficient – saving them money and, overall reducing the City’s carbon footprint.”
“After years of lobbying to solve the problem posed by the broken Congress St. Bridge, the Council is excited that we are able to take the first step in taking down that very visible eyesore. Through the leadership of the Economic and Community Development Committee, chaired by Council members Angel DePara and Robert Curwen, we found a creative solution to utilize stimulus funding to finally tear down the bridge,” said City Council President Tom McCarthy.
In addition to the Congress St. Bridge, the $883 thousand in funds will be used for the following programs:
· City of Bridgeport Lighthouse Program – Energy Conservation Corps, $95,000
· Bridgeport Area Youth Ministry Re-Manufacturing and Youth Development Program, $5,000
· CT Free Shakespeare Intern Training Program Scholarships, $12,464
· City of Bridgeport Small and Minority Business Development Office, $10,000
· Original Works Inc./ East End Youth Art Works, $5,000
· Playhouse on the Green Project Broadway & Playhouse, $5,000
· City of Bridgeport Public Facilities – Congress St. Bridge, $600,000
· City of Bridgeport Parks Department – Tree Program, $20,000
· City of Bridgeport Parks Department – Newfield Park Improvements, $22,321
· City of Bridgeport Public Facilities – Hollow ADA Improvements, $20,000
· City of Bridgeport/Central Grants and Administration, $88,309
Annual Party Bash
Anyone attend the state Dems annual Jefferson Jackson Bailey dinner Monday night in Hartford? Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer, who’s a hoot, was the featured speaker. This is where a collection of great and near-great Dems meet annually to raise a boatload of dough for party efforts and trade rumors. Bridgeport is always well represented.
Wonder what the chatter was about for Chris Dodd, his primary opponent Merrick Alpert and the gubernatorial race next year?