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Marcus Brown Presses Reforms In WPCA Collection Process

January 29th, 2018 · 56 Comments · City Council, News and Events

Marcus Brown

City Councilman Marcus Brown

Kicking off Monday’s Ordinance Committee meeting, co-chair Marcus Brown delivered these remarks setting forth a process, including a public hearing, to address resident complaints about the collection practices of the Water Pollution Control Authority.

BEFORE BEGINNING THIS MEETING, THE CHAIRS WISH TO MAKE A FEW OBSERVATIONS CONCERNING THIS COMMITTEE’S CONSIDERATION OF AMENDMENTS TO THE PORTION OF THE CODE OF ORDINANCES APPLICABLE TO THE WATER POLLUTION CONTROL AUTHORITY.

THE MEMBERS OF THIS COMMITTEE ALONG WITH OTHER MEMBERS OF THE CITY COUNCIL, HAVE RECEIVED NUMEROUS AND PERSISTENT INQUIRIES FROM OUR CONSTITUENCIES, CONCERNING PRACTICES AND TACTICS EMPLOYED BY THE WPCA, IN THE COLLECTION OF OVERDUE ASSESSMENTS AND CHARGES.

OF PARTICULAR CONCERN EXPRESSED BY CONSTITUENTS AND HOMEOWNERS, IS THAT SOME HAVE INCURRED A SMALL ARREARAGE OF SEVERAL HUNDRED DOLLARS, YET HAVE BEEN SUBJECTED TO LITIGATION EXPENSES INCLUDING COSTS AND ATTORNEYS FEES TOTALLING MANY THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS.

A PROPOSED ORDINANCE AMENDMENT CONCERNING THE INSTITUTION OF A MEDIATION PROGRAM, WHICH WOULD BE AVAILABLE TO CONSUMERS IN LIEU OF COSTLY LITIGATION, HAS BEEN PENDING FOR SOME TIME ON OUR DOCKET.

ON DECEMBER 27, 2016, THIS COMMITTEE ENGAGED IN AN EXTENSIVE DISCUSSION WHICH, WE BELIEVE, HAS CONVINCED US ALL, THAT OUR ORDINANCE AMENDMENT AND OUR AREA OF INQUIRY SHOULD BE BROADENED.

THIS COMMITTEE HAS BECOME FAMILIAR WITH THE WPCA LIEN FORECLOSURE PROCESS. WHEN AN ARREARAGE EXISTS FOR A HOMEOWNER OR A BUSINESS OWNER A LIEN MAY BE PLACED ON THE PROPERTY. THAT LIEN ACCRUES INTEREST AT 18% BY STATE STATUTE. IN THE EVENT OF A FORECLOSURE, THE LIEN PLUS THE ACCRUED INTEREST MUST BE SATISFIED BEFORE ANY OTHER ENCUMBRANCE, EXCEPT REAL ESTATE TAXES.

THIS COMMITTEE IS WELL AWARE OF THE FACT THAT THE TIMELY COLLECTION OF USER CHARGES AND FEES IS IMPORTANT, BECAUSE THE FAILURE TO GENERATE PREDICTABLE REVENUES IMPACTS OTHER RATE PAYERS.

HOWEVER, THE COMMITTEE IS ALSO AWARE OF THE FACT THAT WHEN AN ARREARAGE AMOUNTS TO A FEW HUNDRED DOLLARS TO BE PAID BY A HOMEOWNER, AND LITIGATION COSTS AND ATTORNEYS FEES ARE ADDED TO THE BILL, THOSE COSTS AND ATTORNEY’S FEES ARE NOT PAID TO THE CITY OF BRIDGEPORT AND THE WPCA. INSTEAD, THEY ARE PAID BY THE HOMEOWNER OR BUSINESS OWNER TO THE OUTSIDE COUNSEL ENGAGED BY THE CITY.

OF PARTICULAR CONCERN IS THE SITUATION WHERE FORECLOSURE PROCEEDINGS ARE INSTITUTED AGAINST A HOMEOWNER WITH CONSIDERABLE EQUITY IN THE AFFECTED PROPERTY. IF THE HOMEOWNER IS CURRENT ON ANY MORTGAGE OBLIGATIONS, A BANK MAY PAY THE SMALL ARREARAGE AND ATTORNEY’S FEES, AND ADD THOSE CHARGES TO THE EXISTING MORTGAGE. THIS PRACTICE IS TO THE DETRIMENT OF THE HOMEOWNER AND PROVIDES NO RELIEF TO THE WPCA RATE-PAYERS.

THERE IS AN AMENDMENT BEFORE THIS COMMITTEE, BUT NO DECISION WILL BE MADE UNTIL WE HAVE COMPLETE INFORMATION AND HAVE MADE A FULL AND FAIR INQUIRY. WE SHOULD CONSIDER REQUIRING THAT NO FORECLOSURE PROCEEDING MAY BE INSTITUTED UNTIL AN ARREARAGE HAS REACHED A MONETARY THRESHOLD. ANY LIEN WOULD ACCRUE INTEREST AT 18%, SO THE DELAY DOES NOT UNDULY PREJUDICE THE WPCA.

WE SHOULD CONSIDER A FURTHER STEP, AFTER THE THRESHOLD AMOUNT, FOR EXAMPLE $2,000, IS REACHED. THE HOMEOWNER SHOULD BE ALLOWED AN OPPORTUNITY FOR MEDIATION AND TO AGREE UPON A SCHEDULE OF PAYMENTS IN LIEU OF FORECLOSURE.

WE SHOULD ALSO CONSIDER AMENDING OUR EXISTING ORDINANCE TO REQUIRE THAT THE BRIDGEPORT CITY ATTORNEY’S OFFICE COMMENCE FORECLOSURE PROCEEDINGS USING IN HOUSE CITY ATTORNEYS, ASSUMING THAT NO LEGAL CONFLICT OF INTEREST EXISTS.

WE WISH TO EMPHASIZE THAT THE PURPOSE OF THIS COMMITTEE’S STUDY IS NOT TO ENGAGE IN PERSONAL ATTACKS OR TO PROVOKE PERSONALITY CLASHES. INSTEAD WE SEEK TO PRODUCE LEGISLATIVE POLICY AND WELL-THOUGHT-OUT LEGISLATION THAT WILL SERVE THE INTERESTS OF THE HOMEOWNERS AND WPCA CONSUMERS THAT WE REPRESENT.

WE WILL NOT BE DISTRACTED FROM OUR MISSION BY PERSONAL ATTACKS AND WILL NOT WASTE TIME ON COLLATERAL ISSUES.

DURING OUR DECEMBER 27, 2018 MEETING ATTORNEY ANASTASI REPEATEDLY REMINDED THIS COMMITTEE THAT THE CITY ATTORNEY IS AUTHORIZED TO HIRE OUTSIDE COUNSEL.

THEREFORE, THIS COMMITTEE IS FULLY JUSTIFIED IN REQUESTING COPIES OF ANY WRITTEN CONTRACTS WITH ATTORNEYS THAT HAVE BEEN ENGAGED BY THE CITY TO FORECLOSE WPCA LIENS, AS WELL AS THE CRITERIA THAT IS USED BY THE CITY ATTORNEY IN MAKING A DECISION TO ENGAGE THE SERVICES OF ANY PARTICULAR OUTSIDE ATTORNEY.

THE CITY ATTORNEY, DESPITE THE FACT THAT OUR CITY CHARTER GIVES BOTH THE PRESIDENT OF THE CITY COUNCIL AND THE CHAIRS OF THE VARIOUS CITY COUNCIL COMMITTEES, THE RIGHT TO SUBPOENA WITNESSES, INFORMED US THAT WE HAVE NO SUCH AUTHORITY.

WE WERE FIRST TOLD BY ATTORNEY ANASTASI, THAT ONLY THE FULL COUNCIL COULD ISSUE A SUBPOENA. ONLY WHEN CONFRONTED WITH THE APPLICABLE CITY CHARTER PROVISION, (CITY CHARTER CHAPTER 5, SECTION 5, SUBSECTION (e)) DID HE RECANT AND AGREE THAT A COUNCIL COMMITTEE CAN ISSUE A SUBPOENA.

THIS WOULD NOT HAVE HAPPENED HAD IT NOT BEEN FOR THE INDEPENDENT RESEARCH OF COUNCILMAN PETE SPAIN AND COUNCILMAN ERNIE NEWTON.

NOW, WE ARE TOLD BY CITY ATTORNEY CHRISTOPHER MEYER THAT, AND I QUOTE FROM THE CT POST, “THE COUNCIL LACKS THE AUTHORITY TO TELL THE LAW DEPARTMENT TO ISSUE SUBPOENAS.” (CT POST, JANUARY 27, 2018 EDITION)

FURTHERMORE, AS HAS BEEN REPORTED IN THE PRESS, OUR CITY ATTORNEY HAS INFORMED US THAT PERSONAL LITIGATION AGAINST COMMITTEE MEMBERS MIGHT RESULT IF WE CHOOSE TO ISSUE THE SUBPOENAS.

THIS, AS IS PLAIN TO SEE, WAS A NOT-SO-SUBTLE ATTEMPT AT INTIMIDATION.

GIVEN THIS BACKGROUND, WE CONTACTED JUDGE CARMEN LOPEZ, WHO IS HERE THIS EVENING, AND WHO WE WILL RECOGNIZE IN A MOMENT. SHE HAS AGREED TO ASSIST THIS COMMITTEE AS WE DISCHARGE OUR RESPONSIBILITIES.

CONCERNING TONIGHT’S MEETING, WHEN WE CONCLUDE THESE REMARKS, WE WILL RECOGNIZE JUDGE LOPEZ.

IN TERMS OF THE ORDER OF BUSINESS, AFTER THESE PRELIMINARY REMARKS, WE WILL CALL UPON THE CITY ATTORNEY TO ADDRESS THE COMMITTEE AND TO RESPOND TO ANY QUESTIONS FROM COMMITTEE MEMBERS.

WE WILL THEN RECOGNIZE CITY ATTORNEY RUSSELL LISKOV AS WELL AS ACTING GENERAL MANAGER OF THE WPCA, MR. W. ROBINSON.

WE WILL THEN CALL UPON ATTORNEY JUDA EPSTEIN WHO REGULARLY REPRESENTS THE WPCA AND THE CITY OF BRIDGEPORT IN COLLECTION MATTERS TO MAKE ANY COMMENTS AND TO ANSWER QUESTIONS.

WE WISH TO ALSO STATE THIS EVENING THAT THERE WILL BE ADDITIONAL MEETINGS OF THIS COMMITTEE AS WE GO FORWARD WITH THE INQUIRY.

BEFORE ANY RECOMMENDATION IS MADE TO THE FULL CITY COUNCIL, THERE WILL BE A PUBLIC HEARING. DUE TO THE EXTENT OF THE PUBLIC INTEREST IN THIS ISSUE, THE COMMITTEE WILL MAKE EVERY EFFORT TO SCHEDULE THE MEETING IN A LARGE ROOM TO ACCOMMODATE EVERYONE.

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56 Comments so far ↓

  • Lisa Parziale

    This is an issue that has been waiting to be addressed for over a decade and I believe it now will be in a conscientious matter. I, however, want to comment on the young man in the picture above. It was only a year ago that I had the privilege to meet him and our political interests and involvement were instant. Together we, along with others are participating in a Town Committee contest in the 132nd District of the City. If we are successful in obtaining a majority of the slate, Marcus Brown will be the District Leader going forward. I’m proud of the composition of the slate that includes young, older, and experienced people in both politics, life and the neighborhood. I made a commitment before anyone else in this City to include new people interested in the political issues of our City. I have done that and will continue to do that. My name appears on our potential slate because I was the only one left not on the present slate, to form and guide a new one. Marcus made the decision on his own that he didn’t belong with the incumbents. I was lucky to be in the right place to meet him. If anything is accomplished by this particular Citywide Town committee contest is that new people will appear victorious in various districts, and guess what, life will go on!

  • Ron Mackey

    Marcus Brown, I see what Pete Spain and Lisa Parzialle said about you is true, good job.

  • John Marshall Lee

    I am sorry that oncoming sickness kept me from the special meeting last evening on WPCA issues. Congratulations on the very well organized comments and considerations that were included in the introductory talk. I wish the City subcommittee perseverance in coming to a reorganization of the process if deemed necessary.

    Also, I have one other observation that I have not seen in the comments of others to this point. Perhaps it is no longer necessary, but one year ago when I reviewed the WPCA financial accounts showing the 100 top accounts owing funds for WPCA service, memory tells me that a number of them were for various Park City Community locations. I believe that they were under payment plans, but there was no report that showed whether they were catching up, static or falling behind. One observation in considering actions with PCC property is that when a tenant or other is concerned with failure to address a complaint within the PCC process, it is fair to address the same issue through City of Bridgeport Code Enforcement office. They have tools including fines and legal actions with which to deal with private owners but apparently are stopped from using these on Park City Communities? Perhaps someone can explain the reasoning? Getting people to pay their sewer use tax is important. Those with the largest use should not get a pass, since their bills have the most impact when paid in maintaining a balanced budget. Time will tell.

  • The Bridgeport Kid

    Hats off to Marcus Brown and the other members of the Ordinance Committee. R. Christopher Meyer ought to be ashamed of himslf, defending the interests of a contracted attorney over those of the oeople of the city of Bridgeport.

  • Andrew C Fardy

    The sewer tax was instituted when Mayor Mandanici miss-used Federal funds that were for updating the sewer system. The Feds demanded their money back and thus the sewer treatment tax was instituted.
    We have long ago paid off what we owed the Feds so why are we still paying that tax? Why are we leasing out the operation of the sewer plants using our equipment and our treatment plants? Where is the money going that the lessee is paying the city? Who is auditing this lease. This is an area ripe for corruption and no one is looking

    • Lisa Parziale

      Andy what most don’t realize is that you, me and who’s left of our “class” know and remember the history of a lot of problems they’re trying to fix today. Instead of keeping an open mind, and doing some research, a few like Stephie stay fixated on spewing hate and lies. Speaking of Stephanie/Steve, now that he’s employed by the City, they may monitor his behavior during business hours. His actions and verbal napalm could be construed as those of his employer.

      • The Bridgeport Kid

        There is a city reg prohibiting cell phone use by municipal employees while on the clock. Just saying.

        • Lisa Parziale

          So Kid, do you think pussycat will actually show at your venue Wednesday night. I’ll be at Pete’s fundraiser, maybe I’ll stop by to see.

          • The Bridgeport Kid

            Can’t say for sure. He’s certainly welcome. It is open to the public. It is also my place of work.

  • Donald Day

    Wow, that’s very interesting Andy. If this debt had been liquidated why are people still paying, when was this debt paid off and where is the money going now? Finally, how do they continue to take the homes, hopes and dreams of Bridgeport residents for a defunct debt?

    • Andrew C Fardy

      Don here is what they do. They put the management of the sewer plants and its plants and employees out to bid. A company bids and the highest bid is awarded. Do we ever know who wins these Bids? No Do we know where the money from the bid goes ? NO all we know is that our usage fees go up with no improvement in service. Where does this bid money go? How much is siphoned off the top ?
      Why dont we permanently just hire people that are needed to manage the plant and pay them a salary.

      THE BIGGEST QUESTION HERE IS WHY ARE WE PAYING SEWER TAXES IN THE FIRST PLACE??? wE DID NOT BEFORE THE FEDS MADE US PAY THEEIR MONEY BACK SO WHAT IS THE ANSWER

  • Ethan Book

    The Special Session last evening was a good start. Marcus and the other Council participants did a good job.

    One point has puzzled me. Assiciate City Attorney Tayisha Tomes said that the penalty interest on past-due WPCA accounts is 1 1/2 percent monthly up to 18% annually. As I have said, 18% seems extremely high where we’re dealing with a public service for which homeowners don’t have a choice to decline and where there is normally good security. Nonetheless, I wondered how the 1 1/2 percent monthly is calculated. During the meeting recess, I approached her and asked her if that monthly interest is compounded. She didn’t know. Associate City Attorney Russell Liskov was standing nearby. Attorney Tomes asked him if the interest rate is compounded monthly. He said it was not. I repeated his answer. He affirmed it. Associate City Attorney Mark Anastasia has told us that the interest charged in WPCA billis set by statute.

    This morning I did some checking. It turns out that Conn. Gen. Statutes, Sec. 22a-498b provides that delinquent water pollution charges shall accrue interest at the same rate as the rate charged by the municipality’s tax collector charges for delinquent property taxes. Section 12-146 provides that the interest charged on delinquent taxes “shall be subject to interest at the rate of eighteen percent per annum” and also that the interest shall become collectible as part of such tax.

    This raises several questiions. The first is that penalty interest on WPCA bills should not be as high as 18% p.a. Second, what I see of the wording of Section 13-146 by no means suggests that the WPCA penalty interest is “mandated by statute”. Third, I see the possibility that the WPCA is charging 1 1/2 percent monthly which, if coumpounded, comes out to 19.6% annually. These are serious questions.

    In addition, Attorney Anastasia has told us that tge WPCA does not have the statutory authority to forgive past-due user debt. However, if the handling of WPCA past-due bills are handled as city property taxes, then Conn. Gen. Statutes, Sec. 12-124 gives the mayor the authority to abate taxes or interest “upon such persons as are poor and unable to pay the same . . . . ”

    I think we need another meeting for questions to the attorneys and the WPCA!

    • The Bridgeport Kid

      Great research.

    • Ron Mackey

      Ethan, nice job but it would it would helpful if you were a Democrat, think about it, if you ran for DTC you would have s better chance for people to listen to you.

      • Ethan Book

        Thank you, Ron! On the party side, I’m finding that more people are listening to me. Also, I’m seeing that most in Bridgeport recognize that the single-party system isn’t serving them like they’ve expected. They’re showing interest in listening to a good Republican voice; many are even hungry to hear a good Republican voice!

        • Ron Mackey

          Ethan, you said, “They’re showing interest in listening to a good Republican voice; many are even hungry to hear a good Republican voice!” Really, you’re talking about urban city with a majority population being black and Hispanic and you think that you can convince them to vote Republican? That will NEVER happen in your life time. You have never answered my question to you, what city in America has large population of black and Hispanic and they are governed by Republicans? Jack Kemp has been dead for nine years and he was the last Republican who could draw black and Hispanic to vote him. The Democrats are messed up but they are much better than Republicans in Bridgeport. Ethan, keep running in city and state elections in Bridgeport and you will keep losing.

          • Ethan Book

            Ron, you change the subject from urban people listening to a good Republican voice to urban voters voting Republican. More votes Republican will follow good Republican voices being heard. Also, I answered your earlier question with a comment that urban communities with Democrat mayors are generally not in good conditions. Urban voters who have voted Democrat for decades are not seeing good results. In addition, you are wrong that Republicans won’t win in Bridgeport. Republicans have won even recently. Also, there’s growing bi-partisan support for an ordinance to provide for minority party representation on the City Council such as exists now on the Board of Education.

      • The Bridgeport Kid

        You need to become more engaged in municipal activities, Ethan. Forget about the Republican Town Committee in Bridgeport. That’s a rudderless boat sailing a circular course, ’round and around and around, no point of entry in sight.

        At this point in American political history the major parties have strayed too far from their original platforms. The Democratic and Republican Parties have been hijacked by Soecial interests and extremists. Politics and political commentary has become a “reality” show akin to “professional” wrestling, all flash and no substance. Trump’s supporters live vicariously through his thoughtless utterances.

        The local Democratic Party is no better. Little Joe Ganim conned and bribed his way back to City Hall. Now we’re stuck with a lame duck. The City Council is showing clear signs of independence from Mario Testa. After Eneida Martinez’s comments Marcus Brown picked up the WPCA fee collections issue. The established old boy’s club is fighting back. R. Christopher Meyer, Russell Liskov and Mark Anastasi of the city’s legal department are employing all manner of distraction and intimidation in an effort to head off a City Council investigation into Judah Epstein’s profitable relationship with the WPCA. (I’m reminded of a story about a city sheriff named Valentine that falsified documents to acquire motor vehicles for resale, vehicles with outstanding tax debts.)

    • Marshall Marcus

      @Ethan
      You raise some good points. I hate WPCA fees…what we pay in Trumbull is outrageous because we pay to treat water never sent into the system, but used to water lawns and fill pools.

      That said, The interest on past due WPCA fees is pegged to the rate a municipality charges on delinquent taxes. BUT WPCA fees are user fees, they are NOT taxes. If you own a property or a vehicle you get a tax bill for a percentage of its market value at the municipality
      s mil rate.
      One only gets a WPCA bill if one has city water. The fee is based on use. Use more water requiring treatment you get a higher bill.
      The owner of vacant land gets a property tax bill but no WPCA fees are billed.

      The Mayor has authority to issue tax and/or relief to the indigent, but WPCA fees although mandatory are not taxes.

      Here in Trumbull, there are still people with wells who do not buy from Aquarion and save on WPCA fees.

      BTW>>>Years ago when I lived and paid WPCA fees in New Haven, my CPA listed them as taxes on my Federal Tax return. The IRS was very quick to disallow this as user fees are not taxes. The agent during the audit compared these fees to tolls on I-95 (which were still in place). You don’t want to pay the tolls, don’t use the road.

      • Frank Gyure

        Marshal Marcus..how is it that in the past I was able to deduct WPCA “fees” as TAXES on my Federal Income Tax Filing. However,due to the new Trump limits,my standard property taxes will go over the limits and I will no longer be able to claim WPCA fees/taxes because property taxes eat up what I am allowed.

        • Marshall Marcus

          In an audit back in the early 80s these fees were disallowed by IRS as not being taxes. They were user fees based on consumption. Not all taxes were deductible through 2017. One could not deduct car taxes on more than 2 cars

        • Marshall Marcus

          @Frank Gyure
          “able to deduct WPCA “fees” as taxes”
          Should I assume you mean you were not audited and they were not disallowed?
          The fact that your tax preparer chose to treat a fee as a tax does not in fact make the fee deductible as a tax. Sometimes preparers look at the risk and feel the chance of it raising a red flag is so small, they take it.

      • Ethan Book

        Thank you, Marshall! This is one area where there needs to be an extreme makeover! This is the time to do it!

  • Frank Gyure

    The entire WPCA/ City Attorney’s Office/City Tax Collector’s Office/Juda Epstein cabal just stinks to high heaven. The City Council has not looked at the stink from the myriad entanglements of the car tax booting scheme involving Mid-Town Towing and extra companies as well. Not enough attention has been paid to the involvement of City Tax Collector Veronica Jones and how she drops the ball in both WPCA and car-booting issues. Let’s remember there has already been an arrest in the car-booting scheme.

  • Ethan Book

    TBK, I keep all options open but, regarding Party affiliation, I prefer to work to make the Republican Party stronger. Unlike Tom White, I don’t focus so much on what people haven’t done or what I don’t like about them, rather I consider what they haven’t done and try to work with them to do more in favor of the community! Right now, the issues are about the WPCA crisis to unravel and understand what is being done to make it more useful for all!

    • Ron Mackey

      Ethan, we ALL see that you want to be a big fish in a small pond of the Republican Party do that you can be the man, that’s what is called a fools choice.

      • Ethan Book

        Ron, with the respect that is due, you seem to have made a judgment about me that I should not be in the Republican Party. I don’t mind suggestions, but you have neither a proper basis nor authority to make such a judgment. Then, to support your judgement, you make inferences about me for which there are no rational bases and you contort your arguments in a matter attempting to force me to yield to your view. To make myself clear, I first decide on the best public policies. I then consider the best vehicle to promote such policies. All this is within my discretion.

        • Ron Mackey

          Ethan, as a Republican what have done anything that benefited the voters in Bridgeport?

          • Ethan Book

            After hearing in the Hollow NRZ of concerns about the degrading matter of hanging sneakers from telephone lines, I went out to Home Depot and bought equipment and I removed a dozen pairs of hanging sneakers. I also have participated with the Hollow NRZ in neighborhood clean-up. I’ve financially aided numerous homeless individuals.

          • The Bridgeport Kid

            Very cool, Ethan. I’m sure Little Joe Ganim will present you with an award thanking you for your efforts at containing the spread of athletic foot ware in the Hollow.

            Get real. Removing sneakers from utility cables? Giving spare change to bums? Golly Bill, ain’t you the king of altruism. The joke’s on you, Ethan. The money you gave to homeless people was spent on cigarettes, malt liquor and cheap vodka.

            The BRTC has accomplished nothing, done nothing to improve the quality of life in Bridgeport. The committee is just another club for old school white middle class bigots.

          • Ethan Book

            TBK, the value of what I did in removing the many hanging sneakers in the Hollow should not be demeaned. The Hollow NRZ members had contacted the fire department, the police department and the electric company. They all declined to help. Many Hollow residents appreciated what I did. What I did was an improvement on the cleanliness and quality of the community. It was a step forward. Perhaps a small step but a good step forward.

            You have no basis to say that what I have given to homeless was used on cigarettes and booze. Normally, before I give to a person, I talk with them to screen them. I ask questions to get a sense. Doing that, there are some for whom I decline assistance and some that I help. You can’t say that all homeless are in their distressed situation simply because of their irresponsibility. It is a known fact that some have simply fallen on hard times and need a helping hand. What I have done is a positive step forward, perhaps a small one but a real step forward!

  • The Bridgeport Kid

    I’m registered as “unaffiliated” because neither major party is more “right” than the other. The

  • Tom White

    For those who may find this dialogue amusing, Ethan Book presented the Bridgeport Republican Town Committee a manifesto on the collection and foreclosure practices of the WPCA he prepared and expected the RTC to adopt as a formal position.

    The Chairman appointed an ad-hoc committee to review it and determine if the RTC should take a public position based on Ethan Book’s manifesto.

    The committee concluded that it lacked solid evidence and it reflected Ethan Book’s opinion based on hearsay and innuendo.

    Ethan was the one descending vote of the committee report recommending no action by the RTC given this is an ordinance matter to be addressed by the city council.

    Ethan Book was admonished for addressing the city council and inferring he spoke for the RTC and was encouraged to address this matter personally if he wished.

    • The Bridgeport Kid

      Doo dah, doo dah…

    • Ethan Book

      Once again, Tom makes statements that are false and misleading. It is true that in February 2017 the RTC accepted my proposal to set up an ad-hoc sub-Committee to draft a statement for the City Council, the statement intended to recommend that the City Council review and investigate the WPCA and to make proposals. The RTC “members” appointed to the ad-hoc committee were Tom White, Jonathan Klein and me. After only two months, Tom proposed that the Committee be disbanded with explanation that he was disappointed that the City Attorney had not yet responded to the Council’s request to draft wording for an Ordinance amendment to require a WPCA mediation program before any collection or foreclosure fees be imposed to the WPCA user. Tom’s recommendation had nothing to do with me not presenting supporting evidence. Also, it’s curious that, during that discussion, Tom admitted that he had had prior conversation with Chairman Garrett regarding his proposal. The two known Garrett loyalists, Tom and Jonathan, voted in favor of that proposal. I was the dissenting vote. In addition, neither Tom nor Jonathan have disputed the issue that neither one of them was appointed to the RTC in accord with party Bylaws. Additionally, it is curious that Tom also proposed that, in announcing the proposal to disband the ad-hoc committee to the RTC, the Chairman would say that I misrepresented public comments to the City Council by saying that I said that my public comments on WPCA represented the ad-hoc Committee. After I explained that I had never made such a misrepresentation, Chairmsn Garrett failed to include Tom’s suggestion in his announcement to the RTC. Once again, Tom’s statement is false. In looking at all this, one begins to wonder what is Tom’s agenda!

  • Ron Mackey

    Let’s say that the Bridgeport Republican Town Committee excepted Ethan Book formal position the WPCA he prepared and to have this ordinance matter to be addressed by the city council, what would the council do with Ethan Book’s proposal? Nothing.

    • Ethan Book

      Ron, absent the proposal by the RTC ad-hoc Committee as I had proposed, Tom also suggested that the RTC support me in reviewing and exposing matters of the WPCA and city tax lien issues. I continued to to do with several pointed requests for public information, review of various complaints of Bridgeport residents, and continued urging of several council members. The more aggressive position that the Council Ordinance Committee took at its January 23rd meeting and at the Monday Special Session was, in part, a result of my persistence. Also, Ron, it is a serious mistake that you assume that the City Council would do nothing. While I also at times have been disappointed with Council action, I take the position that they have a responsibility to do right and that they might do right. There is a greater probability that they will do right when we expect that it will be done! There are various good, conscientious Council members including several new members. This is the prime time to press for and expect excellence!

  • Ron Mackey

    Ethan, I’ve asked you 5 times to tell me where, anywhere in America where the population is majority black and Hispanic and the leadership of that city is being run by Republicans? But you think that you have the ability to become the first Republican to change that even though Republicans are out number by 10 to 1. You have the President of the Untied States of America making racist comments and he’s the leader of the Republican Party and the Republican leadership in America is totally silent but you think that blacks will over look the action of the head of the Republican Party, 45, and turn around and listen to you and overthrow Democrats in Bridgeport and vote in Republicans? You need to take your meds because you refuse to be realistic and who can respect someone like that, sad.

    • Ethan Book

      No, Ron! You only asked me that question three times and three times by my responses, I made the question irrelevant. The real issue is not that some major urban centers in the U.S. have Democrat mayors. The real issue is what the Democrat leaders have to show their communities that they have done to improve the conditions of their constituents. You haven’t responded to that. Actually, their consistently poor record shows that there is opportunity for good opposition including good Republican messages and voices. You harp on a ten to one Democrat to Republican ratio in Bridgeport as though that would prevent a Republican from being elected in Bridgeport. However, Republicans have been elected in Bridgeport, even recently. Don’t disregard the large numbers of independent and unaffiliated voters and a growing number of disaffected Democrats; also the high level of voter apathy among urban voters. Now, at least three times, without addressing my good points, you have made commeats which bring into question my mental health. Without you having given more rational responses, you comments are illogical, reflect an unfounded bias, are a defensive knee-jerk drop back position which I would call ad hominem.

      • Ron Mackey

        Ethan, the Democrats have shown nothing but with Paul Ryan and 45 they will complete their plan getting rid of Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and welfare, that’s their master plan. As for 45, he has long been a racist but now he has the power. Ethan you stay right where you are with your racist friends

  • Ethan Book

    Ron, I will stay with the party of Lincoln, the party which ended slavery. While I do that, I will work with some good Democrats such as Marcus Brown of the City Council to resolve some knotty issues regarding the WPCA!

    • Ron Mackey

      Ethan,it has been a 153 years since Abe Lincoln was President and until 1960 most black voters in America we’re Republicans President Johnson sign the Civil Rights Law in 1965 and​ 1965 when the South turned Republicans and the north turned Democrats as did blacks. The Party of Lincoln is now the Party of 45 and Republicans like you are tided to 45 and blacks can’t trust or vote for 45 and his Party, the Party of 45 and you are apart of his mindset.

  • Ethan Book

    Ron, ending slavery was just a start. Regarding the Civil Rights Act under Johnson, they were Republicans who broke the filibuster of southern Democrats who didn’t want the act to come to a vote. Also, although there were more Democrat votes in Congress than Republicans in favor of the Act, that was because there were more Democrats in Congress than Democrats. In fact, the percentage of Republicans who voted in favor was greater than the percentage of Democrats who voted in favor. Also, 45 supports the sanctity of life. Now, again, at present, our task is for a multi-partisan effort to correct the myriad problems of the WPCA!

    • Ron Mackey

      Ethan, you didn’t address President Johnson sign the Civil Rights Law in 1965 and​ 1968 when the South turned Republicans and the north turned Democrats as did blacks all because blacks were given civil rights like the ability to vote. The Republican Party to this very day is gerrymandering, voter suppression, redlining blacks. Ethan, remember this [white supremacists] ”very fine people” from Charlottesville, VA and Roy Moore “{pedofiles} are very fine people, that’s the 2018 Republican Party and I know that you are proud of this mindset.

  • Ethan Book

    Ron, nearly every group has a fringe element; re: antifa !!

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