Mayor: Take Back Our Neighborhoods, Plus: Himes’ District Traveling Show, And OIB One Million

When crime becomes cranky, it’s difficult for any pol to manage. It can take on a life of its own. Mayor Bill Finch wants to show it’s a fight he’ll take on.

The mayor and Acting Police Chief Joe Gaudett scheduled a press conference today at 5:30 to share initiatives to combat the recent spike in violent crime. From the mayor:

Mayor Finch, Community Leaders to Join in Call to “Take Back Our Neighborhoods”

Acting Police Chief Joseph Gaudett, along with Mayor Finch and community leaders will map out the police department’s crime reduction initiatives during a press conference on Wednesday, Aug. 25 at 5:30 p.m. at Police Headquarters, 300 Congress St., Bridgeport CT.

At the press conference, Acting Chief Gaudett will outline his plan to help engage the community and educate youth in an effort to reduce violent crime in the City. Also joining the Acting Chief, will be Bridgeport Housing Authority Executive Director Nicholas Calace, neighborhood block watch captains from throughout the City and clergy community leaders.

The Acting Chief and Calace will discuss details of the gun buyback program, for which the Housing Authority is donating $5,000 in seed money to get the program off the ground.

Himes On District Run

Congressman Jim Himes has his own battle … for his political life. With Republican Dan Debicella on his tail in what is shaping up as a close November election, Himes wants to show his constituents he’s accessible and in touch. He’s on day two of visiting the 17 communities in Connecticut’s 4th Congressional District in 17 days. Whew! That’s some traveling show, Jimmy. Bridgeport is a key piece of Himes’ campaign fight (district office and campaign headquarters in the Park City) and he’ll be back Thursday at 3 p.m. for his 17 stops in 17 days tour visiting the new extension of the Park City Primary Care Center, 64 Black Rock Avenue. Himes helped secure moolah for the health center expansion.

Nearing One Million

Big hug to OIB friend Tom Dudchik master of who often highlights OIB news on his prolific site of Connecticut political quick hits. If you haven’t checked out CT Capitol Report it’s a must for your favorites. Thanks to loyal OIB readers and referrals from folks such as Tom, OIB is closing in on one million pageviews since we started, not bad for an independent webzine! So thanks everyone. When we hit one million, which will be soon, we’ll offer a special prize. How about dinner with Yahooy and Anna?

Kudos To Birks

Sorry to hear Carol Birks leaving Harding High. Met her a few times. Super smart, lots of energy. From Linda Conner Lambeck, CT Post:

Harding High School Principal Carol Birks has resigned, effective Wednesday, to take a job with Global Partnership Schools, the New York City-based group hired to restart the troubled high school.

Birks, a 1986 Harding graduate, has been its principal since 2007. She said the offer to work and be mentored by Global Partnership was made Monday and took her by surprise. She was given a night to sleep on it and accepted Tuesday.

In a three-paragraph letter the Harding community will receive on opening day, Birks called the chance to work at Global Partnership a unique opportunity to further her knowledge and learn from what she called “major intellectual giants in education.”

“It’s bittersweet. I love this school,” said Birks. “It’s sad. I’ll be honest with you. I have had the opportunity to work with some very talented people. I have been able to learn and grow with them.”

Until Global Partnership names a replacement principal, assistant principal Carmen McPherson will be the acting principal. School starts Wednesday for ninth graders and Thursday for grades 10 through 12.

Full story



  1. *** How many guns can you buy with $5,000? Not many, just political P/R with a lot of nonproductive talk. “COMMUNITY POLICING” during spring, summer, fall seasons is the ticket I say; back to basics & knowing the people in the neighborhoods. ***

  2. *** Bpt is slowly becoming a wasteland & possible ghost town of the future. *** Who’s to blame? Dems, Republicans, or Independents; or how about the voters who vote them in? *** What’s left in your wallet? ***

  3. “The Acting Chief and Calace will discuss details of the gun buyback program, for which the Housing Authority is donating $5,000 in seed money to get the program off the ground.”

    Is it April Fool’s Day? Acting Police Chief Joseph Gaudett should slap the handcuffs on Calace and charge him with conspiracy to murder. Over Ten years ago, Bridgeport Narcotics and Vice Detective Ralph Villegas retired from the force and was hired by the Bridgeport Housing Authority to run its security. The first thing he did was fire the Security company in all Bridgeport Housing Authority sites. My brother and sister were two of the guards who lost their jobs. In the meantime, Villegas is close to his second pension with all that blood on his hands. My brother was stationed at the Greens Homes and there were cameras with videos the Bridgeport Police would look at when there was an incident. My brother also covered 376 Washington Avenue and when the security firm was let go, Villegas had the Seniors in the building doing the watch, just like the City and Housing are proposing today. If it never worked before, what makes them think it will work now and for how long will it last?
    The day after I left to Maryland and delivered the infamous guillotine to a collector, a pregnant woman and her 79-year-old grandmother were butchered by the girl’s boyfriend in Marina Village. How many more people must be butchered before these geniuses come up with the idea of a Knife buy-back program? It would work just as effectively as the Gun buy-back program. I prefer the Connecticut Post Guy buy-back program. The City can buy back all the Guys (fathers) of all those kids running amok in the city and force them to take responsibility for their kids. Five thousand dollars? For $200, I’ll make five (5) guillotines guaranteed to chop off an index finger in one strike. I assure you all you’ll see “Speedy” results.

  4. Enforcement of all types in this city has gone to hell in a handbasket.
    The police department is being run by a bunch of hand-wringers who seem to think block watch is the answer to the crime problem. You can have all the watchers you want but if you have no one to respond to their calls what good is it?
    We already have community policing, How’s that working out? Call a spade a spade if you don’t have police on patrol and in sufficient numbers you are whistling in the wind.
    Block watch is great until you have to wait for an extended period of time for a response. Have that happen a few times and block watch is dead. You can’t expect the 21 heroes on patrol to answer more calls than they already are.
    There is no zoning enforcement to speak of. The excuse I get is they are undermanned. Bullshit. Get out of the office and drive around the city the violations are there for the taking. I see them every day, day after day.
    Blight enforcement while being done could do more and be more aggressive.
    Arson investigation non-existant by the city major fires are done by the State Fire Marshal’s office. To me that is an insult to the Fire department.
    Health Code and building code enforcement for all intents and purposes all they do is go through the motions.
    The BOE breaks the law every weekend when they let a church group use Longfellow school for church services. They never heard of the separation of church and state?
    Start enforcing all of the quality-of-life issues and violations and continue with other enforcement duties. THIS CITY HAS FAILED MISERABLY IN BASIC ENFORCEMENT OF LAWS AND CODES.

    1. Should we be worried about the level of debt carried by the City? If you were to consult the General Fund Budget – Summary and Accounting Policies we would understand that as of June, 2008 we were at long-term debt of $689.8 million related to governmental activities with another $52.7 million related to business type activities. The overall statutory debt limit is equal to seven times annual receipts from taxation, approximately $1,600,000,000.
      This morning the CT Post reported the city claimed $654 million City debt as a reason for certain activities and staffing at the Emergency Operations Center. The Board of Labor Relations decided the debt did not exhibit a case of extreme emergency as the City maintained. Kind of talking out of both sides of your mouth at budget time not talking about City debt and then when it serves your purpose terming that amount an extreme condition?
      In terms of TC’s complaint about City process and enforcement of same, the Budget Summary comments on the UNDESIGNATED FUND BALANCE POLICY–“The sum of all components identified for the undesignated fund balance level will be set at no less than 8.0% of annual operating expenditures and other financing uses of the prior audited fiscal year with the annual approval by the City Council. In the event that the undesignated fund balance exceeds 12% … ” We should be so well run and fiscally sound. Anyway, as we sit here it seems that the fund balance sits at around 2% and “replenshment of shortfall” is not an announced or high priority though it is City policy. Integrity? Or hypocrisy?

  5. From Mojo–
    *** Bpt is slowly becoming a wasteland & possible ghost town of the future. *** Who’s to blame? Dems, Republicans, or Independents; or how about the voters who vote them in? *** What’s left in your wallet? ***

    Mojo–I couldn’t agree more. My only tweak to your comment would involve the use of the words “Slowly becoming.”

    I fear we’ve already arrived.

    The question is what people are going to do about it.

    I suggest everyone start demanding better candidates, maybe with qualifications other than being a TC member or the third cousin married to the sister of an uncle no one has seen in decades.

    Think about electing people as “hiring” people. Can someone walk into a major corporation and get a job just because they think it’s a “nice place to work?”

    There used to be a time when the newspaper listed the major taxpayers in town. Usually they were the major employers, too.

    I suspect government is the major employer and they are the ones drooling as they say “What’s in your wallet!”

  6. Gee, dinner with Yahooy and Anna. That’s a real prize, Lennie. Where are you taking everybody? To the Seaside hotdog stand during the first nor’easter of the fall?

  7. *** That’s all CT needs, another GOP obstructionist with a political vote! *** Not all neighborhoods have community police who are actually walking the city streets, it works! Also you can’t stop every drug-related crime with just signs that say “Neighborhood Watch!” You have to know your neighbors as well as the community police in the area. It’s called communication & in this day & age, it’s only a cell phone away! 50% blame lies with the average city residents looking the other way & not wanting to get involved. Do we need “Big Brother” watching over our shoulders 24/7? ***

  8. Gaudett will blow smoke up their rear ends like he always does. He is nothing more than the Mayors puppet. Here it is Bridgeport … crime is on the rise because cops hate this “actor” and morale is low. Cops want him out. He does not support his cops and chooses sides with city government on all issues. He hides from everyone in H.Q. and sneaks in so he won’t have to answer any questions. Why? Because he is clueless! Case in point. The new 911 center he was told needed to be staffed by cops or it violated union contract. He assured the Mayor he would keep the cops out (public safety be damned) just as his puppet master wanted. HE LOST! More taxpayer cash down the tubes. This is one of many grievances he’s lost at taxpayer expense. Cops have no respect for him and are running the asylum as they know he is too scared to discipline them. He passes the buck. Good luck Bpt.


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