Newsroom Editing, SuBy’s Body Slam, Big Budget Week

Lots of trepidation in the Connecticut Post newsroom. On Friday the paper cut loose Business Editor Pam Dawkins, reporter Aaron Leo and tech editor Todd Hollis among 44 layoffs impacting Hearst-owned papers in Bridgeport, Greenwich, Stamford and Danbury.

Greenwich, Stamford and Danbury pubs took the biggest hit in the latest round of layoffs. The larger issue in the Bridgeport newsroom is what will come down the road as a Hearst letter to employees announced another round of 80 layoffs  on the horizon. It sucks to report and write with the layoff guillotine poised. Hearst owns a juicy triangle of papers in the wealthiest county in the country with a bottom line to prioritize in a languishing print media industry.

The days of family-owned and -operated print media are over, and management in charge is all about head over heart. The assimilation process among all the Hearst rags is well underway, just a matter of time before there’s one central paper with four different front pages.

What scribes remain for core city coverage in the Post newsroom? Veteran reporter Bill Cummings and impressive young scribe Keila Torres head the city hall coverage.  Linda Conner Lambeck does a nice job covering education. MariAn Gail Brown, one of the paper’s strongest writers, floats between city and regional stories. Mike Mayko and Dan Tepfer know the federal and state courts respectively as well as any in the state. Ken Dixon, arguably the paper’s strongest all-around journalist, covers lawmakers in Hartford. Other valued veteran scribes such as Tony Spinelli are running around doing a bunch of things.

The Post does not cover local politics regularly, a shame for Bridgeport readers but a plus for little ol’ me. Covering city hall does not mean you’re covering politics. They’re two different animals. In Bridgeport, politics drives the government. That’s not such a bad thing; depends on the judgment and ability of city decision makers. But where scrutiny lacks, opportunities exist for politicians.

OIB has built a nice little audience with new visitors each week, because the niche here focuses on politics and government, with an advocacy for all things the city. But I know if you think OIB sucks you will not return. No visitors, no platform, no webzine. So thank you for prying open the juicy stuff.

Speaking of juice … Secretary of State and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Susan Bysiewicz will invade Central High School today with WWE wrestlers Beth Phoenix and Kofi Kingston for Smack Down Your Vote, an effort to encourage students to register to vote, as part of a nationwide partnership with Nation Association of Secretaries of States.

Now, can you imagine madam secretary SuBy challenging Beth Phoenix to a no-holds-barred steel cage match? Sounds like something relentless campaigner SuBy would do. Me, I’d rather see a three-way cage match with her guber rivals Stamford Mayor Dan Malloy and former House Speaker Jim Amann. Let the eye-gouging (and wagering) begin.

Beth Phoenix
Beth Phoenix

Would you mess with this?

Speaking of wrestling …

Big week for the City Council’s Budget and Appropriations Committee to reviews budgets for police, economic development, and including the magilla public hearing for the combined city and Board of Education budget Wednesday 6 p.m. in council chambers on Lyon Terrace. Wonder how packed the BOE hearing will be? See schedule below:

· Monday, April 27, 6:00 pm, Wheeler Rooms A and B
Police Department

· Wednesday, April 29, 6:00 pm, City Council Chambers
Public Hearing BOE / City Budget

· Thursday, April 30, 6:30 pm, Wheeler Rooms A and B
OPED – All Divisions

· Friday, May 1, 6:00 pm, Wheeler Rooms A and B
CAO / OPM and Budget Overview

· Saturday, May 2, 11:00 am, Legislative Services Office
Budget Overview / Capital Vote

News release from Jim Himes

Himes Welcomes Bridgeport Close Up Students to Washington

Hands-on program gives at-risk students opportunity to understand government from hands-on experience

Washington, DC – Congressman Jim Himes welcomed Bridgeport students participating in Close Up’s See Government in Action program to Washington this past week. The students spent the week as part of Close Up’s “living classroom,” getting a hands-on look at how government works.

“It is an honor to be chosen to be in this program. I came in not knowing anyone, and now I’m meeting people from across the country who can share many sides to an argument. At the same time you get explore the beautiful city of Washington D.C., you have the chance to learn about politics. You may enter not know anything, and you come back home with a whole new experience to share,” said Alexia Trujillo student from Central High school in Bridgeport.

The students met with Congressman Himes in the Capitol, where they were able to discuss with him their priorities as young adults facing the challenges of education and what to do when they graduate. Many are involved in ABCD’s after school programs.

“I hope our students at the end of the program finish inspired to participate in our democracy , well informed , empowered, and engaged,” said Felipe Reinoso, founder of Close Up’s See Government in Action program. “I’m grateful to our leadership at the local, state and national levels that where part of the training and the support of the Bridgeport Public Schools, Bridge Academy, and ABCD.”

Formed in 1971, Close Up is a nonprofit that exists to educate and inspire young people to participate in the democratic process. Close Up aims to fulfill their mission with exciting, hands-on programs for students and teachers in Washington. Using the city as a living classroom, students have unique access to the people, processes and places that make up the nation’s capital.

“Seeing first-hand, the amazing times we’re living in gives students insight into the working and political world like no text book can,” said Congressman Himes. “I applaud this program and its new alumni for taking action to learn about their government.”

“Wow! I would have never believe that our government can be so interesting and fun,” said Tykeem Elliott, student of Bridge Academy in Bridgeport.

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21 comments

  1. The Connecticut Post has moved away from local coverage and taken more of a national type coverage.
    Looking at this paper you see very little if any coverage of politics, crime and what’s going on in Bridgeport and its contiguous neighbors.
    Here is an example, have you read anything about what is taking place at the budget hearings? Very little if anything.
    You have read what is going on with the master plan and rewrite but no information on Why.
    The Post needs to get more involved in local stories people are watching cable news for what’s going on nationally.

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    1. town committee said: “The Connecticut Post has moved away from local coverage and taken more of a national type coverage.”

      It’s all a matter of money. Reporters cost money. You don’t need any reporters on staff to run national items you take off the AP and other news feeds.

      So if you fire all your reporters to save money, then there’s no one left to chase the local stories. All you’ve got left for “news” is what comes in over the wire.

      Oh yeah, and the Op-Ed section. Write a letter to the editor. Bet they’ll run it!

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  2. The Oracle of Omaha Steaks!

    Hey Grin! If this is true then there is a real Swine Flu percolating in the Finch administration. Something’s not Kosher with lack of public comment on addenda to the master plan. Sounds like the old master bait and switch.

    I don’t know about Rizio and consulting with P & Z. I do know that his favorite Chinese restaurant is Gerry Mandarin!

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  3. – Tuesday April 28 –
    On the live TV Show “Bridgeport Now”

    The Bridgeport Historical Society Tour of (Little) Liberia with Charles Brilvitch. Learn how “Park City” got its name and other interesting stuff. Also, more Pleasure Beach.

    The WPCA story is postponed until further notice.

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  4. The CT Post coverage of City Hall and local news is disappointing to say the least. I look to OIB for news much more than the Post. I don’t know whether there is no good investigative reporting or if the stories are squashed. I do know that several employees talk to Bill Cummings about a lot of stuff that never gets printed. I miss the old days when reporters loved gossip and scandal and wrote true gritty stories. Politicians feared being exposed by the press. No more.

    This Charlie-Lisa thing is a perfect example. The CitiStat fiasco is another. The old-time reporters would have jumped all over this. Love triangle, man leaves wife for girlfriend, girlfriend gets big increase in salary and big decrease in responsibilities. Gomes gets hired and assumes that Lisa is a qualified admin asst and asks her to actually work. Charlie steps in and Gomes gets a 2-day suspension. Gomes, BTW, has made some damn good suggestions on how to improve the functioning of Public Facilities. Now, any decent reporter would 1) do a salary history on Lisa, focusing on the beginning of her “friendship” with Charlie and see if there’s any correlation between her relationship and her raises, 2) get a list of Gomes’ recommendations and see if there’s any merit to them and 3) put Finch on the spot as to why the recommendations are not being implemented.

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    1. CHSmoker, you make some very important observations once again. I know that a number of the folks you talk about have close friendships with CT Post staff. Now some of that staff is gone so it will be interesting to see if they continue to receive favored protection. A lot of good does happen in Bridgeport but the nonsense that you accurately point out disgusts people and is terrible for morale. I did not know Lisa whatever her last name is had any attachment to the Ganims. I never heard that. There are others that have received big raises (Andy Nunn, Mike Feeney and the rest of the upper management team). Many of them make as much if not more than the Mayor. It would have been good if Mayor Finch held off on these raises. He would have had more credibility with the workers. It is common knowledge that Andy Nunn started at a salary at least 10-12,000 dollars less than what he’s making now. He could have waited a few years (like police officers and others) for his raise. I know he has a family but so do others.

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  5. city hall smoker,

    I agree with everything you said but want to ask …
    Is the CC-Lisa thing unique? Is it different from the other relationships that exist in city hall (husbands and wives, family members, etc)? No credibility or ethics in the civil service process? No one to take the issue of nepotism?

    What’s sad is that everyone knows about all the games, and rather than try to stand up and do the right thing, we allow more people to wallow in the mud.

    How about a list of everyone in B’port government and politics and a list of their family or “love” interests also involved … might need a special edition of the Post!!!

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    1. Good point. That’s what happens when there’s only a one-party government. There’s no checks and balances. No one to raise the injustices. They are either afraid of Mario or looking to see what they can get for themselves, wife, girlfriend …

      Lennie, tell us more about Marc Delmonico. I never voted Republican in my life but just may start. Is he considering running?

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    1. Charlie Carroll and Lisa I’d-rather-not-say. She has some kind of connection to Ganim, that’s how she came to it. No skills, no job experience. Started at a salary in the $20s. Charlie took a likin’ to her, divorced his wife and now Lisa is making $60+. A $40,000 increase in a few short years.

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  6. *** This CT Post thing, like the swine flu, is catchy to say the least! Seems like it’s also affecting the blogging on OIB lately? Need to get an interesting book to read ’cause most of the OIB news is the same old he said, she said, he supposedly did this & she’s to blame for that! WoW! *** Forget about it! *** All my Children’s got nothing on “OIB”! ***

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  7. OK … enough … I am in need of a job … please tell me who at City Hall I need to screw .. times are bad … have to do what I have to do? Payoff $60K? … I can live with that …

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    1. *** You can start with C.H.S. she seems to have nothing better to do but gossip about people she sees periodically @ work & smiles a friendly hello smile, “how are you” then talks about them on OIB! Typical Bitch, nags about the same shit every day too! ***

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  8. I thought City Hall Smoker was a man. Mojo, why do you assume CHS is a woman? Why are you so upset by what CHS writes? I thought you were a person who believed in cleaning up City Hall? Is he/she picking on someone unfairly? Is what is being said not true? I don’t remember CHS attacking you or …

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  9. *** Try reading 4 blogs up, anyone can disagree about an opinion & state their reasons without being disrespectful while doing it! Yet I know that many of the things she blogs are true or so it seems depending on who it is. But it does get old after awhile complaining about the same people, especially when there’s lots of deception going on in many city depts. by many other employees, etc. Always is, always will be depending on who you’re talking with! None of these things are new, just different players & now there’s an OIB forum venue to vent on about it. Remember, it’s very easy to call people names, and assume they’re guilty of this or that wrongdoing behind a web-site mask. I don’t disrespect bloggers on this forum unless they’ve drawn “first blood”! ***

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  10. “Bridgeport Now” tonight at 8pm May 5th.

    Connecticut Community Boating.

    “As you may know Connecticut Community Boating is a new organization and our mission is to provide every child in the Greater Bridgeport Area with access to the sport of sailing and Long Island Sound. We now have a community facility in Seaside Park, a fleet of more than 50 vessels and enough kids in our area who have never been on Long Island Sound to staff a fleet of Aircraft Carriers.”

    www .ctcommunityboating.org

    “Bridgeport Now” LIVE Tuesdays at 8pm on Ch 77
    Netcast: 216.41.34.230/svorg/svtheater.html

    “Bridgeport Now” is a weekly public-access TV show serving the community and helping make Bridgeport a better place.

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