Retired Superior Court Judge Carmen Lopez has stepped up on several occasions to leverage her legal might to the cause of rectifying government snafus such as parking meters and wastewater collection practices. Now a neighborhood cry has started urging her guidance to preserve a lot for Pleasure Beach parking in the East End, including an eminent domain battle. Lopez to the rescue? Not so fast, she declares, time for you to start pushing back. She writes to East End City Councilwoman Eneida Martinez, “Far from standing up to Mayor Ganim, all our City Council is capable of doing is standing behind him every time he needs props for his photo-ops.”
Martinez wrote this email to Lopez:
The East End Community, leaders and NRZ are calling out for your help into this most recent discovery of the parking lot that was suppose to be used for Pleasure Beach visitors. (CT. POST) Article today. We will like to eminent domain the land for public use, as I am sure the next step will be that the beach is not getting any usuage and they want to close it down. But the reality is that there is no parking. PLEASE HELP! I HAVE RECEIVE CALLS TO PLEASE CONTACT JUDGE LOPEZ.
Lopez issued this response to Martinez with some serious tough love.
I appreciate the trust and confidence of the community; thank you for conveying those sentiments to me.
You are correct!
The failure of the City of Bridgeport to secure title to the “Parking Lot” through use of the power of Eminent Domain, is an affront to the East End Community and to the entire City.
Evidently, Mayor Joe Ganim, Mario Testa, and the Democratic Political Machine in this City, are unwilling to employ Eminent Domain, and to take property belonging to the Julian Family for a “public purpose.”
Clearly, a parking lot which provides access to Pleasure Beach is a “public purpose.”
The Julian Family would receive “just compensation” under Eminent Domain, not an inflated hold-up price which would be paid by Bridgeport taxpayers, if a contract is “negotiated.”
It is not necessary for taxpayers to pay a ‘hold-up’ price to the Julian family, although I believe, this is the objective of all of this publicity. Mayor Ganim will wring his hands, and say, “we had to pay it,” will blame the previous administration and a “politically connected family” will obtain a windfall.
It might be interesting to know how much money members of the Julian family, or Julian Construction Company employees, have donated to Ganim for Governor.
The City of Bridgeport has every right to use the power of Eminent Domain in order to acquire this property. Mayor Ganim can immediately (TODAY) direct his City Attorney to begin Eminent Domain proceedings and therefore guarantee access to Pleasure Beach.
However, until public officials and community leaders are willing to stand up to Joe Ganim, Mario Testa, Chris Meyer and Mark Anastasi, I am not available to participate in meaningless chatter.
Since neither you, nor any member of City Council, seem willing or able to challenge Mayor Ganim’s political power, it would be futile for me to be a part of any effort.
Memories of the WPCA capitulation come to mind.
I have seen first hand, that when push comes to shove, no-one will stand up to Joe Ganim or the City Attorney’s Office in an effort to secure real change.
I am quite confident that no elected official or ‘community leader’ will demand that the Mayor take action or will introduce and secure passage of a City Council resolution authorizing such action.
Far from standing up to Mayor Ganim, all our City Council is capable of doing is standing behind him every time he needs props for his photo-ops.
This is an embarrassment and a disgrace which I cannot participate in.
As always, my heart goes out to the “real community;” someday it may be able to transform the city government of Bridgeport.
But today is not that day!