OIB Archive: ‘A Land Swap For You! Carve Up The City–Abolish The Board of Education’

Bridgeport map
Be careful what you wish for.

CT Post columnist MariAn Gail Brown writes that the City of Bridgeport should be dissolved as a result of the state takeover of city schools.

In the be-careful-what-you-wish-for category, here’s the OIB post from March 29, 2011. Eek!

All this talk about land swaps between Bridgeport and Trumbull has me thinking (always a peculiar thing) back to the days of State Rep. Lee Samowitz. Twenty years ago or so Lee proposed the ultimate land swap. Divide Bridgeport into the suburbs. Before there was a Bridgeport there was a Stratfield. City proper as we know it today was controlled by Stratford to the east and Fairfield to the west. Bridgeport was incorporated as a town in 1821 and a city in 1836, 175 years ago. Damn Stratford left all the bridges to Bridgeport.

Just think of the possibilities if Bridgeport were carved up into suburban towns so reliant on the city’s regional services. I’m open to suggestions about the configuration. I spoke to former Black Rock City Councilman Pat Crossin about this and he said, “As long as Black Rock goes to Fairfield I don’t care what happens.” I’m sure State Rep. Auden Grogins, the blonde banshee from Black Rock, would also be fine with that. Let the annexation begin.

Okay, Fairfield gets Black Rock. But how far east do you go? How about all the way to Park Avenue? That way Fairfield absorbs P.T. Barnum Apartments, Captain’s Cove Seaport (Kaye Williams would be happy with that), the Aquaculture School and West End sewage treatment plant. But Fairfield would also get the regional garbage to energy plant in the  West End that generates $10 million per year in taxes to the city. So that’s not such a bad deal. Big win for Fairfield. Except they get all the beered-up Sacred Heart University kids living and creating havoc in the North End. We would need to gerrymander the carve-up to make sure Fairfield gets the party students.

What about Trumbull which sends Bridgeport all of its poop? Since the West End sewage treatment plant is now in Fairfield proper, Trumbull can negotiate sludge fees with Fairfield. Trumbull absorbs its Bridgeport piece with a straight shot down Main Street taking in the North End all the way to UB and Seaside Park, and east to the Pequonnock River.

It will now be called the Trumbull Bluefish. Trumbull gets all of downtown, ballpark, arena, Housatonic Community College, all the courthouses too. Trumbull also snags City Hall and the annex which are up for sale. Instant revenue. By this configuration, Trumbull also inherits developer Sal DiNardo so he then can negotiate his tax deals with First Selectman Tim Herbst. Good luck to both of you! Sal’s sister Nancy, Democratic State Party Chair, lives in Trumbull. I assume she won’t mind her brother as a resident business. Oh, that’s right, Sal’s main office would be in Trumbull but he has properties all over the city so he would negotiate tax breaks with Trumbull, Fairfield and Stratford which inherits the old Remington plant. Former State Rep. Chris Caruso also becomes a resident of Trumbull so he can scream about corruption there.

Everything east of the Pequonnock River goes to Stratford which means they get Bearsdsley Park and zoo, Pleasure Beach, the airport, the East End sewage treatment plant and Bridgeport Hospital. Stratford also absorbs former State Senator Ernie Newton, City Councilman Bob Curwen and Democratic town committee member Andy Fardy. (That scream you just heard came from Andy for putting him in the same sentence with Curwen.) Bill Finch would also become a resident of Stratford. Bill can then challenge Stratford Republican Mayor John Harkins for the top job there.

What about the Bridgeport Board of Education? Hey, here’s a solution … abolish it. No one wants it. Let the towns take it over. No wait, here’s a better idea, let the state take it over. The Bridgeport BOE really doesn’t report to anyone. Certainly not to the mayor financially as the school system does in New Haven. It doesn’t work. Let the state have at it.

And here’s the best part of this land swap, Democratic Town Chair Mario Testa goes to Monroe! Isn’t he there anyway?

Comments associated with archival post here.



  1. Black Rock always thought they were Fairfield, it’s a good fit now they can really be part of Fairfield.
    As far as the North End goes, good riddance. They always thought they were better than the rest of Bridgeport, wait until they find out they are not. Wow.
    It’s time for the suburbs to find out how hard Bridgeport is to manage, wait until they see all the halfway houses and tax-free properties. Wait until they see all of the tax-exempt streetcorner churches they will be getting.
    Best of all Local Eyes will be part of the North End, they deserve each other.
    Can we move tomorrow?

      1. I don’t know anything about political fights–and I don’t know why the North End is getting attacked–I can immediately identify three items the North End has had to deal with–the continued assault on open space (i.e. Veteran’s Memorial Park, the onslaught of SHU students in single-family houses in single-family neighborhoods and the commercial development of residential property–I think the upper East Side is a great place–close to Beardsley Park and not far from Boston Ave commercial zone but otherwise suburban.

        The North End, like the upper East Side, has great single-family housing and a glut of Condos–we should be united to our support of other areas of town so all boats rise–not trying to sink each other when the real challenge is outside our borders–like Tim Herbst in Trumbull who is throwing a baby tantrum.

    1. No more problems trying to figure out East End relative to East Side, etc.

      And just think, does Bill Finch end up with Tim Herbst as municipal leader? Or what?

    2. tc–it’s Black Rock that thinks it’s better than the rest of us. I have NO PROBLEM moving to Trumbull–as long as I don’t have a mortgage!!!

    3. town committee reserves a special brand of vitriol just for me. In his book, I’m special. That’s nice.

      But no matter how they redistrict me, my awesomeness will override any boundary designed to limit my ability. It might even work to my political advantage. Opportunity favors the prepared.

    1. flub,
      It is just possible the governance structures and two-party systems, such as they are, in our neighboring communities might be better up to the task of providing taxpayers with better, more open and accountable process in a transparent system than Bridgeporters are used to. Actually taxpayers are respected in these communities! What a concept?

  2. So the Allure strip club on East Main St. gets to move without lifting a finger–they’ll become a Trumbull business and taxpayer. (Doesn’t the owner live there?)

  3. Don’t stop there, some are now saying … the BOE was just abolished to Hartford and CT Post columnist MariAn Gail Brown says abolish the whole city.

    Why not abolish the whole state of Connecticut? Let the Feds take control of all of it. Maybe then we can at least get infrastructure improvement. Maybe then Congress can fix our Congress Street Bridge. A year ago Himes and Finch apparently got $450,000 toward construction of a new bridge, part of $40 million needed in total to rebuild. Recently a council of Mayors noted we build bridges in foreign countries all the time like in the middle east, but not in our own country.

  4. The not-nice way of saying this is simple: No one wants Bridgeport. Bridgeport was thrown out of Stratford and Fairfield. This includes Black Rock, so they might as well not put on too many airs.

    It should be remembered the idea for the City of Bridgeport came from several schemers meeting in a gin mill near Main and Golden Hill streets. They wanted to set up a city, borrow money against it, and finance a railroad.

    The railroad caused the city to go bankrupt. That was the first time the city went bankrupt.

    The whole enterprise was born in corruption.

    I ask you: Why change now?


Leave a Reply