Do you have an extra $500 hanging around? If so, Mayor Bill Finch is throwing a little party March 19 at Testo’s Restaurant.
Hizzoner is beginning the process to load up the campaign treasury for 2011. And why not? He controls the candy store, although there’s not as much sugar to go around. Still, he’s the mayor and it’s a good time to bulge the campaign account two years before the next campaign cycle begins.
The mayor is doing a little juggling act maintaining his relationships with former party chairman John Stafstrom and current leader Mario Testa so throwing the fundraiser at Mario’s restaurant is a good thing to keep up appearances that the party is one big happy family even though it’s more like sticking needles in each other’s voodoo doll.
The interplay between Stafstrom and Mario is always remarkable, has been for years. They chat only when they have to and sometimes it’s like a deep freeze blowin’ in from Antarctica. Stafstrom introduced Finch at the mayor’s State of the City address to the business community the other day. John is a big player in the business sector as a partner in the respected law firm Pullman & Comley, the city’s bond counsel.
Stafstrom introduces Finch while Mario, as party chair, sits nearby as a guest of the mayor. Stafstrom and Mario are both smart pols. That’s part of doing mayoral business. John introduces me, and then I throw an event at Mario’s restaurant. And, maybe, Mario will sell a few tickets. (He can sell a whole bunch if wants to.)
Maybe they’ll raise some extra slush in the campaign account in lieu of the mayor spending $11,000 traveling on city business as Bill Cummings from the CT Post chronicled on Sunday. The mayor attending government conferences to build relationships that can help the city is legit. It’s when he spends $500 for a hotel room at a time the city’s suffering financially and eliminating jobs that drives voters crazy.
Maybe I’ll crash the mayor’s party March 19 before attending the Art Garfunkel concert at the Klein that night. Can’t wait to hear him sing Bridge Over Troubled Water. Maybe I can persuade Stafstrom amd Mario to sing that together at the mayor’s fundraiser. That would be some high note.
Mo and I dined at Épernay Saturday night. That whole restaurant district on Fairfield Avenue that includes Épernay, Café Roma, Two Boots and Joseph’s Steakhouse was jammin’. Nice to see the activity. There’s also a new coffee house next to Épernay. Good stuff.
Special Service Director
The Downtown Special Services District has hired a new director to oversee clean-up, security and marketing of the central business district. This is the position previously occupied by recently dethroned state representative Bob Keeley who took a city teaching position. The new guy will be paid $65K. See DSSD news release below.
Bridgeport’s Downtown Special Services District Hires New Managing Director
BRIDGEPORT, Conn. – February 16, 2009 – Bridgeport’s Downtown Special Services District (DSSD) is pleased to announce the hiring of Rick Myers as managing director effective March 2, 2009. Myers brings more than 12 years of experience in the planning, administration and execution of successful community relations and business development programs. A resident of Stratford, he most recently served as executive director of Wallingford Center, Inc.
“We are very excited to bring Rick’s enthusiasm and creativity to the DSSD,” said David Levine, DSSD Vice Chairman and Chair of the search committee that hired Myers. “Our search committee was very impressed with his emphasis on making the downtown attractive and inviting. He joins us at a moment in our renaissance when desirable housing opportunities and great new restaurants are popping up throughout the downtown and folks from all around the county are discovering what Downtown Bridgeport has to offer.”
As executive director for Wallingford Center, Inc. since 2005, a nonprofit business improvement district similar in mission to the DSSD, Myers spearheaded efforts to enhance the restoration, preservation, revitalization, and utilization of the town’s central business district. He had a broad range of responsibilities ranging from public relations liaison and coordinating outdoor concert series and street festivals to recruiting new businesses, facilitating educational workshops, and developing long term financial planning strategies.
Prior to that, Myers served as director of operations for Keep Stamford Beautiful, Inc. for seven years. Myers oversaw and directed the nonprofit environmental organization from start-up to operability, with responsibility for all aspects of day-to-day management and fundraising. He supervised groups of up to 500 volunteers and established neighborhood associations to address litter, graffiti and beautification projects for their areas. In addition, he secured Fortune 500 sponsorships and federal, state, city, and private grant funding while also serving as the communications and marketing director for the organization.
Myers spent the early years of his career in Bridgeport, Conn. first as executive director for Bridgeport Neighborhood Housing Services for six years and then a year as a general contractor restoring an historic row house in compliance with Connecticut Preservation Trust and City of Bridgeport historic guidelines.
“It’s an exciting time to be joining the Bridgeport DSSD team. Opportunities abound in the district as historic buildings are converted into unique condominium units in conjunction with the restoration of the Arcade which will add valuable retail space to the downtown. Also, the district has seen a swell in the number of upscale restaurants that have recently opened their doors to complement the existing performing arts centers, museum, community college and sports complex which are all contributing factors in a successful downtown. Five years from now, we will be a different downtown, and five years from then, we will be another different downtown.”
The goals and purposes of the DSSD include promoting the general welfare of the citizens and property owners of the City’s central business district through the preservation, enhancement, protection, and development of the economic health of the downtown. The DSSD uses public and private funds to assist the City’s downtown revitalization program and to maintain physical, economic, and social improvements to the District.
For more information about downtown Bridgeport, visit www.INFOBridgeport.com