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Parziale Sums It Up

September 27th, 2016 · 24 Comments · City Council, City Politics, Education, Law Enforcement

OIB friend, past CC member and past council president Lisa Parziale comments on the state of Bridgeport city management by both the mayor and City Council, and encourages others to get involved to fix the problems.

December 2015 ended two terms of leadership under former Mayor Bill Finch, and the torch was then passed to Joe Ganim who was elected for a second time in a history-making election in Bridgeport.

For those of us who supported his candidacy there was excitement and hope he would return matured, wiser, and show gratitude to the voters of Bridgeport who helped his second-chance message.

I was one of them. I unconditionally volunteered for the duration of his campaign because I was certain there was some of the first Joe Ganim left. I was already a four-term council member and president of the CC for four years when he first took office. I guided him through his beginning term, covered his back when necessary, helped him identify the likes of Mike Freimuth, Lennie Grimaldi, Jerry Baron and other credible, experienced members of his staff. I watched him work tirelessly, aggressively, his instincts were good, and he always asked for opinions. He didn’t necessarily take them, but he asked.

We all know the rest of the story. I never engaged in the Fabrizi or Finch administrations because after serving with both on the City Council they just didn’t do it for me.

I’m not suggesting JG and I had a love fest going, we knocked heads more than the public realized. It was strictly city business and constituent-related interests we worked together on. I know there were times he would have been happy if I just went away, but that didn’t happen then and it won’t happen now.

We are in the throes of the most difficult of times, financial devastation, a BOE in crisis, rampant crime, unemployment, poverty, and this is just what we know about. Joe Ganim didn’t cause this state of affairs, but as the Mayor of Bridgeport he has a legal and moral obligation to address them all until some relief is found where it can be found.

For starters, when has anyone known of a Mayor who has chosen to take a hands-off approach to the boycott of the most important Board in the City? Parents, students, teachers and all ancillary employees are left to languish because four board members made a decision they would not attend to the business of the BOE. There is no excusable reason why this is happening. There is also no excusable reason why the Mayor of Bridgeport has made no mention of this atrocity, let alone taken action to resolve it. He won’t open his door.

Second: We are on the brink of bankruptcy, entry-level employees were laid off while the Mayor’s budget soars with six-figure employees, most of whom are unqualified to perform to the standards of their job descriptions. In the meantime there exists a group of financial experts, men and women with decades of business experience who are begging for an opportunity to meet with the Mayor to generously share their expertise for the betterment of Bridgeport, and the State if needed. They have been meeting, doing their best to involve every area of Bridgeport, reaching out to everyone. This group of Bridgeport residents has the experience and knowledge the City couldn’t afford to hire, and the Mayor won’t open his door.

Next we have the same epidemic of crime seen throughout the country, yet our Police Department is understaffed, pensions underfunded, response time compromised, loss of life issues, forget quality of life issues, the latter could be fixed, but you can’t bring someone back from the dead. The only glimmer of hope we have is we have a Chief of Police who not only cares, but is empathetic, reached out for help from beyond our own first responders, and is a true leader and professional. In my opinion, the only substantial decision Ganim has made in almost a year in office.

This blog, OIB, allows interested individuals a place to vent, make suggestions, interact and engage. The readers of this blog far exceed the readers of the CT Post, a newspaper that is unreasonably selective in what and whom they cover. Whether anyone realizes it or not, we’re facing real disaster and the Mayor won’t leave his office, let alone let anyone in.

I won’t venture into suggestions that might change some or all the above-mentioned issues, but there are those who can and are willing to do so with no expectation of compensation other than to be of service to our City.

Everything I’ve pointed out is well-known by all my fellow bloggers. At some point we have to get on the same page, take a break from petty arguments and insults, keep the good input going, and keep an open mind, that’s usually when we discover we’re not always right, it’s time to open our minds and change our thinking by trying ideas never afforded us in the past. It doesn’t take much effort to blog, but it does if what we’re blogging about is going to change.

We know it will take time to undo and/or change antiquated practices. It will also take the determination to get out into our respective districts, talk with people, prepare for the next election, and the one after that, the one that could offer options for a new DTC, someone with the energy and willingness to keep the games at a minimum, and lead. I know the past experience the Council President had in his attempt to win a seat that was already well-represented had to be disappointing, but look at it this way, we have an experienced candidate for the State Senate, and may soon have new leadership on the City Council. The next election will involve the present members of the City Council, and the result of that election could be a game changer.

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24 Comments so far ↓

  • Lisa Parziale

    Thank you Joel for that reminder. I didn’t attend that swearing-in event, I knew even then the acceptance speech would never come to pass.

  • John Marshall Lee

    Lisa,
    That is a reasonable statement about Bridgeport’s current elected leader. He is marching to an “unknown drummer” at this moment as he has not made public the priorities he is pursuing. Among possible priorities like STOP RAISING TAXES it is clear they were meant as window dressing, not policy. Another possible initiative is to have governance become OPEN. But when the public has serious doubt where their leader actually resides, “open government” is not in play. Regarding ACCOUNTABILITY the Mayor has an overall responsibility to the youth of the community and he has let public school finances swing in the breeze this year. Additionally when his new finance people walk into offices and find records missing, lack of accounting for periods of years where previous top level personnel worked, money transfers without authorization, and no public accounting for authorized capital projects once the money arrives aad vehicles were purchased by departing employees and what did that cost the City ultimately? And have there been any consequences for the practices and unauthorized behavior discovered? ACCOUNTABILITY? And TRANSPARENT governance, what is meant by that term, Mayor Ganim? Is that where you and the DTC Chair meet and make decisions as to City direction?

    You have been in office for 10 months by next week. What are the three accomplishments you are most proud of? I wonder whether those are things about which taxpayers and voters will agree. Time will tell.

  • DC Faber

    Well put, Lisa! Not that we are facing a draconian government, but “we must, indeed, all hang together or, most assuredly, we shall all hang separately.”

  • Frank Underwood

    Preach!

    Lisa, who do you think has the best prospects of beating JG2 in 2019? My money is on Moore, Stafstrom (if she doesn’t do it) or Rosario. Thoughts, OIBers?

    • Lisa Parziale

      Frank, it has always been my political policy to take one election at a time. After November 2016, there will be council elections, in my opinion this election is more important than the next Mayoral one. With a strong, independent council, Bridgeport will begin to make progress. The Mayor or Town Chair can do nothing independent of this body. I’m not in lala land, we’ll never change all of them at once, but a majority will do it. For the past twelve years the CC has been compromised, willingly, and because of that we can attribute 75% of the problems we’re facing now to them. If they only knew what they can contribute to keep the Mayors and Town Chair in line. They don’t seem to have any idea why they’re there or who put them there. Nothing stays the same in politics, there are no permanent friends or enemies, what this City needs now is a coalition that will soldier on, a little bit at a time, one issue at a time, and by the time the next two elections are over, the next Mayor will be obvious and we go from there.

    • Frank Gyure

      First of all, I do think it is a bit early to speak about the Bridgeport Mayoral Election in 2019. I can certainly support and work for either State Representative Steve Stafstrom or State Senator Marilyn Moore. I have more personal experiences with Steve and he is a smart, eloquent public servant and we should not get stuck in old impressions. I just recently met Senator Moore and she is also smart, eloquent and her independence and dedication are beyond question. But I repeat myself again; we need to focus on the City Council Elections in 2017 and we need to do that NOW!

  • Maria Pereira

    Stafstrom and Rosario are part of the corrupt machine. We cannot take out one corrupt member of the machine and replace them with another. We just tried that and look at the result.

    If Stafstrom and Rosario were to run for mayor I would do everything to make sure they were defeated. In addition, they both support charter schools, especially Chris Rosario.

    We need to support a candidate who is NOT connected to the corrupt machine.

  • Frank the Cabana Boy

    While I do think Moore has the best chance of winning and will not stand for anything but the cleanest of city management, Stafstrom is far from dirty or corrupt. My opinion. Can’t comment on Rosario. They are the three best who come to mind though, respectively.

    • Frank Underwood

      I think Moore has a shot, but wouldn’t be surprised if some New Blood emerges in the ring.

      • Lisa Parziale

        Frank, I agree with you, which is why there must be a blend of those with experience and those willing to learn and become experienced. By now we all know what doesn’t work and how it helped get us to where we are. I’m trying to wrap my head around the recent emergence of qualified individuals so willing to share their expertise, no strings attached, to the area of finances that we’ve been struggling with for years. Until I accepted an invitation to just meet and listen, I was confused as to why there has been so much resistance to them. Every excuse in the book was used to push these folks back. The greatest obstacle has been the absence of respect on behalf of this administration. What can it hurt to sit and listen? I’ve really had it with the Black Rock silliness, the implication of exclusion of other areas of the City. That’s not accurate, and it’s certainly not fair to the people of Bridgeport. We should be open to any positive input from anyone and any part of this city. I said before, everything starts with an idea, why dismiss this idea merely because of a perception? My friends and the people I surround myself with are too smart to not know by now there’s more going on than the fact some of the members of this group live in Black Rock.

        • Lisa Parziale

          I have to clarify my reference to “Black Rock silliness.” I meant it’s getting pretty old to keep referring to Black Rock as if they’re on another planet. The people I met are great, they have a willingness and energy I haven’t seen in decades.

          • John Marshall Lee

            Lisa, your comments are right on. Lots of energy, talent and willingness to see the City as a whole body with a number of problems, issues and concerns in common. There are those in a few places who use the words “Black Rock” as code for ‘white,’ ‘elitist’ and wealthy citizens. Actually, those charges don’t wash with the reality of working with neighbors at PT Barnum and other parts of the area. And it will not wash when you have a chance to hear the voices of some other senior neighbors who are being forced to move by out-of-control taxation. I hope the next time that phrase is used someone will call attention to the fact Joe and Paul Ganim have at one time or another called the area home. Were they elite who moved out because of such comments? Several of the professionals in the City Attorney’s office, of diverse skin color, currently reside there. Is “white rock” a reality any longer? Does the negative sentiment sometimes expressed have more to do with the unwillingness of a few people to be smart and bring experience and intelligence into the “tent?” Are they guilty of ‘terminal dumbass’ as Andy often references? It is a disease that sometimes can be healed with an opening of the ears and checking that sound is getting through to a brain of the right size and emotionality. Thanks again Lisa for delivering a neighborhood from negation by a few who are unwilling to stand and be counted. Time will tell.

  • Frank Gyure

    Lisa Parziale, WISE WORDS and THANK YOU for speaking up. We need EVERYONE who cares enough to make Bridgeport better. Although some may be close to giving up hope or who ask themselves what they can do, there are many others in Bridgeport who are asking themselves the same questions. There is strength in numbers and we have to find each other and work together. Not easy but certainly doable. It is not enough to sit at home using a PC or a smartphone. You have to get out of your house and in many cases, get out of your comfort zone. If there are any people here on OIB who are just blogging but are ready to do more, there are budding groups that are joining hands. I keep on repeating this and Lisa Parziale mentioned this. The next major goal are the City Council Elections in November 2017. We need to be working on that NOW. It is not too early. Each CC district needs to be analyzed and new community leaders need to be found. Voter Registration lists need to be pulled. It is not too early to meet and discuss the situation in Bridgeport/CC Elections with the people of Bridgeport. We need to act NOW!

  • Angel Figueroa

    Mr. Lee, you owe no explanation to anyone, we appreciate the time you have invested and given of yourself. As Town Committee Rep for the 138th I say thank you, and remember he who laughs last laughs best. We will all be laughing tomorrow, literally.

  • Eric Alicea

    Tomorrow will be just a giggle. As you stated, the last laugh is the best laugh, and we’ll see what happens when Judge Bellis rules in 30 to 45 days.

    • Lisa Parziale

      These last two comments have me confused! They have nothing to do with the conversation taking place so I hope something stupid isn’t about to happen. I like Angel and Eric, but they must know something we don’t.

  • Angel Figueroa

    Mr. Alicea, what’s with the threats? Lol, I guess we’re laughing now. HAHAHA. Congratulations to my friend and district 138 Rep, Rafael Fonseca for being the NEW Board of Education board member, a position you applied for and didn’t get, so I understand what your little temper tantrum is about, but then again I guess I would feel upset too if I were on a losing team, so with that I’m happy to say new changes and big announcements are happening soon.

  • Maria Pereira

    Eric, do you have any current protective orders against you because of “threats,” irrational behavior or for any other reason?

  • Eric Alicea

    No threats, Mr. Figueroa. The court case will decide who’s on what. I’m fairly confident it won’t be Mrs. Segarra-Negron nor will it be Mr. Fonseca on the Board of Education. At that point I will certainly be laughing rather hard at this whole dog and pony show.

    What I have found out rather early in this political game here in Bridgeport is it’s always better to keep your cards close to the vest rather than always looking like someone’s bottom piece.

    It’s quite interesting to watch the mayor use Mr. Fonseca for his political bidding. The cool part is with you and the Fonsecas jumping the shark (Happy Days reference) so early in your neophyte political lives you will make it easier for the 138th to move forward in the future.

    Be well my good man.

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