Pick On Someone Your Own Size, Plus: I’ve Got Gas!

If you want to win a campaign to save jobs you must turn up the heat. The union that protested Mayor Bill Finch’s proposed deep cuts to health care on the steps of city hall last week has taken to the streets distributing leaflets in city neighborhoods with images of kids under the battle cry:

Mayor Finch–Why Don’t You Pick On Someone Your Own Size?
(Text of message)

Mayor Bill Finch’s answer to balancing Bridgeport’s budget will destroy health care for Bridgeport’s most vulnerable children. His budget plan cuts public health nurses, preventative disease nurses, dental hygienists and clinicians–and could close many of Bridgeport’s school-based health centers. These health centers provide access to primary health care for the neediest of Bridgeport’s children and adolescents. They are the first–and often the only–line of health care treating serious chronic diseases like asthma, juvenile diabetes and ADHD, as well as the best guarantee of mental health care for many of our city’s adolescents and their parents. The mayor’s shortsighted and mean-spirited budget cuts will put our children’s health at serious risk.

Hizzoner is hearing the noise. The former state senator that had championed health care for kids (Husky Plan) in the legislature is looking at a combination of ways to save jobs and the services, including potential privatization.

Leadership on the Bridgeport City Council is also examining a variety of options to cut expenses and find new revenue sources to save the library and health care jobs cut in Finch’s budget. One key area being looked at (as noted by OIB poster Wondering) is the Bridgeport Port Authority, created by city council ordinance, which generates more than $1 million annually in docking and ferry fees.

Council leadership is engaged in surface conversations with Finch, Chief of Staff Adam Wood and Chief Administrative Officer Andy Nunn about tweaking the budget to save jobs. Finch’s overall relationship with the council is fragile. Many council members believe that Finch is providing no leadership or substantial interaction to build relationships.

I’ve Got Gas

Hey, it is me? Or is it time for us to step on skateboards to get around? Have you checked out gas prices lately? I’m getting the feeling we might hit $4 per gallon around July Fourth.

Speaking of gas, Hill and Barack have been giving one another a lot of it to the delight of Republican John McCain who’s kicked back those old bones, building a cash reserve while the Dem candidates stick needles in their eyes. Hill and Barack will probably fight this thing out to the convention, and although things look good for McCain there will be a refocusing on the national contest in the summer that will tighten the polls. Gas prices, a sucky economy and Iraq aren’t going away.



  1. Lennie,
    Anyone who thinks that the city can simply eliminate the Port Authority and allow the monies that they currently collect flow directly into the city coffers should read Chapter 105 Fire, Sewer and Other Districts of the Connecticut General Statues Sections 7-329a et seq. Establishment of port district and port authority. The state has carved out very specific jurisdictions, powers and duties of Port Authorities.
    This is not to say that the PA cannot reimburse the city more for some of the expenses it incurs in support of the PA and there is language in the state statutes that would allow for the city to levy certain Payments in Lieu of Taxes on the PA.
    But my read of the law would be that the city can not simply eliminate the board and take monies directly into the general fund. As I said, this is not to suggest that more revenues could not be moved over to the city side of the ledger but it does not appear that it could be done as simply as some people might suggest.

  2. Walsh

    You obstructionist putz. All you come up with is how things cannot be done. Not once, never, have I ever heard of you facilitating progress. Give it up. Go somewhere else. It is all together reasonable to consider the PA revenue for the general fund. But, NO. You have to come up with technicalities that preclude any further action. This move would benefit the city. You know what else would benefit our city….if you registered to vote in Danbury. Between you and Caruso, nothing, absolutely nothing will get done. We need smart people who know how to build a mutually agreeable consensus that will allow beneficial activity to move forward. Sadly, for Bridgeport, Walsh, you are not one of those people.

  3. If I m not mistaken the Port Authority was put together when the was a chance to bring Casinos to Bridgeport. the idea was that they would develop the water front in conjunction with the casinos. Well the Casino idea has come and gone. if I am not mistaken th Port Authority was put together by city ordinance and can be disbanded by city ordinance. The port authority as it sits now is a money pit that takes $1,000,000 to operate.
    Let the port authority come under the CAO of the mayors office. The monies that are generated by the Fery Co and such should go into th general fund.
    instead of always looking at the negative and generally being an inoperable hemmroid why not come up with positive suggestions visa a vie the port authority and other necessary cuts like the WPCA.
    If the State has mandated things for the port let them fund it at no cost to the city,

  4. Speaking of gas. I think Bill Finch needs some Beano.
    This blog needs a boost from aboost.

    Today being “Earth Day” would be a good reason to take “Dead” Wood to the woodchipper pile.

    Thank you very mulch.

  5. I object to union involvement in the health care problem i understand that they are protecting union members but there are alternatives to the school bsed clinic which i have written about many times.
    There is nothing wrong with putting the health clinics out to bid. there are 2 outside companies interested and I understand St Vincents and Bridgeport Hospitals have expressed an interest.

    We could send the employees pension contributions to their new employers after all only 5 out of 33(?) reside here.
    As far as the school nurses are concerned they have to stay in place to handle problems that arise with the children in the schools.
    Again we are not in the health care business and some of the conditions mentioned by the union should not be treated at a school clinic. I would venture to say that specialists should b consulted and I believe that under the CT law the children will be covered by husky

  6. “Yale Law School students charged Tuesday before the state Supreme Court. Poor educational quality is holding children back in cities such as Bridgeport, they said.”

    This just appeared on the CT Post web site. The comment says it all. We spend too much money for such little result. I’m not in favor of cutting the education budget. But, I think we should fire the whole management group and get people in there that will utilize the resources they get and make certain that our students get what we pay for…a decent education…therefor a decent life. BTW….when was the last time anyone saw Fabrizi at his office? That’s a shame, a real shame on Bridgeport.

  7. I think it’s a shame that this union is putting kids as the face of these budget cuts. The city has been poorly run and been over spending for years. It’s time to make sacrifices and Wondering hits the nail on the head – Why is the city in the business of health care???? Everyone has their hand out but when it comes to time get the city’s finances under control, no one wants to budge.

    The council needs to grow a pair and continue with the cuts and additionally cut more of the spending. The bums at the BOE will just continue to ask for more next year. It’s how they pay their salary increases.

  8. Aboost, I agree. I understand people’s frustration with the cuts to the education budget, but even if we gave the BOE the $220 million it wants, are we going to see some sort of remarkable change in results? I share some of the frustration over these cuts, but I feel like we’re being distracted from the real problem.

    In my eyes, the BOE has some serious questions to answer, more so than Finch and his cuts. Why is the dropout rate in Bridgeport still so high? What is the plan in your budget to improve education? Has it been working? If you had the money you say you need, what would you use it for that would dramatically change Bridgeport education’s results?

    I agree with the need for more state funding for education and not making some of these cuts, but I have the feeling even if we gave $20 million extra to the BOE we wouldn’t see much difference. Their strategy to improve education in Bridgeport is clearly not working. They need a new one or we need new people in there. I’d rather the BOE have the right plan towards improving education in Bridgeport before pushing for them to get as much money as possible.

  9. I heard a good one today. Finch is getting ready to appoint Bob Curwen Director of Public Facilities. It’s taken this long to come up with that? Someone needs to take Finch back to schoolin’.

  10. The BOE has to be investigated and audited, I am sick of dishing out tons of money in our tax dollars for no progress. The clinics should also be taken over by one of the hospitals, the city should not be handling health care, same with the dental clinics. About Walsh, what else can yoiu expect from him, he always finds a way to be negative and always a spoiler, he finds fault with everything and a way to screw up good suggestions. Always standing in the path of progress, totally sickning. he really is a miserable person.

  11. Hey Lennie – what makes you think we’ll have to wait til July 4 for gas to go up to $4.00 a gallon? I paid $3.69 today for regular and the guy ast the gas station said its going up another 10 cents by next week. where are we supposed to be getting all this money? i can’t remember the last time I filled my tank up completely and my car is only a 4-cylinder. I can’t wait til Bush is history, he screwed the economy up so bad.

  12. Gossip of The Rialto

    Grin Reaper–How does your sickle sow? You must be on the cutting edge regarding Bob Curwen. I always thought the Moonbeam was waiting for Ted Grabarz to come home from his deployment. Would Curwen give up his council seat?

  13. I’ve got just one little question and it goes a little like this …


    The next thing we’re going to hear is “… after careful consideration, the bullshitter Keith Rodgerson is appointed Director of Economic Development.”

  14. I went to the horse’s mouth and asked Curwen directly if he is getting that job. He stated he is not and has not been offered that job. Now for an aside I know that prior to Finch taking office he was offered Sealer of weights and measures and turned that down. Be that as it may we still don’t have a director of public facilities. Grabarz is not home enough to take that job, I thank him for his military service and his patriotism but we need a full-time public facilities director.

  15. I’ve been reading OIB for a few weeks and I finally couldn’t stand it any longer. I have to post a comment. Regarding the school-based health centers…the city may give them $1m but they also get over $3m in federal and state grants. The programs have been carefully built and expanded over the years and now they are a model for the country. They are hightly successful. Before you criticize them, you should visit one or talk to the thousands of kids who utilize them each year. This isn’t about jobs or union issues, it is about taking care of kids’ health and mental health needs.

    And the Curwen rumor has been around for awhile. Supposedly that’s why he threw his support to McCarthy for council president. His reward will be a big job. And experience???? Are you kidding me???? So far, besides Andy Nunn, not one Finch appointee has any relevant experience.

  16. The board of education is a money pit that never stops asking. They are not ashamed to use the kids as a lever when asking for funds. they are constantly producing higher drop out rates 685 las year. if they keep it up the only kids that will be in high school are the ones going to college.
    The teachers blame the parents, the BOE blames the city for poor funding and in the mean time the kids get screwed. it is a sad fact of life that many of our kids come from single parent homes with that single parent trying to hold down a job and raise a family. Why is this a mystery to the BOE. there are charter schools scattered around the country in inner cities were formly troubld students are excelling why is that. Could it be because the teachers really give a damn.
    Teachers should be paid for performance and not because the union got a raise.
    Principals and their assistants should be paid the same way and if the school is not performing they sould be fired. Pure and simple and there will be no shortage of qualified people looking for these $100,000 jobs .
    Do the parents need to do more probably but can they do more I dont think so.
    We have hired 2 bad leaders for the BOE Slcedo and Ramos and based on what I read i am not sure they were the most qualified candidates.
    Its time for the State to step in and take over the BOE and make them do what is right and make sure the educators are doing there jobs. Its time for an audit lets find out where the money is going. Why is the BOE and it elected Board so afraid of an audit. Are they afraid that the true amount of the wasted dollars will be found out/ Are they afraid that the cirriculum they have set for the kids is a disaster? Its TIME

  17. SChool-based health centers are under the health dept not the bd of ed. Don’t confuse the two. I agree that the bd of ed gets tons of money of which they have never been accountable. Every mayor talks about a forensic audit but no one ever sees it through. There is definitely waste there.

  18. Try asking a few city employees to give you 100 positions that could be cut with very little impact. They could do it in 10 minutes. There is a lot of waste in city government, but unfortunately, these are not the positions ever targeted. There are two kinds of depts in city government – the “haves” and the “have nots.” The “have nots” survive on very little money and very little staff yet they do their best to serve the public. The “haves” have abundent staff, city cars, custom-decorated offices, latest state-of-the-art computers and plenty of travel money to attend conferences (aka free vacations.)

  19. Please remember that at least 62.5 cents per gallon is going to uncle sam, and jodi rell.

    from CTnewsjukie.com:

    “This is an insidious hidden tax that was put into place when the price of gasoline was at $1.50 a gallon,” Sen. David Cappiello, R-Danbury, said in a press release earlier this week.

    “We talk about price gouging at the pump all the time, but the biggest culprit is the state of Connecticut,” Cappiello said.

    What many people may not know is that “Every time the price of gasoline increases the state collects more money and to increase the rate at a time when gas prices are approaching $3.50 a gallon is really beyond belief. We simply cannot allow these increases to happen,” Cappiello said.

    The gross receipts tax is currently 7 percent, or about 19.2 cents per gallon. Add that to the 25-cent excise tax charged at the pump and Connecticut residents pay a whopping 44.2 cents to the state for every gallon they pump. The gross receipts tax is expected to go up to 7.5 percent on July 1.

    Cappiello said that since 2005 the state has taken in an additional $141 million from the gross receipts tax. In 2008, the state expects to take in a record $320 million from the tax.


    If Finch needs more tax dollars, just ask the state! They’ll have plenty by the time he’ll need it.

  20. Gas prices are out of sight, brings me to tears when I go to the gas station. I have family in New Jersey and they pay about 20 cents less per gallon. And why is gas cheaper in Milford? Thanks to Jodi Rell and her taxes on it, you’d think she would reduce that gas tax for the summer at least when people are traveling. Where is Amanns and his big mouth? what about our state reps and senators – they sure aren’t taking any steps. Hoiw about the prices on food, milk, eggs and bread are so much higher all of a sudden. How do they expect us to pay our bills when everything is going up but our paychecks.

  21. In the know you may be right but the city should not be in the health care business. Put it out to bid and let a private concern (s) run these clinics. We cant afford it any longer.

  22. Wondering…did you know that Finch & company are currently in violation of the city’s ethics policy because they are meeting with the 2 community health care centers and asking then to take over the clinics. They can’t just hand over a multi million dollar program. They have to go out to bid. And the state and feds awarded $3 m to the city not the health centers. It is not the city’s money to give away. What a mess. Again, bad advice. I smell an OPM budget director!!!!


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