Political Timing, Plus: FU FU

Timing is everything in politics. If John Fabrizi doesn’t walk into that courtroom in 2007, Bill Finch isn’t mayor today.

If local party leaders such as John Stafstrom and Tom McCarthy do not step up to recruit someone that would defeat State Rep. Chris Caruso in a Democratic primary, Finch is still in the State Senate. (Yeah, yeah; if Caruso had not run a myopic, one-note race he’d be mayor).

Of course Finch might say, considering the difficulty running the state’s largest city, send me back there! And of course Stafstrom and McCarthy did not make their decisions out of the goodness of their hearts. Stafstrom wanted to maintain his law firm’s lucrative bond counsel position and Big Mac knew that a Caruso mayoralty would mean sayonara to his $90K-a-year job as a labor negotiator. Survival skills are important in politics.

On a national level, if Hillary Clinton opposes the war in Iraq, Barack is just a refreshing U.S. Senator from Illinois. Hillary would’ve been the Democratic nominee and President Clinton, perhaps. Or if Barack had taken the knee-jerk approach (as most Congressional pols had done) and been on record supporting the war, he’d have no initial traction to rationalize a run for the country’s top office.

So on Tuesday Barack will be sworn in because the timing was right and he had the cashews to tread against the grain. Basically, he said FU to conventional thinking. It takes big ones to do that.

Speaking of FU that’s what Fairfield University has said to OIB friends Rick Torres, Ed Piquette and Marc Delmonico, a development contingent that had recruited the Fairfield University rowing team to the city. They invested hundreds of thousands of dollars transforming property along the Pequonnock River for a new home for the FU rowing team. Officials for both FU and the developers were all excited about it. Then something fishy happened. FU didn’t even check out the improvements the development team made, and rationalized a better offer from Norwalk.

Connecticut Post reporter Joel Thompson chronicled the issue on Sunday. Here’s what I say, FU FU!

Can We Talk?

Hey, we’re kicking off a cool new feature today (well, I hope you think it’s cool). We’ve updated the site software to the latest versions. This will be mostly transparent to you, but the new versions brought some changes to the comment function.

That means you can now reply directly to a comment, and your reply will be shown with that comment. This will make it easier for readers to follow your conversations aimed at fellow commenters. For instance, Grin Reaper can respond directly to Grin Ripper (yes, they’re different OIB friends) and their clever repartee will show consecutively versus dozens of comments away.

As a direct result of this new capability, comment numbering went away. So check out this direct response feature and let us know if you like it or if you think it sucks. You won’t hurt my feelings.



  1. Lennie- Maybe we need to add a Grim Weeper to the mix.

    I say to FU what Soupy Sales used to use in his schtick.
    “Hey Fairfield U! How come everytime I see F, you see K??” Bridgeport gets screwed again!!!

  2. Hey Lennie,
    If I wanted to have a conversation with the Ripper, why shouldn’t I just pick up the phone and call him?
    Sorry if didn’t call you back yesterday Rip.

  3. Why should we be upset with Fairfield University moving to Norwalk? They used our developers and our facilities as a temporary stopgap until they could find something better and out of the city. Deep down we knew this would happen. Screwed by our neighbors in Fairfield.
    We are also getting screwed by Sacred Heart University and their expansion plans. They have basically taken over the upper North End and the students have rented many of the houses in that area. Their students with the turn the cheek university are piling illegally into these houses and raising hell in the neighborhoods. Who will take the blame when there is a fire in one of these houses and students die? Will it be the University? Not a chance it will be Bridgeport. I am begging the administration to create a task force of the various inspection agencies and for them to blanket this area and get these excess students out of our neighborhoods.
    Another example of regional cooperation.

  4. Hey Lennie,
    Thanks for helping get the word out. Obviously, certain employees at FU do not practice the beliefs of the Jesuits and negotiate in good faith, and deal honestly. As you noted we invested a large sums of money to bring rowing to Bridgeport. The sight of crew teams and regattas practicing and racing on the Pequonnock would have gone a long way to inspire, develop and increase community pride. We intended to expand the rowing to a club level that would attract recreational, novice and elite rowers to the river. Once established this club would expand to offer community rowing to our kids in the city. Obviously this is a setback.

  5. I saw them rowing many mornings on the Pequonnock–it was a pleasant change and almost rung of progress. Silly me.

    As far as the SHU students overloading the North End, don’t think that similar actions aren’t happening on the South End with UB. It certainly is a problem, and the City should step up their housing compliance enforcement. I do not know if that would be a function of Housing or the FD, but either way it should be addressed.

  6. Yale used to have their crew boathouse in New Haven Harbor but blew them off for the Housatonic in Shelton. Why??? New Haven Harbor smells and caught fire a couple of times. DeStefano says his harbor is cleaner than Bridgeport.

  7. I hope you all don’t misunderstand my comment re FU but I expect some of you may. Part of me doesn’t blame FU for pulling out. Was there a committment from anyone to use this opportunity as a catalyst for additional development or improvements?

    One problem with B’port is that all of our eggs seem to be put into one basket. Then when the basket breaks we go back to square one. Need an example???

    The rowing plan was fantastic and when you look at the area across the river what do we have … a warehouse being built. Water-based development must include housing, restaurants, boardwalks and retail. An inviting plaza to watch regattas.

    I hope, no I pray that someone will step up to the plate and propose developments that bring this city back, even if they are baby steps at a time. BTW, I agree FU to FU.

    1. I’ll give it a try Lennie to see how it works.
      The City of Bridgeport and the Port Authority contracted a consulting firm to does an analysis of the river and to come up with development proposals and land-use ideas.
      I can not remember the name of the group right now maybe keeper of miscellaneous facts the Grin Ripper can fill in the blank. Anyhow the plan called for recreational (active and passive) uses on both sides of the river as well as a band shell and other cultural venues, etc.
      They specifically said that public uses such as the Fire Station should be avoided.
      The city does not have the discipline and patience to enact such plans and grabs whatever proposal comes along.
      The city goes ahead with plans for the Juvenile Jail, the giant bus stop, a large warehouse/garage, all limiting or blocking access and aesthetics to the river.
      If the plan were implemented and adhered to then more development would have followed similar to the Flats in Cleveland.
      This might have made the entire area more appealing to Fairfield U and they might have been more anxious to work out a deal to stay.
      But bottom line is that they took their money and ran so I say FU to FU.

  8. Maybe part of our problem is we say FU to everybody. FU Fairfield U. FU Monroe. FU Jodi Rell. And that has gotten us nowhere. I love this city, but I’d probably save a lot more money and my life would be easier if I moved to Norwalk. We’re a troubled city and until we fix those problems other towns and cities aren’t going to trust us. We have deals falling through left and right, the financial situation is a total mess and we’re fighting against a severely tarnished reputation. Let’s stop saying FU to everybody, step up and take some responsibility. AKA let’s be like Barack and not succumb to the knee-jerk approach to say FU and clean house.

  9. The Sasaki plan was just that, a plan, one of many on the shelf in the planning department. It was actually a solid plan advocating waterfront recapture. However it meant nothing unless it was incorporated in the Master Plan, Zoning Map and new regs. So ALL of the major elements of the Sasaki plan were incorporated and approved in the new Master Plan in Jan 2008 (yup, it was adopted a year ago after two years of planning). All of those elements were put into a new Zoning Map and new regs. That map and regs have been in draft form for more than six months. Again, if and when the Planning and Zoning Commission approves the new map and regs, the elements of the Sasaki plan, and lots of other good stuff will have to be enforced … because it becomes official land-use policy of the City. Now if the ZBA allows appeals and ignores the Master Plan, nobody will believe Bridgeport is serious about enforcing the new land-use policies and regs.

    Kudos to the City Council and Mayor for listening to the Urban Land Institute recommendations in 2005 and appropriating the $1 million to get the land-use policies updated based on strong economic and housing analyses. The issue here is that it was supposed to be a two-year process. It is now a three-year process and it still hasn’t been adopted. FU knew that all of the waterfront recapture stuff that was in the Sasaki Plan was going into the Master Plan and new Zoning regs. I don’t know whether they gave up waiting or there were other issues.

    1. Another lame excuse from countdown. If the city approved the plan then all they needed to do was to be more proactive in dealing with these competing interests:
      1) The state with the Juvenile Detention Center;
      2) Sticking with their original plans for the inter-modal center and not abandoning the downtown railroad station and coming up with this cockamamie idea for a second railroad station just to bail out Sal DiNardo with the RemGrit property;
      3) Rebuilding the bus station and parking garage at its former location and not making up excuses for unnecessarily using an exorbitant amount of land downtown for what is nothing more than a big bus stop;
      4) Forcing a better use of the DiNardo property than a downtown warehouse/garage when approving another insider tax break;
      5) And on and on and on. Bad Economic Development strategies and a poor staff implementing them.

      All the city had to do was step forward when other proposals were coming to the Land Use Boards and speak up. Mr. Eversley recently did just that. But hiding behind excuses such as the new master plan has not been approved is just that; a justification for allowing bad development on the waterfront.
      Once again countdown leaves us up the river without a paddle.

  10. Bow Tie Banker is not to be confused with Bow Tie Marquis.

    Bow Tie Marquis is the movie theater in Trumbull where the movie “Notorious” was playing. The Notorious B.I.G. is the late rapper shown in the YouTube link below.

    www .youtube.com/watch?v=CFHUqrNUs2M

    Bow Tie Banker, the book written by Lennie Grimaldi (with help from Mo, Stinky and Ray) is not affiliated with the Notorious B.I.G. or Bow Tie Marquis 16.

    It is safer to buy Bow Tie Banker and read it in the safety of your home than to go to the Bow Tie Marquis.

  11. Hey Willy Chute, why should Bridgeport respect Monroe? Don’t forget Monroe Republicans said a giant FU to Bridgeport during the last election, even put ads in the newspaper trying to scare people with Bridgeport. Some Monroe people act like Bridgeport is the “City that should not be named.” They whisper it, like people used to whisper the word cancer. That’s why decent guys like Buzi who want to do the right thing on the JHE are hamstrung by the majority whack-jobs on the town council. The majority or (vocal minority) in Monroe are ignorant, backward, right-wing extremists, who are NIMBY’s on steroids.

    Fairfield University at least gave scholarships to Bridgeport kids. To be fair though, Finch hasn’t been a friend to Fairfield and he treated Monroe like the dirty stepchild when he was Senator. I hope Musto does better at bringing his district closer together. Hairbrain Hovey and Dickhead Debicella certainly don’t give a crap about any City.

  12. Cliche, yeah there’re people in Monroe who talk trash about Bridgeport and we talk trash about Monroe. But I believe if Bridgeport could get on the right track, it could be a leader and an engine for this county and the state. Bridgeport has so much potential. And part of being a leader is taking the higher road and not becoming mired in petty rivalries. That’s why Barack Obama is such a great leader.

    I think the sewer deal is a great opportunity for us to be a leader. Let’s make sure we get our fair share, but let’s also make sure we don’t exploit Monroe and squeeze every dollar out of them. Make it a fair deal and start a new relationship with our neighbors.

    1. Tell me one time just one time that the suburbs helped out Bridgeport. Okay let’s assume we allow Monroe to tie into our sewer system at a nominal fee. What happens when our treatment plant reaches capacity? What happens when the downtown businesses flood more than they do now? Do Monroe and Trumbull jump in and help defray the cost of a sewer plant expansion? I think not. Here we are, a city that cannot bond for any money because of our bond rating, needing an updated sewer treatment plant. Do the burbs help?
      Did you know that the Trumbull residents now tied into our sewer system pay the WPCA less than the Bridgeport residents pay?

  13. Two Bridgeport schools will be for sale soon, and one was built by Barnum. Tune in tonight to find out more.

    8pm to 9pm. Ch 77

    “Bridgeport Now” LIVE Tuesdays at 8pm on Ch 77

    A new show is to be formed soon at 9pm, so only Bridgeport issues can be addressed from 8-9pm.
    Bob Halstead is co-host

  14. Charles Brilvitch will be on the show along with Bob Halstead to discuss current issues and history in Bridgeport.

    What should the city do, tear down these old Bridgeport elementary schools or renovate? One is on North Ave and the other is on Maple Ave.

  15. What will the fate be for the haunted Majestic Theatre?
    Also a topic on today’s Bridgeport Now.

    This 1920’s vaudeville-era theatre is sitting empty, full of history and awaiting its fate, like many other buildings in the city. Call in to say what you know about it. OR find out from Charles Brilvitch tonight on the show.

    8pm to 9pm. Ch 77

    “Bridgeport Now” LIVE Tuesdays at 8pm on Ch 77


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