Get the lifejackets ready!
A special meeting of the City Council has been set for Monday night at 7:30 to act on the Ordinance Committee’s vote to dissolve the Bridgeport Port Authority. A public hearing will take place, before the council meeting, at 7 p.m.
A lot is swirling–and will continue to swirl–in the days leading up to the special session, and it sounds like this will be a working weekend for many of the involved participants.
For instance, city officials are negotiating with the Bridgeport and Port Jefferson Steamship Company over a variety of issues such as tariffs it currently pays to the port authority, relocation from the current downtown terminal to the East End, and future investments to the terminal. If the city moves forward with dissolution (fine with the ferry company that has been fighting with the port authority for years) officials wants to make sure the city gets its pound of flesh.
The city is also researching the financial impact dissolving the port authority could have in efforts to secure state and federal funding. Port authorities serve as key stimulators in the development of community waterfront. But city officials are not happy with Port Authority Executive Director Joe Riccio, a nice guy, who’s ducking arrows from all directions coming from City Hall.
Combatants on both sides have contacted the governor’s office to see their side of the issue. The city wants the governor to sit on the recently passed legislation (they’d be thrilled if she’d veto it) granting the state Department of Transportation veto power over termination of a port authority, language that was spliced onto a bill by the port authority’s lobbyist Jay Malcynsky (at Riccio’s direction) who also is a paid lobbyist for the city.
Conflict of interest? You bet, and council members and city officials that hired Malcynsky want to make sure no lobbyist they’re paying ($55,000 a year) works against their interests.
Simple solution for the future: no lobbyist can be a hired gun for a subordinate/affiliate of the city. That clearly did not stop Malcynsky from grabbing another $36K or so a year from the port authority. Nice, more than $90K combined from both for not a lot of heavy lifting.
(By the way, Jay, or someone from his firm, is welcome to post his point of view at any time.)
The heavy lifting is now in the hands of both the city and officials with the port authority trying to untangle this mess.
This one is a real shit storm. Stay tuned.
(And when you’re done here check out my related blog at the Connecticut Post, blog.ctnews.com/grimaldi/2009/06/16/lobbying-with-two-forks
News release from Jim Himes
Himes Announces Over $600K for Job Training and Diploma Program for At-Risk Bridgeport Youth
WASHINGTON, DC – Congressman Himes (CT-04) today announced a $604,846 grant to The WorkPlace, Inc. to fund their YouthBuild Bridgeport program, which assists at-risk, out-of-school youth obtain their diplomas or GEDs while providing vocational training in the construction industry. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act grant was awarded through the Department of Labor.
“YouthBuild will provide education and job training opportunities for the kids who need them most,” said Congressman Himes. “Giving at-risk youth this type of support gives them the chance at success they deserve, provides local businesses with a skilled workforce, and helps keep communities safe. Congratulations to the fine people of The WorkPlace, Inc.”
The WorkPlace, Inc.’s YouthBuild Bridgeport will target sixty 17-to-24 year-olds over a three-year period. A partnership that includes the Bridgeport School System Adult Education Division, Carpenter’s Union Local 210, Home Builders Institute, Bridgeport Police Department Division of Community Service, and the City of Bridgeport Housing Authority will support YouthBuild. The WorkPlace, Inc. will administer and lead the program.
“We are thrilled to be part of the national YouthBuild initiative and to be able to invest these resources to help at-risk youth in Bridgeport build better futures,” said Joe Carbone, President and CEO of The WorkPlace, Inc. “A huge thanks to Congressman Jim Himes for his support for the Recovery Act and this important project.”
Feel The Spirits
News release from state Department of Consumer Protection
State Law Allows Liquor Sales in Connecticut on Saturday, July 4th
HARTFORD, June 18 – Citing a 1982 statute that amended a law prohibiting the sale of alcohol on some major holidays, Consumer Protection Commissioner Jerry Farrell, Jr. indicated today that package stores may remain open and grocery stores with a beer permit may sell beer this year on the 4th of July.
“As with any major holiday, retailers are placing their orders and formulating their staffing schedules in advance, so we’ve been getting numerous calls asking us to clarify this statute, passed by the state legislature in 1982,” Farrell said. “Public Act 82-33 provides for the sale of liquor on July 4th when it falls on Saturday, so for only the fourth time since 1982, the answer is, liquor can be sold in stores this year on the 4th of July.”
Liquor stores are not required to be open, however.
“The statute allows the stores to open, but the decision is up to each individual store owner whether he or she wishes to open on our national holiday,” Farrell said.
“Given that the Department of Consumer Protection is the licensing agency for the liquor industry in Connecticut, it’s our responsibility to get the proper information out concerning the legality of selling liquor on July 4th this year – along with a reminder to drink responsibly,” Farrell said. “Amid the fun and festivity, safety is of utmost concern, so please don’t drink and drive, don’t sell or serve alcohol to anyone under the age of 21, and certainly, don’t allow anyone who has been drinking alcohol to operate any type of fireworks – that’s a recipe for an explosive cocktail.