Should they or shouldn’t they?
Big decision tonight before the full City Council following a vote by the Ordinance Committee last week to abolish the Bridgeport Port Authority. Public hearing at 7 followed by council meeting at 7:30.
Recap: Jay Malcynsky, an attorney and high-powered Hartford lobbyist for the port authority, managed to splice onto a bill in the last days of the regular state legislative session language that gives the state Department of Transportation veto power over municipal dissolution of a port authority.
This threw City Council members into a fit for several reasons including the loss of home rule. In addition, Malcynsky also serves as a lobbyist for the city and city officials feel blindsided by their lobbyist helping an affiliate of the city against city interests. Port Authority Executive Director Joe Riccio, not a favorite with city administration officials, had his lobbyist finesse the language out of self preservation. The City Council has looked at dissolving the port authority for more than a year.
Malcynsky, feeling the heat from the council and Finch, has been working state legislative leaders to get the language he crafted reversed as the General Assembly heads into a special session of the budget. City Council members, however, aren’t optimistic that will happen and want to dissolve the port authority before the legislative language is signed into law by Governor Jodi Rell.
The Finch administration has urged the governor to hold off signing the bill until the city’s legislative body takes action.
Opponents to dissolution such as the city’s former Director of Economic Development Nancy Hadley say the city should not rush to judgment, citing the potential financial advantages that a port authority can bring to the aid of the city’s waterfront.
A key ingredient to dissolving the port authority is the revenue it receives from Long Island based Bridgeport and Port Jefferson Steamship Company that docks its ferries at the downtown terminal managed by the port authority. City officials want to make sure those fees will go directly to the city and negotiations with ferry officials have been ongoing for the past week.
Officials for the port authority and the ferry company have been at odds over a variety of issues including the ferry company’s desire to move to a new modern terminal across the harbor in the East End.
You know a pol’s in trouble when he takes to the airwaves more than a year before a potential primary. Chris Dodd isn’t taking any chances as he rides the liberal credentials of Sen. Ted Kennedy to shore up his fragile Democratic support base with a television pitch about health care.
Dodd is also in public outrage mode firing salvos at financial institutions in an effort to counter the voter outrage directed at him for using his public position for financial gain while his constituents were hurting.
Dodd is facing a party challenge by Mystic businessman Merrick Alpert. Three Republicans have also announced challenges against Dodd.