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Providence Mayor: Leopard Does Not Change His Spots

September 11th, 2015 · 39 Comments · City Politics, News and Events

Flanked by Mayor Bill Finch and political supporters at the Steel Point redevelopment area of the East Side, Providence, Rhode Island Mayor Jorge Elorza who defeated mayor-turned-felon Buddy Cianci last year drew a parallel with Finch’s reelection battle with Joe Ganim asserting “To all the voters in Bridgeport, it’s important to remember that a leopard does not change his spots.”

Elorza defeated Cianci in a hotly contested general election open seat. Cianci was trying to make history in a second comeback attempt following removal from office for felonies. Cianci’s first comeback was successful decades ago when he was credited with the city’s revival. Prior to Ganim’s conviction on corruption charges in 2003, Cianci was banished from office a second time following a federal corruption probe of his office.

Finch was joined by the endorsed candidate for City Clerk Lydia Martinez and Town Clerk Don Clemons as well as several City Council candidates.

Finch, in the above video, highlights his development record as the crowd stood at the site of Starbucks, Chipotle and Bass Pro Shops scheduled to open soon.

Finch, Ganim and Mary-Jane Foster face off in Wednesday Democratic primary.


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39 Comments so far ↓

  • Lisa Parziale

    Hey Jorge, when you move to Bridgeport CT, you may get a few to listen to your nonsense. Until then, go back to Rhode Island and do your job.

  • BPT Punisher

    + Side … jobs for some Bridgeport residents
    - Side … no revenue to be seen for the city of Bridgeport

  • Come Back Bridgeport

    All should agree a leopard does not change his spots. That’s why all should vote for Mary-Jane next Wednesday.

  • Andmar

    Being from Bridgeport I think it is easy to get excited about the prospects of things changing in this city, especially having grown up seeing this city at its worst. However, although it is easy to get excited about the prospects of new development, it is essential, as a citizen, to be thoughtful about these new projects. The following are some general questions/points regarding how to assess the prospective developments in order to ascertain their contribution to the city.

    1. Is the project complete and in operation? Although the brick and mortar is visible this does not mean the site is officially open. Sure, it is exciting to see construction take place, but as a general rule of thumb, it is necessary to see projects in their completion. This point is especially applicable to developments for which there are only artistic renderings. The reason is it can take years between the time of planning to construction because developers have to see if they can secure their financing. Oftentimes the financing cannot be completed and the project collapses.

    2. How is the project operating? Once the project is open, how is it operating? Is it attracting customers, is it bustling, or is it empty–a ghost town. For example a supermarket was developed in the Arcade Mall, about two years ago. This was touted as a success upon its completion, but it was usually empty and did not attract customers–it closed eventually. Thus, successful development is not about creating structures, it is about creating the structure and having successful operation within that structure (at least for a reasonable amount of time).

    3. Sustainability: This is related to the previous point. Once a development goes up, does it remain open or does it close six months or a year later. A development that is not sustainable across time could hardly be called a success. Thus, successful development is not about “what is about to happen” but should have some sustainability. For example, the Arcade Mall had numerous vendors over the past years. Ribbon cuttings were done, but these shops closed over tim–they could not stand the test of time, sadly. Lofts on Lafayette–Very nice project. But the tax process that surrounded it, Bridgeport’s high taxes, and structural issues have now led this project to have many fewer homeowners than before, and many foreclosures. A great idea that did not succeed to the extent it should have (at least ’til now).

    4. Economic contribution: Development must also be assessed for its economic contribution. For example, some points include the following. Does it expand the tax base? If not, then the extent to which it can be considered economic development is questionable, especially if viable employment is absent. This point is particularly critical because the site may be more vulnerable to deterioration over time (e.g., Steelpointe). However, it may improve the city aesthetically and image-wise but that is about it.

    5. Does the development produce viable employment? If the development does not contribute to the tax base, then an alternative could be the contribution of high-paying employment.

    So these are just some general points on how to assess the contribution of new development coming. Some projects have met some of these, some none. My thinking is more energy needs to focus on not just building the development, but more planning in regard to sustainability and economic contribution. I welcome any other thoughts.

    • Steven Auerbach

      Andmar, that was an extremely well-thought-out post. I appreciate the time you spent. I agree with many of the things you stated and I believe many of these issues are being addressed by the current development department. A good idea is a good idea no matter where it comes from.

  • Hector A. Diaz


    • Steven Auerbach

      Advanced Therapy,
      So out of respect I clicked on the link. You incorporated me into a post I was not part of. Since your posts are nonsense I will not waste my time responding. Notice I wouldn’t make lewd suggestions to you even if you had the balls to post under your real name. I think Lennie is completely losing control of his blog and imagines some of us enjoy being entertainment for the Ganim and Foster losers. I have friends who read this blog, asshole. Either play nice or …

      • The Bridgeport Kid

        Your friends are only offended you are such a shameless asshole. Bill Finch should pay you to shut the fuck up. You can dish out the abuse; learn to take it. The world does not revolve around you and your half-assed opinions. Get over yourself.

        • Steven Auerbach

          Bridgeport Kid, leave it to you to also chime in where you aren’t wanted. I’ve made my point to Lennie Grimaldi, I will not lower myself to get into a swearing match with a socially retarded individual. Your posts speak for themselves. Your handicapping of the race just proves your lack of insight. Carry on. Wednesday is only a few days away, Mr. Brown, and it is all over. After Mayor Finch wins I would like him to just keep working to make Bridgeport a better place. Let Torres do debates with Coviello and David Daniels. They need face time. Sept. 16 is the election.

          • The Bridgeport Kid

            You are just so simply clueless. Unbelievable. You really have deluded yourself into thinking your opinion matters more than anyone else’s. What a joke you are, Steven. You never respond directly to any queries we make of you. It’s always a personal attack, the low road out for you.

            I have a great deal more insight than you do, sir. Also a great deal more objectivity. You have neither. You are just an angry old man, pissed off at Joe Ganim because he fired you from a no-show job. You absolutely hate it when racism is brought up, just makes you steamin’ mad. Your angry reaction to the issue is a fairly strong indication that you know I’m right and you just don’t want to know about such things. Bill Finch is a racist and an elitist.

            You don’t want to know about failing schools. Your response to that problem is “Finch fixed up Newfield Park, now the ghetto kids have a place to play!” That and a water park, BIG FUCKING DEAL. As if that sort of thing is going to improve the quality of education in Bridgeport. Even Bill Finch knows the problem is intractable; he took his kids out of Bridgeport’s failing public schools and enrolled them into a charter school. Great vote of confidence from the mayor.

            You’re just an angry old man, Steven Auerbach, angry the world passed you by, you have no class, God picked you from the Ugly Tree. Get over yourself. Your opinion doesn’t count and never did.

          • Steven Auerbach

            Bridgeport Kid,
            If your post was intended to hurt me or press my buttons, it did not. You really do think you are important as well as imagine people enjoy your posts. Your projecting onto me your sad reality doesn’t bother me. In four days you will have nothing left to say. All you need to know is my concern is about Bridgeport and its future. Your comments are just vile and nasty. You attempt to add a little humor, but in reality they are severe character assaults. Your problem is I am a Mayor Finch supporter and you are not. Your problem is I have friends in all camps. Everything I say on this blog is truthful. Everything you say is negative and manufactured crap.

            Like Bpt Punisher, you never apologize for your rude and unnecessary comments. You just keep moving along as though your comments have no consequences. They do. Once the comment is made, you cannot retrieve it.

            It is like standing on a mountaintop with a feather pillow. Shaking out all the feathers and then trying to retrieve them. The damage is already done. You really are just a very mean-spirited nasty person. Personally, I do not take your comments to heart. The fact Lennie Grimaldi has allowed individuals like yourself inject nasty, inappropriate comments, especially when they have nothing to do with any comments being made, is sad.

            I can see your fan club. Love you Derek Brown, please don’t ever change. You bring joy and music to the lives you touch.

            Good luck with your candidate Enrique Torres. Black power, baby!

          • The Bridgeport Kid

            Whatever Stevie,
            You have shown us once again you are a loudmouthed gasbag, a narcissist who only cares about himself. You are hands-down the rudest, most ill-mannered person on this blog. I’m sure your mother is proud to know she raised a son who wants to put his dick in everyone’s mouth. You have no concern for the future of the people of the city of Bridgeport. From what you say about Bill Finch, you don’t care about him. It’s all about defeating Joe Ganim because he fired your pathetic ass from a no-show job in City Hall. Guess you didn’t learn the rule about not holding a grudge for more than twenty seconds.

            Your posts are not based on fact and are in fact vile and nasty; stop projecting your own pathetic qualities on the rest of us. Just leave, man. Get the fuck out of here. You have absolutely nothing to add to the discussions here. All you do is taunt, mock and ridicule the rest of us. This is serious, people not being able to vote. But it’s not important to you. You are so consumed with self-loathing you can only be hostile toward others. You have low self esteem and no self-worth. It’s no one else’s fault but your own.

            Just go away. Oh right, you said you were going to. That was another lie.

  • Ron Mackey

    What a joke, things are that bad.

  • Hector A. Diaz

    It’s nice other Mayors have come out to help their colleague, but what can they do for Bridgeport? Sacramento, Boston and now Providence. Too bad none of them told him what a bad idea a 20-year tax abatement was. What Mayor Finch should do is ask the Bass Pro people to speak up in support of him, then again considering the ability people from Bridgeport have of reading into a person and the owner’s lack of having a filter, that may not be such a good idea.

  • anna

    Changing spots? This mayor must be talking about Finch.

  • Andrew C Fardy

    Why can’t he get mayors from Connecticut to come to Bpt?

  • Tom White

    Are voters expected to be impressed by the cute comments by Jorge Elorza? Who is Jorge Elorza?
    Another day, another video.
    I counted nine candidates who joined Finch and Elorza in the crowded video frame. Add up their IQ scores and you may have five capable people (ethical values is another issue). Yes, I know that was a nasty comment but these are people who will run Bridgeport government. The Bridgeport Democrat party talent pool on Finch’s ticket is pretty thin.

  • city hall smoker

    See the desperation all over Bill’s face.

  • Frank the Cabana Boy

    Tax Bill, go get your ticket for the Titanic.

  • The Bridgeport Kid

    There is an entrenched and intractable power structure in Bridgeport that does not recognize the humanity of the poor and the working poor. Until everyone is doing well financially, materially and career-wise, the city is not doing well. A community is a living, breathing thing. It should be a sum much greater than its parts. If it is not then the community’s leaders should recognize the weak and idling branches and work to heal them.

    Auerbach is right to point out that yes, cranes are in the air and shovels are in the ground. None of that is improving the quality of life in Bridgeport. Taxes are still higher than necessary, the school system still sucks, the worst in the state of Connecticut. Bill Finch is fond of bragging about Steal Point, about the new schools, about a goddamned water park. Nearly all those projects were on the drawing board when his nemesis Joe Ganim was in the mayor’s office. The land for Steel Point was acquired 20 years ago; Bill Finch was taking up space in the private sector. The money for the new schools was acquired 20 years ago while Joe Ganim was on TV telling the rest of Connecticut Bridgeport was “working our way back.” Then he went to prison for being a crook.

    Chris Caruso challenged John Fabrizi, “the accidental mayor.” Caruso’s only campaign promise was “I’M GOING TO RID THE CITY OF THE CORRUPT POLITICAL MACHINE,” nothing else. Wouldn’t talk about taxes or the weather, just “I’M GOING TO RID THE CITY OF THE CORRUPT POLITICAL MACHINE.” The machine as operated by Mario Testa couldn’t allow that to happen but Johnny Fabs wasn’t so fab after admitting to abusing cocaine and booze during his time in office, nor did he burnish his rep by testifying as a character witness for a convicted child molester who had knocked up a fourteen-year-old girl. So Bill Finch was recruited. He didn’t want the job. He was working for Paul Timpanelli at the BRBC, loving life and not having to be responsible for anything. But Il Duce di Testo’s prevailed and Finch beat Caruso in the Democratic primary.

    A vote for either Finch or Ganim is a vote for the same old same old, the dysfunctional and corrupt politics of the last 25 years, “A choice of cancer or polio.” From the audience’s reaction at the two debates yesterday it is clear that the DTC’s “dog and pony” show is wearing thin; people are ready for a change. The general election is going to come down to a choice between Joseph P. Ganim and Rick Torres, a choice of continued malady or beginning a much-needed healing process.

  • Jeff Kohut

    Kid. You are certainly one of the more thoughtful and informed among us on the blog. And, like the rest of us, you’re sick of the self-serving nonsense in City Hall (on a background of desperation in so much of the city). You make a lot of good points and sum up the blog segment issues like a pro.

    You also sound like a guy who has seen quite a bit of “life.”

    I would urge you to take some time in the next few days and seek out the opportunity to talk with Joe Ganim about Bridgeport. Joe has also seen quite a bit of “life” and I suspect you would find him a very smart and sincere guy. I also think he would like to hear your concerns about Bridgeport and the mayoralty he would bring to City Hall. Give him a fair chance to make his case.

    Rick Torres is a fine man with great ideas; but could he navigate Bridgeport City Hall? Is he willing to take a more 21st Century approach to redeveloping Bridgeport, or would he fall back onto his doctrinaire, Republican philosophy of “just lower taxes and everything will take care of itself.” That approach begs the question of how to lower taxes enough to create that situation, and do we want to just wait for any and all companies to knock on our door, or do we want to try to select companies that will capture the future–as happened when P.T. Barnum was “promoting” our city.

    I think when you speak with Joe Ganim, you’ll find a leader with a fierce zeal to redeem his legacy and Bridgeport’s future–by way of a comprehensive, proactive plan to re-create the economic dynamo (the center of innovation and industry) that gave the world so many new products and fueled the prosperity of the region for so many decades).

    (I know you don’t need the mayor from the Golden Capitol of New England -Providence – elling us how to think. What a silly excuse for a press conference! This one confirms Bill and Company know it’s the end of their story in Bridgeport politics. What has Mr. Cabeza Gorda done for Providence? What is Providence? It is just a poor city–a pit–where a traveler on their way to Boston might want to stop and get a bite to eat on the waterm while avoiding most of the rest of the city. BFD!)

    • The Bridgeport Kid

      Enrique Torres has the right stuff to navigate City Hall. I think Joseph P. Ganim has “made some mistakes” but he has not truly atoned for them. Will he be completely honest and transparent in his governance, or will he fall back into the bad acting that sent him to federal prison for seven years?

      Finch is by most accounts a pathological liar and a control freak with serious anger management issues. It is more than a little doubtful all the wonderful development currently underway in Bridgeport, from Steel Point(e) to the schools, is really his doing. Some if not most of these projects had their genesis during Ganim’s tenure yet he is taking credit for them. His response to questions concerning the woeful state of public education in Bridgeport was to extol the virtues of new parks and a water slide.

      Neither Bill Finch nor Joe Ganim is truly his own man. Both are supported, officially and unofficially respectively, by different factions of the Democratic Town Committee, the corrupt political machine we all know has been running City Hall and the common council for decades. Mario Testa’s control of the organization has been more or less absolute for a long time.

      More than a few of the people of the city of Bridgeport are going to decline choosing between the lesser of these two evils because an evil is still an evil. The one is a convicted criminal and the other is a documented liar. Neither has the best interests of the city at the top of their agendas. Joe Ganim is very cynically exploiting the black community to secure a job that pays an annual salary of six figures, plus benefits. Bill Finch is struggling to retain the same job because he does not possess any marketable job skills. Who will hire a 60-year-old man who has been fired from at least six private-sector jobs?

      Rick Torres is the best man for the job at this point. I’ve listened to what Ganim, Finch and Foster have to say. I have also listened to what David Daniels, Tony Barr, Chris Taylor and Charlie Coviello have to say. The first three all come up short on more than a few social and economic issues. The latter four are naive about the responsibilities of being chief executive of a city of 150,000.

  • carolanne curry

    Well the basic lesson here is the Finch/Wood team has no idea what a leopard does or does not do with spots. Basic laws of nature show us spots do change on a leopard.
    And the reality is the Finch/Wood team has no idea what changes a decent human being like Joe Ganim can achieve.

    • Steven Auerbach

      Carolanne Curry, to your post 9/11 7:53 pm

      The Finch /Wood team will never know in reality what a decent crook, liar, ten years to repent, convicted, divorced, unemployed, decent, sweet and lovable human being can achieve because so many of us are working diligently to make sure the keys to the kingdom are not given to a very classy Easton suburbanite who has the support of the impoverished because they are A–not educated or B–do not pay taxes. Carolanne, Joseph is lucky to have your support and you are lucky you would have a job if Ganim wins. Well the only true statement is, Ganim is lucky to have your support. Unfortunately for Joe, you cannot deliver votes and the Finch momentum is building so quick over the past few days, even I am amazed! Surely you know it is over next Wednesday. The money will stop flowing.

      Bridgeport Kid, oh how perfect it would be in your world if Ganim won. Obviously Torres would beat him! Unfortunately, that is not how it will play out. :-)

      • The Bridgeport Kid

        Well Steve,
        You just confirmed, one more time, how delusional you are. By now the Ganim vs. Finch dog-and-pony show is very stale. Mary-Jane Foster has grown so tired of it, she took to seizing Joe Ganim’s microphone: “Boys, boys …” All the spiting, all the baiting is a distraction from the real issues.

        More than a few people do not want to see a convicted felon elected. An even greater number do not want a documented liar re-elected. The spite, the baiting, the incessant carping on Ganim’s criminal past and Finch’s broken promises is not accomplishing anything for either of them. They are cancelling each other out. If this is the way they behave on the campaign trail how will they act during negotiations with the City Council or potential investors? It is more a turn-off than anything else.

        Rick Torres has very good name recognition and excellent favorability ratings in opinion polls because he is not a part of the corrupt and dysfunctional party apparatus that is the DTC. Both Finch and Ganim are supported by this malevolent machine. Mr. Torres is waiting until after the September 16th primary to shift his campaign effort into high gear. The primary is all about the public’s opinion of Finch, Foster and Ganim. This election cycle, the outcome will not predict the winner in November’s general election. All three Democratic “hopefuls” are on the general ballot.

        In the end, the November election will be down to Torres vs. Ganim. Finch has blown every opportunity to impress voters. He became testy at the first debate and came across like a dumb-ass at the next two and the forum at Cathedral of Faith. His ship is sinking. So is Ganim’s. After charging out of the box at a full gallop, his campaign effort has lost more than a little of its luster.

        Finch’s campaign never really got off the blocks.

      • Hector A. Diaz

        Steve, even you use Finch/Wood as a description of your candidate. Enough said.

        • Steven Auerbach

          Hector, I respect Adam Wood and I understand where he stands in the Finch administration. On the other hand Hector, the Ganim/Testa relationship is truly disturbing. Mario has created a rift in the Democratic Town Committee and with Ganim losing this election he is finally done. A New Beginning with a new head of the Democratic town committee. A new place to hang out. Honestly Hector, in all of my years following city politics, I never had a negative thing to say about Adam Wood. I never heard about him except from the opposition. I met him once when Mary-Jane ran four years ago at a debate when the city cars were an issue. Honestly, I think most people like the guy. All anti-Finch folks have horror stories. I don’t see it, Hector. However Ganim and Testa are synonymous with corruption and backroom deals. How Mario was not part of the Ganim scandal is surprising especially all the original fans of Ganim. Those days are long ago and lots of water under the bridge.

    • The Bridgeport Kid

      I’m sure Joe Ganim is a thoughtful and intelligent man. He also has three strikes against him. 

      #1: He is a felon, convicted of racketeering and public corruption.

      #2 He has not shown anything resembling remorse for his crimes other than to say “Mistakes were made.” If he is not remorseful for his past behavior how will he behave in the future?

      #3: He still has strong ties to Mario Testa and the Democratic Town Committee, the corrupt political organization that has poisoned the political process for decades, bloated the municipal payroll with patronage appointments and no-show jobs and disenfranchised many many eligible voters from participating in the most Democratic of processes.

      I’m like a lot of other people in Bridgeport, fed up with the petty sniping of the two Democratic front runners. it will be wonderful when the primary is over. Ganim accuses Finch of lying, Finch points out Ganim is a convicted felon, Foster stands up and says, “Boys, now now. Behave yourselves.” Tony Barr is pissed off at the world, David Daniels is here to listen, Charlie Coviello is … Charlie Coviello. All the while no one is talking about the serious issues plaguing Bridgeport.

      Aint’ politics great?

  • Come Back Bridgeport

    Kid–please go back and read Foster’s “First 50 Days in Office.” It’s more than Finch’s first eight years in office. And let’s not even remind ourselves of Ganim’s embarrassing years in office.

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