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Reflections: A Look Back At 2017

December 24th, 2017 · 10 Comments · Analysis and Comment, Development and Zoning, Education, Law Enforcement, News and Events

Time for a little OIB 2017 reflection, starting with January. But more importantly, Merry Christmas and happy holidays to our entire OIB family, readers, posters. You’re the berries. Cheers!

At McLevy Green protesters rallied against President Donald Trump’s controversial immigration ban that they argue appeals to ignorance and fear. The plain-speaking State Senator Ed Gomes called Trump a racist.

Chapman

Former Chief Wilbur Chapman served as a public safety adviser. CT Post photo.

Mayor Joe Ganim’s public safety consultant Wilbur Chapman, hired at $120,000 per year to reel in police overtime, had trouble doing that very thing when he was Bridgeport police chief even though he had 100 more sworn officers at his deployment disposal, according to a review of overtime statistics and staffing levels provided by multiple police sources.

Statistical crime from 2015 to 2016 shows a mixed bag with murders and rapes down while felony larceny, motor vehicle thefts, shooting incidents and shooting victims up. Overall, factoring in all categories, crime increased during that period by roughly three percent, according to crime stats compiled by the city.

Connecticut’s cities are languishing in poverty, crime and fiscal stress, according to a report by the Connecticut-based think tank Yankee Institute, which diagnoses the problems and offers solutions. Hartford, in particular, is in a state of crisis, according to the report. Bridgeport and some other cities as well struggle with retirement-related debt that’s stretching budgets.

Behold the annual rite of passage: Bridgeport’s top 100 government wage earners for 2016. In the dead of winter it warms our souls like pitchers and catchers for spring training. A whole bunch of city police officers, as is tradition, performed a lot of overtime catching on behalf of taxpayer pitchers.

School board member Maria Pereira and education advocate Jessica Martinez are high-octane personalities with decidedly different mantras about the direction of the education system for Connecticut’s largest city. Pereira is a staunch protectionist of the local district, Martinez a proponent of charter schools that receive public funds but operate independently of traditional school districts. She’s also a plaintiff in a federal lawsuit challenging the state’s restrictions on school choice programs. (Martinez won a seat on the school board in November.)

Moore, Ganim

From 2016, Marilyn Moore with Joe Ganim at lectern.

State Senator Marilyn Moore who was reelected overwhelmingly in 2016 without the support of Mayor Joe Ganim declared Tuesday night that Ganim cozying up to Donald Trump means he has “turned his ear and back on the people that elected him.”

Bridgeport resident David Walker, former U.S. Comptroller General, writes in a commentary that also appears in the Washington Times that “The federal government’s ultimate fiscal goal should be to reduce and stabilize debt/GDP at a reasonable and sustainable level …”

Dan Woog has written about Westport (and many other subjects) for decades. In a new Woog column, Westport students chronicle the educational disparity with Bridgeport just miles away; two dramatically different worlds, one of sushi, the other of chicken fingers; multiple paraprofessionals in Westport classrooms versus, sometimes, just one for an entire Bridgeport school

Just about everything and everyone has a shelf life. Even the circus started by P.T. Barnum–Bridgeport mayor, philanthropist, business impresario–the single greatest contributor to Bridgeport’s history. Kenneth Feld, chief executive of the company that produces Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey announced it will close in May.

It’s the brutal reality of police department finances: keep overtime down. Well, until a major crime event occurs and city leaders must balance public outcry with fiscal prudence. That’s when the area is saturated with extra patrols and investigators. It costs money. And, by the way, we’re understaffed. Translation: more overtime. And so it goes.

You could argue state legislators are showing up to represent their peeps. But, and it’s a big one, should mileage reimbursements pad pensions? Both Democrats and Republicans benefit from this dubious perk.

Mayor Joe Ganim on Tuesday cut the ribbon to celebrate the grand opening of Milano’s Wine Bar & Pizzeria in Bijou Square Downtown. Milano’s filled the vacancy left by Two Boots.

Sacred Heart University has apologized to a Bridgeport man who was falsely accused of a sexual assault on college letterhead last April involving a student incident at the Golden Star Café Lounge that had been shut down for two months by the state for serving underage college drinkers.

Kimberly Staley

Chief Administrative Officer Kimberly Staley.

Following a shakeup of top-level officials last month, Mayor Joe Ganim has also altered salaries. With the start of 2017, as well, two women have emerged with influential roles, Chief Administrative Officer Kimberly Staley and de facto chief of staff Christine Bartlett-Josie who has government and political experience.

Shuttered for more than 40 years, solicitations for development proposals have gone out for the historic Poli Palace and Majestic theaters, according to Economic Development Director Tom Gill who says advancement of Downtown North redevelopment projects spurred interest in the twin gems.

City policy wonk Jeff Kohut, a 2011 mayoral candidate, is not bashful declaring the reasons he says Bridgeport development has not advanced like other Connecticut cities. He calls it the Stamford-Greenwich-Hartford “bullying of Bridgeport” to preserve the lower Fairfield County lifestyle, “especially cheap Bridgeport labor.”

City Health Director Maritza Bond has written a moving tribute that appears in The Huffington Post to former City Councilman Warren Blunt who died last Friday. He was 63.

As the Connecticut General Assembly prepares to convene this week, Bridgeport State House members Chris Rosario and Ezequiel Santiago assert that the process to review casino expansion in the state to address the new MGM casino in Springfield, Massachusetts is a “sham” shrouded in secrecy.

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10 Comments so far ↓

  • Joel Gonzalez

    The Youtube video above proves that The Bridgeport Kid is a female. Congratulation Froda, good job, Lennie.

  • Donald Day

    To Andy, Robert and Steven A, who can grate my last nerve I wish you and your families Season Greetings. To JML, Maria and Tom White who made me understand that I can feel indifference and scorn simultaneously, Happy Holidays. To Mackey, Lisa, Joel, Jennifer and Jimfox thanks for those dimes of knowledge and Merry Christmas to you and yours.

    Lennie to you and the OIB posters and readers, Seasons Greetings, Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas to you and your families, both nuclear and extended. And remember, Christ is the reason for the holiday.

    • The Bridgeport Kid

      And you, sir. Happy holidays. May the new year be a good one.

    • Jennifer Buchanan

      Merry and a blessed Christmas to you and yours Mr. Day.

      • Lisa Parziale

        Add me to your list my admired one, Merry Christmas to you and your family, it was my pleasure getting to know you better this year, and I look forward to more in the next.

    • Jimfox

      DD, Thanks for making change for our Dimes at times, an unadorned aluminum Festivus pole, practices such as the “Airing of Grievances” on OIB, “Feats of Strength”, and the labeling of easily explainable events such as (Keeley Vs. the City of Bridgeport) and other “Festivus miracles” which holds this family of OIB misfits together sometimes.

      Merry Christmas to you and your Family Don..

  • Frank Gyure

    Instead of looking back,I would like to look forward. Happy Holidays and a great New Year of 2018 to everyone on OIB. OIB is the gift that keeps on giving-information and communication about people who still care about this City called Bridgeport.

  • Ron Mackey

    Humbug, Don some those above are the Grinch who stole Christmas but what the heck, to everybody I wish you a Merry Christmas, Happy Kwanzaa, Happy New Year and Happy Holiday.

  • Jennifer Buchanan

    Merry Christmas to you and yours Lennie. And to all who read and comment- peace on earth and goodwill to all.

  • Jeff Kohut

    Merry Christmas, a belated Happy Hanukkah, and Happy Kwanza to all of the OIB followers/contributors holiday observers…

    And a very Merry Christmas to our host/referee Lennie (and Family)…

    RIP Warren. Bridgeport politics is meaner and nastier without you and your gentle, jovial spirit and poet’s heart…

    And Happy Holidays to all of the folks down county as they celebrate the ascendancy of Bridgeport and all of the entertainment and hedge-fund investment opportunities that all of our new busine$$eS will provide — even as they prepare to drastically expand their social horizons and welcome the many thousands of new resident workers that will live in affordable housing in their towns and replace all of the locally-employed Bridgeporters that will no longer make the daily commute back and forth down county… [And just think of how much easier the drive through the county will be without all of that commuting labor (even with the tens of thousands of casino visitors that will make the same trip throughout the day and night).]

    Looking forward to health, happiness — positive change and prosperity in 2018 — for all of us!.

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