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Russo: No Rubber Stamps, Plus: Trolling For Topics, And Mayor’s State Of The City

September 22nd, 2009 · 45 Comments · City Budget, City Council, Civil Service, Development and Zoning, State Politics

1 p.m. update: Former Republican State Senator Rob Russo officially declared his candidacy for U.S. Representative calling Democrat Jim Himes a rubber stamp for Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and vowing to end crisis spending by Congressional Democrats.

Russo made his announcement on Sherman Green in Fairfield, using health care as the centerpiece of his announcement saying government intrusion is destroying America’s health care system. He called the relationship between a doctor and patient “sacred, and I’m going to fight to make sure it stays that way.” Both Russo’s father Robert and brother Greg are physicians.

Russo, a Bridgeport resident, joins Republican State Senator Dan Debicella in the race to face Himes in November 2010. The question is: which GOP candidate can raise the dough to run a competitive race? No money, no chance. Himes will have millions to spend.

Connecticut’s 4th Congressional District covers 17 communities including cities Bridgeport, Norwalk and Stamford, and also features the state’s gold coast towns Greenwich, Darien, Westport and Fairfield, running inland to take in suburban towns such as Easton, Trumbull and Monroe.

See full text of Russo speech below:

Good afternoon. I want to thank you all for joining us. We are at a critical moment in this country.

We are facing great challenges – our economy is struggling, our deficit ballooning and our future uncertain.

Yet we have a Congress led by Nancy Pelosi – and robotically followed by Jim Himes that keeps making the wrong choices.

They raise our taxes in a recession. Explode spending. Borrow against our children and grandchildren’s future to bail out the banks and the automobile companies.

Now they want the government to take over our health care.

This is wrong. We can’t afford it. And they must be stopped.

My name is Rob Russo, and I am running for Congress to stop Nancy Pelosi and Jim Himes from suffocating our economy. And although no one can deny our health insurance system needs reform, I won’t let them destroy the best health care system in the world.

I am running for Congress to give the people the kind of independent, thoughtful leadership they deserve.

I am running for Congress because we can’t afford a rubber stamp whose solutions to our every problem is more spending and higher taxes.

Connecticut’s Fourth Congressional District has always had an independent voice in Congress. Whether it was Stewart McKinney or Chris Shays, we’ve elected independent, outspoken leaders to represent us.

They always took the time to listen and learn from their constituents. They didn’t march in lock step with their party bosses.

They told us what they believed and sometimes we disagreed, but we know that our interests came first.

We’ve never had a rubber stamp representing us in Congress, but we do now.

Jim Himes is marching in lock step with Nancy Pelosi … on the economy, on health care, on taxes and spending.

Jim Himes wants you to believe that he is independent because he ONLY votes with Nancy Pelosi and the Democratic leadership 95 percent of the time.

95 Percent.

Do you agree with your spouse 95 percent of the time?

Do you agree with your kids, your friends, with anyone 95 percent of the time? Do you agree with your boss 95 percent of the time?

Well Jim Himes agrees with his boss 95 percent of the time.

Jim Himes actually announced a little while ago that he was the most independent Congressman in Connecticut. Compared to whom? Rosa DeLauro?

That’s like Bernie Madoff saying he’s more trustworthy than Charles Ponzi …

And I have news for Mr. 95 Percent. Agreeing with Nancy Pelosi 95 percent of the time is not independent. It’s is partisan. It is liberal. And it is wrong.

It is wrong to address every question with the same answer: spend more of our money, raise more of our taxes, and government will solve all of our problems.

We need to change our direction now.

The economic crisis hit a lot of families in Connecticut pretty hard. A lot of folks lost jobs. The unemployment rate is still climbing.

Jim Himes and the Democrats in Congress came to the American people and they said, “We have the answer.”

What was the answer? They told us to look the other way, and they picked our pockets. Trillions, literally trillions of dollars in new spending.

They took our money and they used it to take over the banks.

They took more of our money, and they used it to take over the auto industry.

Their prescription to revive the economy was a so-called stimulus package bloated with earmarks and pork-barrel spending.

The ringleader of this Democratic Congress, Nancy Pelosi, got $30 million to bail out a mouse habitat in her district.

They exploded the deficit to more than a trillion dollars.

The national debt is nearing 12 trillion dollars. That’s a debt our children and grandchildren will be forced to repay.

Believe it or not, the government has a credit limit, just like we do. If you or I reach the limit on our credit card, we put the credit card away.

For Jim Himes and the Democratic Congress, that’s the wrong answer – they’re about to raise the limit on the government’s credit card, yet again.

It’s time we held them accountable.

There’s no question our health care system is in crisis.

We have a crisis of affordability. Health care is too expensive. There are people without health care because they can’t afford health care.

But Jim Himes and the Democrats keep making the wrong choices.

Their plan ignores the crisis of rising costs. After all, they can just keep coming back for more of our money.

We can’t let that happen.

Health care is very personal for me.

If you know me, you know that my family has been practicing medicine in Connecticut for over 50 years. My grandfather devoted his life to the health of this community. My father, and my brother Greg both regularly counsel patients and help them make informed choices about their care.

The relationship between a doctor and patient is sacred, and I’m going to fight to make sure it stays that way.

If we are going to reform health care, we need to keep four goals in mind:

It should remain personal, and honor the doctor-patient relationship.

It should be portable – when you change your job, you shouldn’t have to change your doctor.

It should be accessible, for all Americans – regardless of income, or pre-existing conditions.

That why we need to focus on making it affordable – we cannot let costs be a barrier to care. We need to pass tort reform, and decrease unnecessary mandates, and invest in information technology that makes it easier to share knowledge.

We don’t need yet another government takeover.

Let me tell you why, with your help, I can win this race.

I’ve worked side by side with Congressman Chris Shays and Governor Jodi Rell, two sincere, common-sense public servants, who taught me volumes about public service.

We may have disagreed with Chris Shays from time to time, but he always took the time to listen to the people of the Fourth Congressional District.

I put those lessons to work as a Republican representing Bridgeport, Trumbull, and Monroe in the State Senate, and I achieved results.

In Hartford, I fought to cut the gas tax and cap property tax increases.

I helped strike down unfunded mandates that place a burden on local taxpayers, and I spearheaded an audit of the way Bridgeport’s public schools spend the state’s money.

As the economy began to falter, I found a way to save good manufacturing jobs from leaving Connecticut.

I learned what it takes to bring our Republican message into the bluest part of this blue state, and go head-to-head with the Democrats and win.

With your help, I can’t wait to take on Jim Himes and the liberal Democrats who give him his marching orders.

This is an important campaign, and I look forward to the debate over the coming months.

I’m Rob Russo, and I’m running to be your representative in Congress. Because it is time we replaced a liberal rubber stamp.

It is time we end one-party rule.

It is time we take back this country, take back this Congress, and stop mortgaging our children and our grandchildren’s future.

Be It Resolved

Yes, lots of reading material today. Yeah, I know I like to keep stuff short, but every now and then we need to stretch things out.

We start with two resolutions submitted by City Councilman Bob Troll Walsh to the Miscellaneous Matters Committee at Monday’s council meeting. Troll has his back up over city residency, particularly Civil Service Commission President Eleanor Guedes who couldn’t tell me point blank whether she actually lives at her place of business that she claims as her voting residency. Eleanor owns a house in Trumbull.

Troll also wants the City Council to relax regulations on the public addressing the legislative body. Council members Andre Baker and Evette Brantley signed on to Walsh’s resolutions. See Troll’s two resolutions below.

Following the Troll is Mayor Bill Finch’s State of the City address which he delivered Monday night to the City Council. The mayor’s speech runs in its entirety. I figure if I’m gonna rant about this and that I must allow the mayor his full dissertation for the state of the city.

Walsh’s resolutions …

RE: A resolution requesting proof of residency of a member of a city board which otherwise might bar the person from continuing to serve on a city board  

Whereas, recent media reports have raised serious questions as to the bona fide residents of Eleanor Guedes, a member of the city of Bridgeport Civil Service Commission; and

Whereas, the City Charter of the city of Bridgeport clearly states that “except as otherwise provided in this charter, no person shall be appointed to any board or commission established by this charter who is not a resident and registered voter of the city”; and

Whereas, published reports indicate that her stated residency at 1425 Noble Avenue contains no residential component per the city of Bridgeport Tax Assessor’s records on file on-line with the city of Bridgeport; and

Whereas, published reports indicate that Ms. Guedes owns a residential property in Trumbull at 48 Teller Road; and

Whereas, published reports indicate that Ms. Guedes failed to unequivocally acknowledge her bona fide residence as 1425 Nobel Avenue, Bridgeport, CT when approached by the media;

Be it therefore resolved that the City Council directs Ms. Guedes to file with the City Clerk a sworn and notarized affidavit acknowledging her residence as 1425 Noble Ave, Bridgeport, CT in accordance with the Residence for Voting Purposes Definition per the Secretary of State.

Be it further resolved that should Ms. Guedes fail to file such a sworn affidavit with the City Clerk then the matter should be referred to the Ethics Commission of the City of Bridgeport for appropriate action.

Resolution regarding public speaking portion of City Council session

Whereas, current rules allow to have 6 speakers address the City Council for a period of time not to exceed 5 minutes before the start of any council meeting; and

Whereas, current rules require that said speakers must register to speak with the City Clerk’s office at least 5 days prior to said meeting; and

Whereas, it is common not to have all 6 time slots filled prior to publishing the City Council Agenda; and

Whereas, this extended time line prevents the public from addressing pressing issues that come to light after this arbitrary deadline

Be it therefore resolved that the City Council amends rule XXV to allow for speakers to sign up at 6:30 PM on the evening of the council meeting if all six slots have not been previously scheduled or in the event that a previously scheduled speakers fails to be present at the start of the Public Hearing Forum.

XXV.

Public Hearing Forum

There shall be a public hearing forum before the City Council on each night that the City Council meets in regular session commencing one-half hour prior to the scheduled commencement of the Council meeting. Anyone desiring to speak at said hearing shall be given 5 minutes to speak. In order to be eligible to speak, one must contact the City Council, through the City Clerk’s Office no later than 4:30 p.m. on the Wednesday preceding the City Council meeting. Such requests shall be honored on a first come, first serve basis, and no more than a maximum of 6 speakers will be allowed during the public hearing forum.

The minutes of said hearing shall be recorded by the Council stenographer and attendance of the Councilpersons at said hearing shall be taken prior to the convening of said hearing.

Mayor Finch’s State of the City address:

Mayor’s Annual Report to the City Council 

Sept. 21, 2009

by

 Mayor Bill Finch

The past year has been a difficult one, but look at how far we’ve come – we’ve weathered an economic downturn that scuttled several large banks and investment houses, but here in Bridgeport we worked through a $20 million deficit, balanced the budget, and for the first time in memory, the current year’s budget is $2 million less than last year.

We’ve also reformed our budgeting process, so for the first time we have an accurate picture of what our revenues and expenditures actually will entail. We’ve ended the practice of utilizing one-time revenues and expect to end the year with a balanced budget. Our budgeting process is so improved, that two international government associations recognized our efforts: We received a certificate of excellence in financial reporting from the Government Finance Officer Association, and, the City was one of only 20 across the United States to be recognized for its long-term performance measurement efforts by the International City/County Managers Association.

I am here tonight with a hopeful tone and guarded optimism. Our City is filled with pride and hope, and I truly believe we are about to turn a corner in many areas.

However, we face more challenges ahead – double digit unemployment, increases in foreclosures and more people who need social services than ever before, but we will continue to work together in a spirit of cooperation to find ways to keep our City moving forward.

Before I get into details of this annual report, I want to stress four themes that the people of Bridgeport, our City employees, the City Council and, me, as your Mayor, should all be proud.

1. In a trying period, we as a city, and we as a city government, rose to the challenge. We tightened our belts, we made difficult decisions, we worked together, and we delivered a balanced budget without dipping into our meager reserve funds. And we made the hard decisions to change and trim spending in certain areas that were previously thought to be untouchable. We were creative, fair, balanced and determined, and for that we should all be proud and feel a sense of accomplishment.

A year ago I stood here and told you we would have to do more with less, and we have.

2. City unions and management worked together in a spirit of cooperation and compromise to preserve vital services, make difficult job cuts and hold the line on salaries in order to position our city for the future.

3. The state pension legislation was adopted, which will save the City millions in payments for two years while we have an opportunity to shore up pension finances.

4. And I save the best for last. As we all know, in order to deliver more city services, including improving education services for our children, while not placing an excessive burden on our taxpayers, there is only one mathematical answer: Attracting more business to Bridgeport and adding to our tax base. And I am pleased to report that we have two key projects that are moving forward.

Within the past month, we have solidified a proposal with the developers of Steelpointe, which, with City Council approval, will finally begin moving forward in phases –a more realistic approach to development in these tight economic times.

In addition, just a week or so ago, the City and the Port Authority announced that developers have been chosen for the former Carpenter Tech site in the East End. Simon Konover and Tate George are teaming up to bring a commercial/retail development to a site that until a year or so ago everyone believed should only house another industrial use.  Their plan will bring new retail opportunities, offices and public access to the waterfront in a section of the city that has long been under-served.

While those are the two largest development projects on the drawing board, several other of what we like to call our “singles and doubles” have continued to move forward.

· United Rentals, the largest equipment rental company in the world, has constructed a 40,000 square foot rental and leasing operation in Bridgeport, successfully reclaiming a brownfields site. This will be their biggest site in the Northeast and represents about $7 million in personal property.

· American Fabrics  — what was once a defunct factory in the East End, is now an example of what can happen when we think outside the box about what to do with brownfields. The developer has invested about $5 million to create 150,000 square feet of commercial and industrial space. He’s also made room for a burgeoning artists’ community, including painters, sculptors and a musical instrument company, among others. This project will bring much-needed jobs and activity to a long neglected piece of property in the City’s East End.

· B&E Juices, a local soft drink and juice distributor, found themselves outgrowing their home on Connecticut Avenue, and were considering their options. They saw the progress the City was making and wanted to remain a part of it. They are now taking an underutilized brownfields site on Knowlton Avenue, cleaning it up and expanding their business.

All of these projects will fit into the City’s Master Plan of Development, recently approved by the City Council and the Planning & Zoning Commission. This plan, many years in the making, charts a course for development in the city that will allow us to foster transit-oriented development in the downtown and denser development along already-established commercial corridors.

Speaking of transit-oriented development – the Citytrust building and the Arcade apartments are now fully leased. Our City’s proximity to I-95, Metro-North, bus and ferry service makes it an ideal location for the numbers of young professionals who are attracted to living in our downtown. Among the attractions to those who want to live downtown are the Arena and the Ballpark at Harbor Yard, which have drawn thousands of visitors to our area for sporting events and concerts. Our successful American Hockey League franchise Sound Tigers pulls hockey fans from near and far, and our hometown baseball team – the Bluefish, have attracted nearly 3 million fans since the ballpark opened more than 10 years ago.

This influx of new residents also has helped fuel the growth of retail and restaurants in our downtown. A number of new restaurants have joined our established eateries to form a restaurant district that is attracting regional attention. If you haven’t tried them yet, I encourage you to have lunch or dinner at places such as Épernay, Fraiche Burger, Amici Miei, and Café Lulu.

As I mentioned earlier, the past year has been a challenging one for our City. I believe we’ve met the challenge by thinking creatively and bringing a more professional approach to City government. In order to balance our budget, tough decisions were made:

· We have become more efficient. Over the last two fiscal years, the city has eliminated more than 200 positions; we worked hard with labor unions to achieve fair compromises, saving the City as much money as possible while preserving as many jobs and services as we could. We took voluntary furloughs, including my own, and saved a half-million dollars. We reduced take-home cars by 43 percent, an area previously thought to be untouchable. We implemented a ban on non-essential travel. And, we worked hard to enhance revenues.

· We’ve raised $2.4 million dollars with the sale of city-owned property this year, and I will be recommending more sales in the coming year.

· We increased revenue from our Bootfinder program by nearly $1 million dollars and adopted a new “get tough” attitude toward tax delinquents.

· We increased collection of personal property and real estate tax delinquents and in the case of the top 50 offenders, as I promised, we have either collected the money that is owed us, foreclosed on property, or we are in court on behalf of our taxpayers.

· We have also instilled a new sense of honesty and integrity into the way we do business. I have hired people who believe in service to the common good and you are seeing this in action. Honest, open government is going to be central to our success.

· One major step we’ve taken toward this goal was the creation of the Small and Minority Business Resource Office, which has become the main point of entry for small, minority and women-owned businesses seeking opportunities with the City of Bridgeport. Of the more than $18 million dollars of primary contracts that Bridgeport awarded in the past year, more than $5 million or about 30 percent, were awarded to minority-owned businesses.

In the area of education, two notable public works projects are moving forward. The Discovery K-8 Magnet School and the Interdistrict Magnet High School. Both will help reduce class sizes while creating much needed jobs. Both of these schools, I might add, will have a high Leadership in Environment and Energy Design, known as a LEED rating. This will save money on the operation of the schools and lower our carbon footprint.

This past year, I recommended the City sell two of its decommissioned public schools to Achievement First to expand their charter school operation in the City. Achievement First will ultimately educate almost a 1,000 Bridgeport children in public charter schools, giving our parents more choice in their children’s education.

CitiStat continues to move forward with the use of new technology which will help us track customer input and concerns and have real data to show for our efforts. We’re using a web-based program called QAlert, a citizen service request management software to track the many citizen requests we receive every day. This technology will help every employee in the “chain of action” to be plugged in and know where a request stands and when it gets resolved. This technology will also help us track budget items, for example the amount of cold patch we might need to fill potholes, on a year-to-year basis.

I heard from the Council, and I agreed that it was time for us to tackle the blight problem  in our City. Our anti-blight initiative is moving forward – in the last two months we’ve been able to take down 6 buildings, some of which had been sitting vacant, burned-out or boarded up for more than 3 years. There are plans to demolish at least another half-dozen before the end of the year. And, we hope to include funds in next year’s budget to be able to take down several more. Our sustainability committee is looking into how the city might be able to recycle the building material, rather than sending it to a landfill. It is my hope that we will be able to turn some of these lots over to Habitat for Humanity, or a similar group, that will provide reasonably priced housing for those who need it most.

Having a strong background in housing myself, I initiated a program to help forestall the growing foreclosure problem in our City. The economic downturn is being felt most keenly in the places where we can least afford it.  Last year we established the Homeownership Opportunity Preservation Effort or HOPE, a program that addresses issues of mortgage foreclosure. The HOPE program works to:

· help homeowners who are going through foreclosures

· assist tenants to become homeowners, or to preserve their rental units,

· ensures that foreclosed property doesn’t become blighted property.

This past spring, we announced the award of $6 million in Neighborhood Stabilization funds to the City. These funds will be leveraged to acquire and fix foreclosed properties. The City is partnering with the Housing Development Fund of Lower Fairfield County (HDF) to execute the program, leveraging the $6 million with an additional $26.2 million of HDF funds. Other community partners include Bridgeport Neighborhood Trust, Fairfield ‘08, and the Bridgeport Redevelopment Agency.

When President Obama announced his economic stimulus plans, we were already hard at work on a comprehensive list of “shovel-ready” projects, which will now create hundreds of jobs. We have met with Congressman Jim Himes several times to impress upon him the importance of stimulus funding to our City. His office has been most helpful in advancing our cause at the Capitol for these most crucial projects.

I’m pleased to report that to date, we’ve received more than $11 million in direct awards, with another nearly $6 million in pass-through monies from the state and other funding sources, and we have an additional $90 million in grant applications under review. While this money doesn’t get applied to our budget for relief, it does create jobs and associated economic benefits, as well as repair infrastructure in our city.

We have already earmarked $2.1 million to begin demolishing the Congress Street Bridge – the most glaring example of government neglect and lack of funding to our city.

Other stimulus project funding highlights include: 

· homelessness prevention and housing creation

· salary offsets for up to 20 new police officers, and

· though we haven’t received it yet, $1.3 million in Energy Efficiency Conservation Block Grants, which will help fund our sustainability efforts

Finally, our Sustainability efforts are gaining momentum. This is not just an effort to be “green”, though we call our initiative B-Green 2020, but an effort to save money for our taxpayers and join the rest of the world in protecting and preserving our nation and our planet.

Less than a year ago, I signed an Executive Order on Sustainability laying the groundwork for projects such as:

· The development of an Energy Improvement District that will generate renewable energy and develop strategies to save energy for the city.

· The use of stimulus funds to provide training and jobs for two dozen young adults who canvassed city neighborhoods as part of the Mayor’s Conservation Corps. They knocked on more than 8,500 doors and talked to more than 3,700 residents in our city to help promote recycling, home energy efficiency programs and storm water management. Through their work, more than 1,600 people requested a recycling bin, and we’ve been able to deliver about half that number. In just a short time, we’re already seeing results  — nearly 3 tons more of recyclable materials have already been diverted from our waste stream.

· We are promoting the use of mass transit and transit-oriented development.

We have more than 100 citizens involved in advisory boards and committees, and they are looking at a variety of energy conservation initiatives, the creation of a green energy park, green jobs and green jobs training, and the use of “green” cleaning products in all City buildings.

Our sustainability efforts are beginning to take off and to pay off.  Bridgeport soon will be a model for other cities in the state, and the nation. “Green” is “green” and all these efforts not only save our planet, but put some green in our wallets.

Public safety is one of the City’s top priorities, and I am very proud of our police and fire departments and their leadership.

Our fire department has worked very hard to promote its Safe Asleep program. Since its inception nearly 4 years ago, they have helped install more than 20,000 smoke alarms in city residences – more than any other town or city in the country. 

Our police chief has been working with his leadership team to help rein in overtime while paying attention to the basics and keeping crime down.

The Strategic Enforcement Team or SET has been working in all of our neighborhoods and with our residents to help prevent crime. Crime overall is down, and we remain one of the safest cities in the state. I also want to commend the officers who patrol our parks. Their efforts over the past months have helped improve the civility and cleanliness of our Park City.

Moreover, I want to salute all our men and women in uniform who have worked hard to do more with less in a difficult economic environment.

We have had a trying year, but I want to applaud the City Council and our City managers and employees for their efforts. This level of commitment to keeping Bridgeport safe, improve our services, maximize our revenue, and do more with less is working, and we are getting through these challenging times. I see light at the end of this tunnel, which means a better and brighter future for ourselves and our children.

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45 Comments so far ↓

  • town committee

    Finch before you get all warm and fuzzy over clean and green let me suggest you take a ride around the city and look at the filth you have allowed to accumulate. In all my years I don’t remember the city being this dirty. Finch, just look at the curbs and the streets you will see enough trash to run the resco plant for days.
    Public Safety??? Sucks!!! 21 street cops on duty at one given time. What kind of safety is that? We have 340 (give or take) cops doing what? To the 105 cops working the streets I say Thank You for the hard work. To the other 340 I say get a clue. We have cops on Segways, Bicycles, ATVs, Motorcycles and horses. We need cops in squad cars. In the treeland area 9 armed robberies in a year, none solved. Now we are being burglarized at an epidemic rate. Do we see an increase in patrols? No. If Gaudett and his management team can’t solve this problem, replace them with a management team that will.
    Finch you still don’t have a clue.

  • Local Eyes

    NOTHING defines America’s moral decline better than reading the latest post from town committee.

  • town committee

    The moral decline in my city is painfully obvious. Just look at what is happening here. The thieves and crooks are running the city. The politicians are doing nothing to stop the decline in Bridgeport. Good city managers are being let go because they won’t play ball. A good man in charge of a new city program is demoted because he did find waste and mismanagement in a large city agency. Then we are told it’s good to rotate people in this department. Yeah right. Ask people involved in trying to lure new business to Bridgeport and they will tell you it’s the decline of the city management and leadership and the uncertainty that this brings that prevents investors from coming here. If you think things in Bridgeport are just fine then you are wearing rose-colored glasses. I will never stop trying to make this city better; it’s not a moral campaign, it’s just the right thing to do.

  • Grin Reaper

    I am not sure if Local Eyes and TC are debating the morals of America or morale but based on today’s CT Post we can now question Robert Scinto’s morals and morale.
    Scinto was identified as an unindicted co-conspirator in the Lauretti Corruption investigation. (Lennie can explain the meaning of this.)
    Bottom line is Scinto apparently has no problem with corrupt activities; it’s just that he found Shelton politicians to be a whole lot cheaper to bribe than Bridgeport. So Bobby get off your high horse, drop this unavailable for comment BS and ‘fess up. You’ve been punked.

    • LennieGrimaldi

      An unindicted co-conspirator is the government’s way of saying we think you’re dirty but don’t have enough evidence to charge. Let’s give Scinto the benefit of the doubt here. Just because the government thinks you’re dirty doesn’t make it so. The declaration about Scinto was made by Willie Dow, the attorney for James Botti (he also represented John Rowland) who is scheduled for trial for allegedly greasing a Shelton politician believed to be Mayor Mark Lauretti. Lauretti has not been charged. But Dow, after reviewing the allegations the government plans to submit at trial, says the feds were on Lauretti’s phones. He also uncorked in an open court pre-trial hearing a whole bunch of other stuff pertaining to the case he’s going to defend.

      Scinto has said on many occasions that Bridgeport is a difficult place to do business. He has made Shelton the foundation for his commercial development projects. Lots of local communities such as Bridgeport and Trumbull have lost business to Shelton through the years.

      This case is getting icky.

      • The Bridgeport Kid

        “Lots of local communities such as Bridgeport and Trumbull have lost business to Shelton through the years.” And now we know why.

        I’ll give the man his due; it is a basic tenet of American jurisprudence that a defendant is innocent until proven guilty. Attorney Dow is defending his client with all the zealousness required by the canons of ethics. These are bombshells, no question about that. But they are also damning. Scinto and one of the Blakemans are unindicted co-conspirators. None of them has been charged, but it would surprise absolutely no one if Scinto was. If he’s suspected of offering bribes to Shelton municipal officials, and he has such a cushy relationship with Paul Timpanelli … Timpanelli was the one lobbying Bridgeport city officials, specifically Mayor Finch, to allow the town of Monroe to tap into Trumbull’s sewer system. If that came to pass it would have done more harm than good, as Trumbull is tapped into Bridgeport’s antiquated and overworked waste treatment system. (Mr. Scinto wanted this deal to facilitate the construction of the Jewish Home For the Elderly in Monroe, if memory serves.)

      • The Bridgeport Kid

        Maybe that’s Scinto’s way of saying “I have to pay off so many public officials in Bridgeport that it eats into my profit margin.” Maybe he moved his base of operations to Shelton (and perhaps Monroe) because the public officials up there are willing to accept smaller payoffs. Wouldn’t surprise me–cost of living is a little lower up there. Maybe a new set of steel-belted radial snow tires is all it takes to turn on the green lights …

      • Joel Gonzalez

        “Richard Schultz, Shelton’s zoning code enforcement officer. He said Schultz met with the FBI on at least 38 occasions, based on the FBI reports he received.”

        Schultz may be the person who will bring Robert Scinto down for the count. What are the odds that out of 38 meetings with the feds and god knows how many taped conversations, that Robert Scinto was not taped or was not a subject of the conversations with the feds?

    • yahooy

      Horse shit (two words).

  • Bob Dort

    I’m respectfully requesting Lennie to find out if the State system of keeping track of voters is working as it should. Please contact the Registrars in Trumbull to ascertain if Eleanor Guedes was ever a voter there, and if she was removed for any reason. Ask for the date. Then contact the Bridgeport Registrars and ask when and how she became registered in Bridgeport. These dates should be the same … and dual registration should not exist (we hope).

  • Bridgeport Now

    “Bridgeport Now” LIVE Tuesdays at 8pm on Ch 88
    Netcast on Soundviewtv.org

    ** CHANNEL CHANGE ON CABLEVISION **

    Please Note there has been channel changes for viewing program:
    - Channel 99 now can be seen for AT&T cable users
    - Channel 88 for Bridgeport FFLD and Stratford
    - Channel 77 for Milford and Woodbridge

    Rundown for today’s program

    News update
    8:05 to 8:30 Charles Brilvitch
    8:30 CT Seaside update: CT Community Boating
    8:35 Bridgeport Land Use Regulation Update with Community to Ungag the People

    “Bridgeport Now” now has a storefront in downtown Bridgeport.

  • countdown

    Where is the ‘Bridgeport Now’ storefront located and will the shows be broadcast out of there?

  • Grin Reaper

    This just in from Mater Finch’s PR machine:
    City of Bridgeport Obtains Long-Awaited Public Housing
    The Housing Authority Acquires Property to Replace Demolished Pequonnock Apartments
    Bridgeport, CT (Sept. 22, 2009) – The long-awaited Pequonnock replacement housing settlement has been completed with the closing sale of 27 units transferred to the Bridgeport Housing Authority.
    Thank God! It is now official. The city is stuck with the White Elephant parking lot by Boo-fish Stadium. Now if only some developer could work his MAGIC and turn it into a worthwhile development project.
    Forget that. No one’s got that much MAGIC tricks.

  • Bridgeport Now

    Hi “Countdown”, the Bridgeport Now show is broadcast out of Soundview TV studios in beautiful downtown Bridgeport. The storefront is in the middle of the downtown area. By the way, the purpose is to reach out to the community and provide media for organizations and individuals for public relations.

  • town committee

    Until this city presents itself as a stable area to do business nothing is going to come here. We need the administration to start showing stability. This city and its inner workings are in turmoil. The administration is made up with 100% amateurs. The unstable management force is one of the major reasons developers hesitate in coming here. There is not one person with management training or administrative experience.
    The city’s work force is also unstable as people are spending their time wondering if they are pissing off the boss and are they the next layoff target.
    This city does not have the brains to pave Main Street even when they are marketing downtown. Keeping the city streets clean seems to befuddle those management types in Public facilities.
    The council is also a problem for developers as they seem to be chasing their tails most of the time and accomplishing nothing. There is not one LEADER on the council.
    With this and all the other crap going on in this city who would want to invest millions here? Yeah I know about Seaview Ave. Show me!!!

  • yahooy

    Sorry, Mr. Russo. You had my full support when you ran for the State Senate. But your ambitious plans to unseat Himes is a whole other thing. Looks to me like you chugged the Republican Kool-Aid intoxicating your attitudes with their incessant … “let’s do anything we can to get our people back in office.” In other words, I think you and the rest of the “right” are completely full of shit. I think you people will do anything to get back the power you deserved to lose, you are completely agendized. You will do and say anything to put obstacles in Obama’s way.

    You have little or no chance of winning. If there was a chance of a Republican winning, the state Republican committee would not have selected you. You are a lightweight and do not deserve to be in the US Congress.

    I need you and your right friends to work with this administration to straighten out all of the bullshit Bush Lite left us with.

    Bipartisan support is badly needed to make certain that the aggressive plans that are in their neophyte form can grow and succeed.

    You see, I and the rest of America know that the unprecedented spending is purposeful and can only be repaid by increases in the work force creating the payroll taxes that are essential to restoring financial stability.

    I am (or once was) a Republican. But I support this administration’s aggressiveness in addressing myriad economic and social issues that past administration allowed to die and decay. So should you and your party.

    • Joel Gonzalez

      Yahooy loves Rubber Stamps. This explains why he hates Bob Walsh so much. Likewise, he dislikes anna, because she is neither a tramp nor a stamp.

      • yahooy

        I don’t hate Bob Walsh. I just think he should figure out how to make things happen or get the phuck out of Dodge. I don’t hate you either. I just think you are a jerk. As a matter of fact, I think you are a real big jerk. The Democrats have no use for you. The Republicans think you are a joke. You could form your own independent party and still not get the endorsement.

  • Wingnut

    Bob Walsh, while you are at it. Has Don Calamari unequivocally acknowledged his bona fide residence also? Might that open up a can of worms? Cat got your tongue, Bob?

  • city hall smoker

    I’m surprised there aren’t 100′s of comments about the mayor’s speech. WE tightened our belts? WE made the tough decisions? WE are doing more with less? No not WE. The employees–period. The employees are breaking their backs doing the work of 2 and 3 people all the time looking over their shoulders, afraid of being hassled or disciplined. The managers in this administration are worthless. TC is right. Not one of them is worth shit! There are high-paid incompetent managers all over the place. There is an air of intimidation in almost every dept. No one, not even the union presidents, will say anything for fear of losing their jobs. Look what happened to Ralph Jacobs. This is the worst administration. Ganim in 2011.

    • city hall smoker

      They didn’t eliminate the cars, they merely changed the license plates so you can’t tell they are City vehicles. Ask John Gomes or Carol Curry. They have all the information on the take-home cars and the personal usage. If the records haven’t been shredded.

    • Joel Gonzalez

      “Ganim in 2011.”

      You are ruining your credibility.

    • The Bridgeport Kid

      “I am here tonight with a hopeful tone and guarded optimism,” Mayor Finch said, as an audience of about 25 looked on with apathy. “Our city is filled with pride and hope, and I truly believe we are about to turn a corner in many areas. We face more challenges ahead, however–double digit unemployment, increases in foreclosures and more people who need social services than ever before.”

      Haven’t “we” been facing the same challenges–double digit unemployment … more people who need social services than ever before”–for years now? Why are these issues only challenging today?

  • anna

    Yahooy is full of calamari. And yes, Ganim in 2011!!!

  • anna

    And Russo in 2010. Go Russo!!!

  • Local Eyes

    Re: Health Care, like politics, is the story of who-gets-what. If Rob Russo can speechify about it, I can blog about it, right? I’ll be brief.

    In 1965, at Medicare’s start, many older physicians refused Medicare and MedicAid patients on the grounds the system was socialistic and unAmerican. Today, MediCare is a physician’s best friend. It is one of America’s most sacred cashflows. We literally borrow from the Chinese to Pay Medicare’s bills.

    There’s only one thing worse than socialism and that’s selective socialism. American medicine represents selective socialism at its worst.

    Conclusion: socialism is alive & well at your nearest doctor’s office and what’s good for the AMA is bad for America.

    Bonus: 50 Things destroyed/ruined/reduced or eliminated by the internet:

    1) The art of polite disagreement
    While the inane spats of YouTube commentators may not be representative, the internet has certainly sharpened the tone of debate. The most raucous sections of the blogworld seem incapable of accepting sincerely held differences of opinion; all opponents must have “agendas”.

    2) Fear that you are the only person unmoved by a celebrity’s death
    Twitter has become a clearing-house for jokes about dead famous people. Tasteless, but an antidote to the “fans in mourning” mawkishness that otherwise predominates.

    3) Listening to an album all the way through
    The single is one of the unlikely beneficiaries of the internet–-a development which can be looked at in two ways. There’s no longer any need to endure eight tracks of filler for a couple of decent tunes, but will “album albums” like Radiohead’s Amnesiac get the widespread hearing they deserve?

    4) Sarah Palin
    Her train wreck interviews with Katie Couric were watched and re-watched millions of times on the internet, cementing the Republican vice-presidential candidate’s reputation as a politician out of her depth. Palin’s uncomfortable relationship with the web continues; she has threatened to sue bloggers who republish rumors about the state of her marriage.

    5) Punctuality
    Before mobile phones, people actually had to keep their appointments and turn up to the pub on time. Texting friends to warn them of your tardiness five minutes before you are due to meet has become one of throwaway rudenesses of the connected age.

    6) Ceefax/Teletext
    All sports fans of a certain age can tell you their favorite Ceefax pages (p341 for Test match scores, p312 for football transfer gossip), but the service’s clunking graphics and four-paragraph articles have dated badly. ITV announced earlier this year that it was planning to pull Teletext, its version.

    7) Adolescent nerves at first porn purchase
    The ubiquity of free, hard-core pornography on the web has put an end to one of the most dreaded rights rites of passage for teenage boys–buying dirty magazines. Why tremble in the WHSmiths queue when you can download mountains of filth for free in your bedroom? The trend also threatens the future of “porn in the woods”–the grotty pages of Razzle and Penthouse that scatter the fringes of provincial towns and villages.

    8) Telephone directories
    You can find Fly Fishing by J R Hartley on Amazon.

    9) The myth of cat intelligence
    The proudest household pets are now the illiterate butts of caption-based jokes. Icanhasreputashunback?

    10) Watches
    Scrabbling around in your pocket to dig out a phone may not be as elegant as glancing at a watch, but it saves splashing out on two gadgets.

    11) Music stores
    In a world where people don’t want to pay anything for music, charging them £16.99 for 12 songs in a flimsy plastic case is no business model.

    12) Letter writing/pen pals
    Email is quicker, cheaper and more convenient; receiving a handwritten letter from a friend has become a rare, even nostalgic, pleasure. As a result, formal valedictions like “Yours faithfully” are being replaced by “Best” and “Thanks”.

    13) Memory
    When almost any fact, no matter how obscure, can be dug up within seconds through Google and Wikipedia, there is less value attached to the “mere” storage and retrieval of knowledge. What becomes important is how you use it–the internet age rewards creativity.

    14) Dead time
    When was the last time you spent an hour mulling the world out a window, or rereading a favorite book? The internet’s draw on our attention is relentless and increasingly difficult to resist.

    15) Photo albums and slide shows
    Facebook, Flickr and printing sites like Snapfish are how we share our photos. Earlier this year Kodak announced that it was discontinuing its Kodachrome slide film because of lack of demand.

    16) Hoaxes and conspiracy theories
    The internet is often dismissed as awash with cranks, but it has proved far more potent at debunking conspiracy theories than perpetuating them. The excellent Snopes.com continues to deliver the final, sober, word on urban legends.

    17) Watching television together
    On-demand television, from the iPlayer in Britain to Hulu in the US, allows relatives and colleagues to watch the same programs at different times, undermining what had been one of the medium’s most attractive cultural appeals–the shared experience. Appointment-to-view television, if it exists at all, seems confined to sport and live reality shows.

    18) Authoritative reference works
    We still crave reliable information, but generally aren’t willing to pay for it.

    19) The Innovations catalog
    Preposterous as its household gadgets may have been, the Innovations catalog was always a diverting read. The magazine ceased printing in 2003, and its web presence is depressingly bland.

    20) Order forms in the back pages of books
    Amazon’s “Customers who bought this item also bought …” service seems the closest web equivalent.

    21) Delayed knowledge of sporting results
    When was the last time you bought a newspaper to find out who won the match, rather than for comment and analysis? There’s no need to fall silent for James Alexander Gordon on the way home from the game when everyone in the car has an iPhone.

    22) Enforceable copyright
    The record companies, film studios and news agencies are fighting back, but can the floodgates ever be closed?

    23) Reading telegrams at weddings
    Quoting from a wad of email printouts doesn’t have the same magic.

    24) Dogging
    Websites may have helped spread the word about dogging, but the internet offers a myriad of more convenient ways to organize no-strings sex with strangers. None of these involve spending the evening in lay-by near Aylesbury.

    25) Aren’t they dead? Aren’t they gay?
    Wikipedia allows us to confirm or disprove almost any celebrity rumor instantly. Only at festivals with no Wi-Fi signals can the gullible be tricked into believing that David Hasselhoff has passed away.

    26) Holiday news ignorance
    Glancing at the front pages after landing back at Heathrow used to be a thrilling experience–had anyone died? Was the government still standing? Now it takes a stern soul to resist the temptation to check the headlines at least once while you’re away.

    27) Knowing telephone numbers off by heart
    After typing the digits into your contacts book, you need never look at them again.

    28) Respect for doctors and other professionals
    The proliferation of health websites has undermined the status of GPs, whose diagnoses are now challenged by patients armed with printouts.

    29) The mystery of foreign languages
    Sites like Babelfish offer instant, good-enough translations of dozens of languages–but kill their beauty and rhythm.

    30) Geographical knowledge
    With GPS systems spreading from cars to smartphones, knowing the way from A to B is a less prized skill. Just ask the London taxi drivers who spent years learning The Knowledge but are now undercut by minicabs.

    31) Privacy
    We may attack governments for the spread of surveillance culture, but users of social media websites make more information about themselves available than Big Brother could ever hoped to obtain by covert means.

    32) Chuck Norris’s reputation
    The absurdly heroic boasts on Chuck Norris Facts may be affectionate, but will anyone take him seriously again?

    33) Pencil cricket
    An old-fashioned schoolboy diversion swept away by the Stick Cricket behemoth.

    34) Mainstream media
    The Seattle Post-Intelligencer and Rocky Mountain News in the US have already folded, and the UK’s Observer may follow. Free news and the migration of advertising to the web threaten the basic business models of almost all media organizations.

    35) Concentration
    What with tabbing between Gmail, Twitter, Facebook and Google News, it’s a wonder anyone gets their work done. A disturbing trend captured by the wonderful XKCD webcomic.

    36) Mr. Alifi’s dignity Mr. Tombe’s dignity
    Twenty years ago, if you were a Sudanese man who was forced to marry a goat after having sex with it, you’d take solace that news of your shame would be unlikely to spread beyond the neighboring villages. Unfortunately for Mr. Alifi, his indiscretion came in the digital age–and became one of the first viral news stories. As pointed out in the comments, Mr. Alifi was just the goat’s owner. It was another man, Mr. Tombe, who actually did the deed. Apologies and thanks to readers for drawing attention to the error. (#51 Unchallenged journalistic inaccuracy?)

    37) Personal reinvention
    How can you forge a new identity at university when your Facebook is plastered with photos of the “old” you?

    38) Viktor Yanukovych
    The Orange Revolution in Ukraine was organized by a cabal of students and young activists who exploited the power of the web to mobilize resistance against the old regime, and sweep Viktor Yushchenko to power.

    39) The insurance ring-round
    Their adverts may grate, but insurance comparison websites have killed one of the most tedious annual chores.

    40) Undiscovered artists
    Posting paintings to deviantART and Flickr–or poems to writebuzz–could not be easier. So now the garret-dwellers have no excuses.

    41) The usefulness of reference pages at the front of diaries
    If anyone still digs out their diaries to check what time zone Lisbon is in, or how many liters there are to a gallon, we don’t know them.

    42) The nervous thrill of the reunion
    You’ve spent the past five years tracking their weight-gain on Facebook, so meeting up with your first love doesn’t pack the emotional punch it once did.

    43) Solitaire
    The original computer timewaster has been superseded by the more alluring temptations of the web. Ditto Minesweeper.

    44) Trust in Nigerian businessmen and princes
    Some gift horses should have their mouths very closely inspected.

    45) Prostitute calling cards/curb crawling
    Sex can be marketed more cheaply, safely and efficiently on the web than the street corner.

    46) Staggered product/film releases
    Companies are becoming increasingly draconian in their anti-piracy measure, but are finally beginning to appreciate that forcing British consumers to wait six months to hand over their money is not a smart business plan.

    47) Footnotes
    Made superfluous by the link, although Wikipedia is fighting a brave rearguard action.

    48) Grand National trips to the bookmaker
    Having a little flutter is much more fun when you don’t have to wade though a shop of drunks and ne’er-do-wells

    49) Fanzines
    Blogs and fansites offer greater freedom and community interaction than paper fanzines, and can be read by many more people.

    50) Your lunchbreak
    Did you leave your desk today? Or snaffle a sandwich while sending a few personal emails and checking the price of a week in Istanbul?

    • The Bridgeport Kid

      “Health Care, like politics, is the story of who-gets-what.”

      Everyone needs to get something; why don’t you just get the fuck out of here?

    • city hall smoker

      Excuse my French, but what the fuck does that have to do with anything? All you do is take up space on the blog.

      • city hall smoker

        The previous entry was meant for Local Eyes and his list of 50. Who cares? blah … blah … blah … tell me something I actually care about.

  • The Bridgeport Kid

    This just in:

    Witnesses given immunity in Botti trial
    By Michael P. Mayko
    STAFF WRITER
    Updated: 09/22/2009 04:07:46 PM ED
    NEW HAVEN — Federal prosecutors disclosed that “one or more” of their “prospective witnesses” against James Botti may have been given immunity against prosecution for a crime they committed.

    Additionally, the prosecution admits that some of the evidence includes ” tape recorded conversations.” The two disclosures are the first made by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Richard Schechter and Rahul Kale regarding witnesses and evidence they may use in the corruption case against Botti, a 46-year-old Shelton developer. The disclosures are contained in a document recorded Tuesday in the federal court case against Botti.

    Botti was indicted last November for allegedly bribing Shelton Mayor Mark Lauretti and members of Shelton land use commissions to push through his projects. However, despite a five and a half year investigation by the FBI and IRS which included at least two wiretaps and as many as five cooperating witnesses wearing recording devices, only Botti and his elderly father have been charged with federal crimes.

    Lauretti, who is campaigning for a 10th term in office, repeatedly has denied any wrongdoing and has not been charged by the prosecution with any crime.

    The latest disclosures come in a prosecution request to Senior U.S. District Judge Charles S. Haight Jr. to ask certain questions of prospective jurors who will be assembled in the courtroom on Oct. 15.

    Unlike state court where lawyers may question jurors individually, federal court rules allow only the judge to ask questions. Federal judges will throw a general question out to the entire pool and then seek individual answers from anyone who raises their hands. As a result it usually takes less than a day to pick a 12-member criminal jury and four alternates.

    In Botti’s case the prospective jurors, who are chosen an random from the state motor vehicle and voter registration lists, will come from towns in New Haven County such as Ansonia, Beacon Falls, Derby, Milford, New Haven Orange, Oxford, Seymour, West Haven and elsewhere. None will come from Shelton, which is considered part of Fairfield County.

    The government filing urges Haight to ask specific questions of the panel.

    It asks if any know the federal agents who are involved in the investigation and identifies them as FBI Special Agent Christopher Halpin, who worked the corruption probes of former Bridgeport Mayor Joseph P. Ganim and former State Rep. Ernest E. Newton II; FBI Special Agent Matthew Elio and IRS Special Agents Charles “Chuck” Cooney and Sean Darling.

    In the document filed Tuesday, the prosecution maintains they intend to “offer evidence … to demonstrate” Botti “engaged in a conspiracy … with others to pay or provide benefits to public officials to commit acts or refrain from committing acts that enured to James Botti’s benefit.”

    A focus of the probe involves the June 13, 2006 and June 20, 2006 Shelton Planning and Zoning Commission meetings which resulted in a complete turn around to an approval of one of Botti’s projects on Bridgeport Avenue. The prosecution also wants Haight to tell the jury: “This case involves allegations of bribery of public officials….Is there anything about the nature of this evidence that would make it difficult for you to be a fair and impartial juror in this case?”

    They also want the panel asked if anyone served as a municipal official and appeared before a local government body or commission.

    The prosecution wants the jury advised that “one or more prospective witnesses in this case may be a person who was formerly associated with the defendant and who has received immunity from prosecution. The Court will instruct you that it is entirely appropriate for the government to rely upon cooperating witnesses when proving its case. Is there anyone who feels that they could not believe a witness either because that witness participated in criminal activity or agreed to cooperate with the government?”

    Finally the prosecution urges Haight to inform the jury panel: “Some of the evidence you might hear will be in the form of tape-recorded conversations…If the evidence is allowed in, does it offend anyone that tape-recorded conversations are being used as evidence?”

  • capitalistpropaganda

    Mr. Russo: As a Bridgeporter–assuming that you actually do reside in Bridgeport–don’t you think that you should have announced your candidacy for Congress from Bridgeport? As an experienced Fourth District campaigner and student of Fourth District political history, don’t you think that you need to court the all-important Bridgeport vote and that you shouldn’t slight your home town?!

    Calling Chris Shays! … Republican candidate for Fourth District Congressional seat Rob Russo is in dire need of your retrospective advice!!!

    SOS! SOS! Just-launched Russo campaign ship on the rocks off Penfield Reef–just southwest of Bridgeport home port! Taking on water fast!!!

  • Solid as Barack

    With all Mountain Dew respect.

    Why would Russo launch his Republican primary campaign in Bridgeport? Those paltry Bridgeport Republican voters number about 4k. He launched his campaign in Fairfield, similar to Barack launching his in Springfield Illinois. Stewart and Chris always played well on Sherman Green, along with Jackie Durrell.

    At least one thing about Russo is that you know he has voted in every election. I love these born-again politicians who failed to vote in elections.

  • Joel Gonzalez

    Since Marc Delmonico, Chairman of the Bridgeport RTC hasn’t responded to Mayor Finch’s State of the City address, I’ll take a shot at it:

    “… and for the first time in memory, the current year’s budget is $2 million less than last year.”

    True! That’s because the Bridgeport Board of Education failed to buy the needed books and supplies for our students.

    “We’ve ended the practice of utilizing one-time revenues and expect to end the year with a balanced budget.”

    The City had a deal with the Steel Pointe developer in which he was supposed to pay $4.5 for the 50-acre site. This is one of the “one-time revenue” sources which the mayor ended. In its place, we now have a one-time revenue of $.5 million at a loss of $4 million–the developer still has rights to the land and still hasn’t paid the money.

    “Our budgeting process is so improved, that two international government associations recognized our efforts: We received a certificate of excellence in financial reporting from the Government Finance Officer Association, and, the City was one of only 20 across the United States to be recognized for its long-term performance measurement efforts by the International City/County Managers Association.”

    What, no mention of the Fitch Report and the downgrading of the city’s bond rating?

    “In a trying period, we as a city, and we as a city government, rose to the challenge.”

    NAGE is currently standing to the challenge by taking its labor issues to arbitration.

    “We tightened our belts, we made difficult decisions, we worked together, and we delivered a balanced budget without dipping into our meager reserve funds.”

    Remember that the “meager reserve funds” were the result of taking $19 million from the $29 million to close the 2008 deficit cause by the majority of city Councilpersons sitting next to you. Again, Finch failed to mention the Fitch Report and the effect of the “meager reserve fund” on the bond rating.

    “We were creative, fair, balanced and determined, and for that we should all be proud and feel a sense of accomplishment … City unions and management worked together in a spirit of cooperation and compromise to preserve vital services, make difficult job cuts and hold the …”

    No mention of the fact that NAGE and the city are in arbitration. Is this a spirit of “compromise”?

    “The state pension legislation was adopted, which will save the City millions in payments for two years while we have an opportunity to shore up pension finances.”

    This does not save the city a penny. It only delays the payment and it has to be paid sooner or later. You said above: “Before I get into details of this annual report …” Where are the details to pay this pension debt?

    “And I save the best for last. As we all know, in order to deliver more city services, including improving education services for our children, while not placing an excessive burden on our taxpayers, there is only one mathematical answer: Attracting more business to Bridgeport and adding to our tax base. And I am pleased to report that we have two key projects that are moving forward.”

    You demanded and recently accepted surplus money from the BOE. Is there really a desperate need to add to the tax base when there is a surplus? You acknowledged that there is a need for “improving education services for our children”. Why not act immediately and tell the BOE to use the surplus for those needs now? The current and future developments sounds good. But jobs are still scarce and they won’t provide jobs that pay $18 per hr. or more.

    “One major step we’ve taken toward this goal was the creation of the Small and Minority Business Resource Office, which has become the main point of entry for small, minority and women-owned businesses seeking opportunities with the City of Bridgeport.”

    What’s the ratio of Black and Hispanics who have received contracts under this vehicle (MBE)? The black-owned security company created under (MBE) seems to hire blacks only.

    “This past year, I recommended the City sell two of its decommissioned public schools to Achievement First to expand their charter school operation in the City. Achievement First will ultimately educate almost a 1,000 Bridgeport children in public charter schools, giving our parents more choice in their children’s education.”

    No mention of Guedes or Primrose Construction getting Elias Howe and another school for a very low price.

    “We reduced take-home cars by 43 percent, an area previously thought to be untouchable.”

    Where are those grounded vehicles? Why are Police officers short on vehicles when they need them? Why are new motors being installed on police cars while the officer assigned that vehicle has to wait with no car ’til the job is done?

    “We increased collection of personal property and real estate tax delinquents and in the case of the top 50 offenders, as I promised, we have either collected the money that is owed us, foreclosed on property, or we are in court on behalf of our taxpayers.

    Lennie, don’t you dare censor this:
    When is the city going to put the top tax delinquents in the newspaper? DiNardo gets to hide behind LLCs and avoid or delay paying his taxes. Not a single Bridgeport politician has presented legislation that could stop such a practice. Why not? The city could save millions in litigation and quickly collect taxes owed with such a law. For over twelve (12) years, the City of Bridgeport has leased the River Street Narcotics and Vice building from Sal DiNardo who collects $100,000 a year in rent from the city. This building is run down and when we get a pouring rain, the whole place gets flooded and in the past, the flooding has caused thousands in damage to city police vehicles.

    “I heard from the Council, and I agreed that it was time for us to tackle the blight problem in our City. Our anti-blight initiative is moving forward …”

    From personal experience, it doesn’t seem to be moving at all. Go and check out the rear of the two (2) houses at the corner of Maplewood Ave. and Poplar Street–I reported them twice. While you are in the neighborhood, see the lot on Maplewood Avenue across from Bryant School which has been that way going on four (4) years.

    I too see the light at the end of the tunnel.

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