It’s nice when cash-strapped nonprofits receive an infusion. Congratulations to City Lights Gallery and its Director Billy Jean Sullivan for a $50,000 state grant it will receive in support of Bridgeport’s Sweetport Music Festival.
House Speaker Jim Amann and State Rep. Bob Keeley officially announced the moolah for the gallery today at City Lights. If you’ve never been there go to the gallery on Markle Court and bring friends. Visit the Barnum a block away and savor some juniper (well, not too much) at restaurants.
This reminds me to get on my high horse about the need to promote the city’s local attractions. The city must promote its attractions and tourism destinations and I’m hopeful it will eventually become a focus of new Director of Economic Development Don Eversley.
Hartford and New Haven make it a priority and the state’s Staycation campaign currently fills the airwaves.
Promotional campaigns drive folks into the city and create an atmosphere for business recruitment. The city doesn’t sell its assets and doesn’t sell itself to Wall Street investors. The city spends money on all kinds of crap, but not on its assets: zoo, museums, ballpark, arena, theater and concert venues. Okay, the city doesn’t have the cashews to budget the money? You go to the business community to create a pool of advertising money that juices attractions. If the mayor’s office makes the appeal the business community will respond.
C’mon Bird Man — you, Sonya and the kids would look fantastico on the tube promoting city attractions. Woody (that would be Adam, chief of staff) you getting any of this? I can see you smiling!
Lemme See The Contract
During my Pol Pod interview with Mario Testa, the Democratic town chairman referenced a resolution before the City Council requiring the legislative body to approve the contract for city Bond Counsel that advises the city on a variety of financial matters. Pullman&Comley, the law firm that employs Mayor Finch ally, former party chief John Stafstrom, currently serves that role. The City Council approves most contracts but not this one because the city attorney’s office has cited state statute that provides broad discretion for the office to hire outside legal assistance. It sets up a showdown, of sorts, between the council and the legal department that advises it. Even if the council passes the resolution, it doesn’t mean the mayor and city attorney will listen. Stay tuned.
The resolution was submitted by City Council members Bob Walsh, Evette Brantley and Jim Holloway. See below:
Whereas, the city of Bridgeport has issued an RFP for Bond Counsel for the city of Bridgeport; and
Whereas, the RFP lists the members of the selection committee thereby acknowledging that the city attorney does not have the sole power to appoint counsel for this position; and
Whereas, the contract is advertised to be three years with two one year renewals, thereby committing the city to a serious length of time and taxpayer dollars in the procurement of these services; and
Whereas, the city council has expressed its commitment to minority contracting by passage of the Minority Contracting Ordinance; and
Whereas, minority firms have been historically excluded from this contract due to limited access to this field of law and may have been deliberately or unintentionally excluded from this bid process by the city’s requirement that respondents “must be listed in the latest edition of The Bond Buyer’s Directory of Municipal Bond Dealers of the United States,”
Be it therefore resolved that the Contracts Committee of the City Council must review and approve the contract for Bond Counsel.
Press release from Congressman Chris Shays
Blumenauer, Tauscher and Shays Introduce Bill to Help Provide Relief from High Gas Prices
Bill Supported by Coalition of Environmental, Business, and Transit Organizations
Washington, DC – Today Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore) introduced the bipartisan “Transportation and Housing Choices for Gas Price Relief Act,” H.R.6495, with Reps. Ellen Tauscher (D-CA) and Christopher Shays (R-CT) as original cosponsors. With gas prices tripling over the last seven years, American families need solutions that will help them now. This bill provides immediate relief by giving people more transportation options, helping Americans reduce their commuting costs, assisting transit agencies with rising fuel costs, and increasing housing options near public transportation.
“There is no magic silver bullet that will solve the energy crisis, but there are things we can do now to reduce the impact of high gas prices on American families,” said Rep. Blumenauer. “One thing we must do is give people more transportation choices, and my bill does this by offering incentives for commuters to carpool, ride public transit, bicycle, or telecommute. By diminishing the impact of gas prices on family budgets, these common sense ideas can make an immediate difference in the lives of over-stretched Americans.”
“The most realistic way to bring down gas prices and put money back in our pockets is to reduce demand,” said Rep. Tauscher. “One key way to do that is by making public transit more accessible for people who want to get out of their cars and encouraging transit-oriented development. Today, highway congestion costs the average commuter about $707 each year, not to mention the damage it does to our environment and the time we are forced to spend stuck on the road commuting and away from our families. This bill will reduce congestion on our crowded highways, improve air quality, and help reduce the price of gas.”
“This legislation will help address our energy crisis in the short term by incentivizing consumers to use public transportation, carpool and telecommute,” said Rep. Shays. “But the key will be a long-term energy policy to decrease U.S. dependence on foreign oil, protect the environment, increase supply, build a market for renewable energy and promote energy conservation.”
The “Transportation and Housing Choices for Gas Price Relief Act” will provide immediate relief by:
· reducing commuting costs and increase commuter choices,
· helping transit agencies cope with rising fuel prices and improve service to deal with increased demand,
· assisting communities in providing transportation options for their residents,
· increasing the availability of affordable housing near public transportation, and
· ensuring that the Federal government leads by example on these issues.
The bill is supported by a coalition of environmental, business and transit groups.
“Rising prices at the pump are a painful burden for consumers and the economy, and the ‘Transportation and Housing Choices for Gas Price Relief Act’ is a terrific response,” said Deron Lovaas, Transportation Policy Director for Natural Resources Defense Council. “Representatives Blumenauer, Tauscher and Shays have written a prescription for immediate relief in the form of incentives to take transit and telework coupled with lasting solutions such as construction of new rail lines and help with housing purchases in areas near public transportation. NRDC applauds this bill and the smart, effective approach it takes to moving us beyond costly oil addiction.”
“Americans are resourceful people, and we are trying everything we can think of to reduce our exposure to expensive gasoline,” said Geoff Anderson, President and CEO of Smart Growth America . “This bill is timely acknowledgment of what more and more Americans are discovering: We need better options, and we need them fast. Having fostered increasing oil dependence for decades, the least our government can do is speed relief to over-burdened transportation agencies and begin the work of building an America where our quality of life is not dependent on cheap gas.”
Read more about the Transportation and Housing Choices for Gas Price Relief Act.