See The Lights, Plus: Council Contract Hit And Shays Hits The Gas

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.



  1. Th bond council ruling came from Mark Anastasia or the people that are in power behind the scene at the city attorney’s office. Mark Anastasia is a figurehead leader and as we saw during the DTC election he is a puppet for Finch and Company. His ruling is strictly political and not right.

  2. Ah, y’know, getting any of the people’s business accomplished in Bridgeport is similar to mating elephants: it begins with a great deal of grunting, groaning, and roaring, and it takes years to get results.

  3. Why doesn’t the city run “commercials” promoting it’s attractions on the scoreboards @ harbor yard and the arena. You have people coming from all over to ball games, concerts etc.

    I would think the only cost would be in making the videos. I am sure that the people leasing the arena and the ballpark would be happy to show them free of charge.

  4. Christmas in July! Keeley and Amann deliver to brighten up City Lights!!

    They should bring back Sweet Port. How about booking Livingston Taylor at McLevy BrickYard. The way do “Do It Downtown” is to have a critical mass engine that will bring people downtown, and give the attendees coupons for Downtown restaurants. Then you spin them off to the other venues. Thus creating a synergy and developing trading habits for customers .

    FTC, Fairfield Theatre Company, has done a terrific job of bringing peeps to the Klein. Let them do some concerts downtown.

    I see in the upper left hand corner of the OIB front page an ad saying; “I dare you Bridgeport!” Click through to Premier Subaru. It’s owned by one of Bridgeport’s all round good guys Bob Alvine. Bob lives in Bridgeport and pays over 8k in property taxes. If your’e looking for a great deal on a Subaru click and call Bob.

    I Double Dare You!!

  5. To hell with voting for Kelly or Keeley. To hell with the both of ‘em. Run ‘em outta town on a rail.

    Vote for Bill ‘n’ Opus, standard bearers of the Meadow Party. A dandilion patch in every backyard!

  6. That’s nice. Keeley has gotten money for a baseball field and the Sweetport festival. Does he ever do any work to bring more money into our education system or social services activities. No. I don’t think he does.

  7. Pat
    Nice to see we’re on the same page on this one. You’re right and to continue the thought. As people are leaving the venues give them a Bridgeport Passport to attractions and restaurants.

    Paging Bridgeport Chamber of Non-Commerce!

  8. Alert the media: I’m actually in agreement with Yahooy! Keeley (with some stage-managing from Joe Celli) is trying to present hisself as a “patron of the arts.” Arts and cultre are important, but social welfare needs to take a priority here, Mr. Keeley. The public education system is in a dreadful state. With one of the highest dropout rates on earth, the administrators say the dropout rate is artificially high because the students “move around and don’t tell us.” If it looks like bullshit and smells like bullshit, it MUST BE BULLSHIT.

  9. Gossip of The Rialto!

    The Bridgeport Kid Blasts Keeley on Social Welfare.

    Bridgeprt Kid Proposes Social Welfare State for Bridgeport!!

    Kid wants a TV in every bedroom. Stay Tuned.

  10. A couple comments from outside the Rialto:

    Mr. Eversley has his hands full and an empty plate to fill. Finch should have hired a circus juggler to do the job … he’d have the skill to deal with this cast of characters. Good luck, please, we’re all counting on you!

    What ever happened to accountability and ethics? I used to believe it was possible to have a politician hold public-sector jobs. But then I was living in Stamford.

    Now that I’m here, forget it! Keeley and DSSD, Council members and city jobs, family members joining them … who hold your loyalty. “no man (or woman) can serve two masters” … even in B’port. You cannot be objective in deciding what’s in the general interest when you have your personal interest at stake. I for one will not vote for any B’port candidate who is or has a family member in public service.

    Chamber of non-commerce … I like that! We have the BRRB or whatever with Timpanelli et al., doing nothing but collecting a check. Look at the history of what SACIA did for Stamford. It will make you cry. BTW, in these tight times, why can’t we get these quasi-gov’t agencies, BRRB, DSSD, etc. out of the best office space and into city builidngs where they can pay rent to B’port? Give them all McLevy and make it the center for “tourism”.

  11. The Oracle of Omaha Steaks pronounces that Keeley will be on the uptick in August primary.

    The value investor says; “Keeley brings home the Bacon!”
    Claims Grogins is full of Schmaltz!! Grogins lodges counter claim on bacon charge and says; “That’s not Kosher!”

    Buffet also charged that Chris Dodd is “Lost in Margaritaville!” Joe Lieberman spotted at Galaxy Diner with Bill Finch eating a “Cheeseburger in Paradise!”

  12. Extra! Extra!!

    Finch Into Bondage

    Wants to be Dominant and seeks City Council to be his Submissives. Mario warns Council about being into S&M (Stafstrom and Murphy).

  13. THE BEST WAY to get people to downtown Bridgeport is to give people a way to make money in downtown Bridgeport – I’m talking about a genuine enterprise zone where computers, phonelines and instructers meet to produce commerce. Then they can consume the services which are already there with the money that’s in their pockets.

    The same thing that makes Chattanooga a place for Volkswagen to invest in America is the same thing that could make downtown Bridgeport a place for localites to engage in overseas commerce. The world has changed and I’d like to see Bridgeport become the unoffical capital of – you guessed it – O.P.I.C.s or One Person Internet Companies which remain the best way to recapture the huge amount of money we’ve been exporting for years.

  14. I have to say that Seaside Park is really beautiful and it’s very clean. No place better on a day like this! On the way back, I spotted a couple of dozen old Keeley signs on North Ave. and only a couple for Grogins. Looks like Keeley wins the sign war, and I’m betting he’ll win the primary too. I’m wondering who is the republican candidate for state rep in that district – anybody know?

  15. Pat Crossin,
    Why don’t you tell us how Joey G used to run commercials of him at the ballpark and somehow got bond counsel to approve the use of bonding money?
    Is it political Alzheimer’s? You forgot all of the tricks that could have gotten you in trouble? Now all we want are free ads in the ballpark? Too bad no one is there to see them.

  16. Also, does anyone know if there are going to be those Friday night free concerts on Mclevy green this summer? It was fun last year. Lots of people went to Ralph & Richies afterwards and thats a good thing to support downtown businesses.

  17. Ah yes, the old “Ganim for Governor” TV ad campaign, paid for by you and me. Remember the one with Finch’s ex, Claire Mastronardi, taking their kids over to play at Ellsworth Field? Who was the mastermind behind those taxpayer-funded political ads? Hmm, name’s on the tip of my tongue, just can’t place it!

  18. Rep Shays are you kidding me? The best you can come up with to curb rising gas prices is this latest bill? More public transportation including bicycles? Just how do people get to Stamford or other areas where they work and there is limited public transportation? Do you realize how this is going to increase the hours they now put into getting to work?
    I see nothing about taking away the subsidies we give oil companies. I see nothing about closing the loophole that allows speculators to make millions thus forcing up the price of gasoline.
    When are you going to answer the problem of home heating oil that is now selling for $4.69 a gallon? Are you and your out-of-touch cohorts in Washington going to wait until February? How many frozen-to-death poor and middle class people need to die this winter?
    I suggest you and your cohorts peddle your collective asses back to chambers and stay there until you come up with a viable solution. You have just lost my vote with this latest BS announcement.

  19. This is not a big problem if you take away the lobby money these lemmings in Washington get.
    1. Stop subsidizing oil companies.
    2. Close the loophole that allows speculators to profit greatly.
    3. Start off shore drilling with all the ecological things in place.
    4. Stop shipping the oil taken from Alaska to Japan.
    5. Start using nuclear power for uliliies.
    6. Start buying oil from Iraq we paid for it in blood.
    The list goes on and on.

  20. Hello City Kitty~
    YES, there are free events at McLevy Green…
    every Friday thru August 29th from 5p-9p, presented by Black Rock Art Center, featuring “Summer Sounds of the World”.

    ALSO at McLevy Green, Thursdays since the beginning of the month thru tomorrow from 5p-7p; tomorrow’s show is “Sinatra Songbook”.

    AND THEN, Thursdays; 5p-7p; July 24th – August 28th, there’s free events at Baldwin Plaza (behind the courthouse, next to the old Post Bldg)

    Go to the top of this Home Page Header at “ONLY IN BRIDGEPORT” and click on the “DO IT DOWNTOWN” ad link for a complete calendar of and map guide. 🙂

    (if you don’t see it right away, right click on your mouse and hit “refresh” until you do)


  21. Wondering do you plan on voting for Himes? I noticed every town or city in the 4th district gives us the election results by precinct if you want to know on their web site. How come Bridgeport does not show us that? When you go on the city of Bridgeport site it says the next election is november 2 2006. Wtf is up with that? No wonder we have low turnout. I want to know who won Black Rock school in 2006 Shays or DF.

  22. Doin it Downtown – thanks! I knew about the Thursdays but I work late, but I didn’t see anything advertised about Friday nights. As far as Shays goes, the man has completely lost his mind and hopefully, everybody’s votes. I still can’t understand how gas in New Jersey is 30-35 cents cheaper per gallon than CT is. Several other states are cheaper also like Mass and RI from what I’m told. What’s the deal with that – Jody Rell is no help and I wish she would do something about it.

  23. Bicycles to work in morning traffic – yeah, right, only if you want to get hit by a car and get into work a mess in 90-degree heat. Shays should get on a bike and peddle his sorry ass to Iraq and stay there!

  24. Tom – I’m never voting for him again. I did in the past but there was a time when he seemed like he was doing a good job before he started kissing up to Bush. I lost all my respect for him. GO HIMES!

  25. I’m voting for Chris Shays because he is a highly skilled legislator well experienced in matters affecting our nation, our state and our world. His record of accomplishment is significant. He deserves to continue in the house. All of you blowhards who are proselytizing to fictional merits of Himes are dyed-in-the-wool democrats who will only vote for the cloth regardless who the candidate is. Anyone who won’t vote for Shays is a Philistine. Besides he appointed my niece to the Air Force Academy (and I’m a registered democrat). Thbbbbt.

  26. Yeah and Shays got his own daughter a summer job to work in U.S. Embassy in Finland. That finished him off for me. Talk about the politics of privilege.

    Let The Good Himes Roll Over Shays!

  27. Himes says to Shays: You want to see some gas relief?
    Shays says: “Yes!”
    Himes says: “Pull my finger!”
    Shays: “No wonder that has never worked for me.”
    Himes: “How come?”
    Shays says: “Because I’ve been pulling everyone’s leg for years!!!”

  28. Lennie,
    Good comments about the city needing to promote itself better…or, at all. People in other parts of this state are still amazed at all we have to offer down here in Bridgeport when they come and visit.

  29. Yahooy, first you say you agree with Wondering (I do) but then you say you’re supporting Shays. Appointment of a relative notwithstanding, what record of accomplishment does he have? Has Shays gotten Bridgeport much Federal attention, or been rescued by Federal money since he has been there? I-95 gets worse everyday, he may talk a good game but just what has Shays produced? I don’t like the fact that he was a conscientious objector in Vietnam and now he is all hawk. Or the fact that he let Bush and his oil buddies continue for months to fuel oil speculation (no pun intended) and what does he propose? Nothing Rep. Blumenaur did and Shays said okee dokee, more people car-pooling, yeah that’s the ticket carpooling, yeah or maybe wait biking. Is Shays going to put some bike paths between here and Stamford, or any streets for that matter? Oh and that startling epiphany, “Oh my god, foreign oil! Yeah that’s it, we are addicted to foreign oil.” Even Bush figured out that one. Do you have a plan? Alternate energy, gas rationing (oh wait that hurts Bush, Cheney et al.), stop the federal cash IV to companies who are making Billions of dollars in profit? What has Shays done except watch this country and Bush kill our civil rights, kill the economy and approve Bush’s borrow and spend strategy so that China owns more US property than we do? Yahooy call me a dedicated Democrat all you want (PS read my past posts as it shows I am not a blind Democrat), I take it as a compliment, but the Democrats exhibited serious fiscal responsibility under Clinton, and Bush and the Republican Congress led this country into a recession and got us into debt so deep we’ll never get out. Shays stood idly by while his pal Bush raked this country over the coals and happily watched while Bush lied to this country about going to war with IRAQ. So why Yahooy, if you are a registered Democrat what specifically do you like about Shays? If this makes me Philistine of the week until October, I will happily were that badge. Himes gives us hope, hope for change. He has that Mr. Smith goes to Washington quality of real concern for the people. He started out with nothing, worked his way into the American Dream and then what did he do? He went into the business of trying to represent the people and address their needs. He did this to give back. He did it out of a concern for others. Shays is a career politician that is well practiced in saying what he thinks the people want to hear and then changing his mind. When Obama wins and with a Democratic controlled Congress, Shays won’t get a porta-potty to urinate in.

  30. clichebpt

    “the Democrats exhibited serious fiscal responsibility under Clinton, and Bush and the Republican Congress led this country into a recession and got us into debt so deep we’ll never get out”

    What planet are you from? Clinton had a dem congress for 2 yrs and all that happened was Hillary healthcare. When the repubs took congress we had fiscal stability and the charm of a dem in the white house. Divided gov’t worked. Then we get Bush and a repub congress and bad times for all. In 2006, divided gov’t again and this time even more trouble. The Pelosi congress had the worst public opinion #’s EVER. It’s obvious republicans need to have congress and dems need the white house when we’re not at war. OBAMA and SHAYS.

  31. The following are just a few of the many programs that Congressman Christopher Shays has done specifically for Bridgeport:

    One coast One Future $1 million
    Center for women $ 377,000
    Bridgeport Bust and Train Station $19.25 million
    Seaview Avenue Corridor $12.25 million
    Bridgeport Hi Speed Ferry $6.65 million
    Bridgeport Public Schools $26.4 million
    East End Improvement $600,000
    New Beginnings $373,000
    ABCD $5.8 million
    Bpt. Police, Fire, EMT $7.2 million
    Bpt. Port Security $1.4 million
    Brownfields clean up $24.5 million
    Work Place Job Training $2.6 million
    Community Dev Block Grant $7.1 million
    Hall-Brooke $491,000
    St. Vincents $650,000

    You dyed in the wool democrats are uninformed and you make baseless statements that Shays has done nothing for Bridgeport. Yet his record in Bridgeport funding is not equalled by any other District 4 Congressman including St. Robert Giamo.

    I have asked Shays to publish the Bridgeport funding initiatives that he has in the pipeline and are currently under consideration. This list is as impressive as those funding programs already received.

    Shays is not only an effective legislator, he is a compassionate person who works hard to make sure that Bridgeport receives as much as possible.

    As far as his Conscientious Objector status during Viet Nam, we must remember that he was a divinity student at the time. 100% of the graduates of the Yale Divinity School in 1966, 67, 68, 69, 70, 71 and 72 sought Conscientious Objector status as did most divinity students through out the country.

    Shays didn’t flee to Canada. He served honorably in the Peace Corps. At that time, the nation asked its young men to serve their country. Some fixed bayonets, others fixed the depraved in 3d world countries. I am comfortable with Shays choice as I am with all who made similar choices. The cowards who burned draft cards and became Canadians suffer my wrath.

    Shays is a good man. He is a good legislator. He has experience, vision, drive and credibility.

    Himes is a good guy too. He’s rich. Anything else qualify him to sit in Shay’s chair?


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