Congressman Christopher Shays, known for expressing emotion, is not a happy man these days, and his mood goes far beyond losing the job he’s had for 21 years.
Campaign staffers are contacting vendors to determine the actual financial discrepancy following last week’s revelation by Shays that accused an unnamed campaign hand of fleecing funds. Federal authorities have been contacted and an investigation is underway.
Staffers are holding their breath each time they make a call. More often than not they’re learning folks that provided services to the campaign have not been paid.
Campaign staffers thought that a modest sum had remained in the campaign account following Shays’ loss to Democrat Jim Himes that would cover payments to vendors and hired hands to close out the campaign committee that raised more than $3 million. A lot goes into a congressional race of that size–printers, suppliers, field staff, phones, consultants, telemarketers.
It sucks to lose, worse when you lose and must raise money to cover a debt you never expected. Worse yet when you believe it was due to a once-trusted hand. So now Shays’ campaign must reach out to reliable donors in this crappy economy to close the financial gap that could represent hundreds of thousands.
Pull Up Your Boots
We’re throwing a party, Dec. 17, 5:30 p.m. at Two Boots in the Bijou Square complex on Fairfield Avenue downtown. Join us for some slammin’ gourmet pie and eggnog! Good grief, Leonard, pizza and eggnog? Okay, forget the eggnog, but first cocktail on OIB. If we’re lucky Anna and Claude Balls will show up to pin the tail on the pizza. I’m looking forward to Local Eyes holding court with Speedy Gonzalez and his nine fingers.
Speaking of OIB friends, Dan Jacobs’ brilliant son Matt is appearing on Jeopardy Wednesday at 7 p.m. So cheer on Matt. Hey, could they have a Bridgeport category?
This actor was raised on Logan Street in Bridgeport’s East End.
Who is Robert Mitchum?
Economics Of Crime
The bloody weekend in Bridgeport (three killings) reminded me of the major difference between the last economic tsunami in the city–late 1980s and early 1990s–and the current financial hurricane.
Twenty years ago every poll in the city showed crime was the biggest issue, and with good reason. Drug gangs, murders and blight scarred Bridgeport’s inner-city neighborhoods. Remember the installation of the Jersey barriers on the East Side to discourage suburban drug buyers? Back then there was a murder a week with gangs called the Number One Family and Green Top Posse, and victimized neighborhoods screaming for help.
When I look at the hornet’s nest of issues Mayor Bill Finch is dealing with, the issue that has not yet stung his mayoralty is crime. Yes, he’s gone bone-to-bone and tooth-to-tooth with union leadership and rank-and-file over police overtime, police pay and deployment of crime-fighting squads, but crime has not yet come to the forefront of page-one issues. That could change with this icky economy. Usually as the economy goes so goes crime.
The crime situation that former mayors Tom Bucci, Mary Moran and Joe Ganim (in his early years) endured were far worse that the latter years of Ganim and the administrations of John Fabrizi and Finch.
When Ganim took office police staffing levels were well below 400 uniformed members. Within his first term 1991-93 Ganim added more than 100 new cops. In fact Bill Clinton campaigned actively in 1992, the year of his election, to add 100,000 cops to America’s streets.
By comparison, Finch had actually announced layoffs of a dozen or so cops, with more expected that would have found their way to a class of new recruits, before he achieved from the union concessions that will produce zero pay increases for two years. I don’t think the mayor would be talking about police layoffs if he had 60 murders to deal with in his first year.
Crime, as a threshold issue, has not threatened Finch. I hope it stays that way in future years, but with this economy it could turn.