Smitty’s Final Edit

The Connecticut Post website is loaded with stories today. Truck crashes into Troop G State Police barracks. Heroin dealer busted. Mayor Finch’s press secretary resigns. House Speaker James Amann establishes a task force to study absent fathers. (Think Jammin’ James is running for governor?)

Nothing, however, about what was behind the quick getaway of the paper’s editor James H. Smith. Citizen Smith took an abrupt walk out of the newsroom at 410 State Street on Thursday. This is the guy that urged his reporters to snag the names of jurors deciding criminal cases, pushed scribes to scour the cell phone records of former Mayor John Fabrizi, probed police departments for information on screwy pistol permits and issued freedom of information requests to an assortment of governmental agencies.

Why Smith was let go is unclear, but there’s speculation in the Post newsroom he fell victim to the downsizing plaguing newsrooms across America. The Post has a bunch of sister newspapers in the area, including the Danbury News-Times. Maybe a consolidation effort to create a global editor among sister publications during budget-making time?

Whatever the reason, this was a major newsroom surprise. And one of the paper’s award-winning journalists, MariAn Gail Brown, will miss him.

“It was a surprise to all of us in the newsroom,” she told OIB. “He’s a great, great editor. He’s a lot of fun. A good sense of humor. He respects good journalism. He demands the best from people. His job is one I’d never want because there’s so many facets to it. The editor’s position is the meat in the sandwich between reporters and corporate honchos.”

Squeezing editors out of a job has become commonplace. The Hartford Courant just announced the elimination of 60 newsroom positions.

Smith has his place overseeing enterprising journalism. In February 2006 Brown filed a freedom of information request seeking Fabrizi’s city-issued credit card and cell phone bills. Brown and her peers Bill Cummings and Mike Mayko discovered a pattern of the mayor’s phone calls connected to a suspected drug supplier. “He encouraged us to nail everything down and get Fabrizi’s position,” Brown said of her former boss. “Where there were gaps in the story he would hammer me with questions.”

The demeanor in the newsroom Thursday was dramatically different from the day Smith’s predecessor, the volatile Frank Keegan, was fired about three years ago. The newsroom erupted in cheers upon learning he was canned.

Makes me glad I’m doing this!

The Board of Education finally passed a budget Thursday night. It’s not pretty. The $215 million spending plan apparently did not include the BOE’s anticipated share for a comprehensive forensic audit of its books, but State Sen. Rob Russo says the $250k he secured is enough to cover the audit stage of a comprehensive look at BOE finances.

Sly Salcedo, Democratic candidate for state representative, has provided an update in his quest to secure funds from Connecticut’s unique public financing formula. It shows how difficult it is for some challenge candidates to collect 150 small donations. The fightin’ Filipino is resilient, however, as he courts friends and strangers for $5 contributions. Anyone see Chico Rivera or Eze Santiago, Sly’s competitors?



  1. Don’t get too comfortable in doing what you are doing Lennie. I heard that some woman named “Mo” and some guy named “Ray” were planning a hostile takeover of OIB and that you will be out if or when they succeed.

  2. Lennie and fellow OIB readers/bloggers,

    I’m sorry to hear about Jim Smith leaving the CT Post, too. I had a chance to meet with him a couple of times and I know he is a good listener and a highly respected journalist and newspaper editor.

    Anyway, tonight I was just planning to send in a quick update from curbside in the 130th. To date, I’ve raised about $3,500 of the $5,000.00 needed for the Citizens’ Election Program that also requires at least 150 Bridgeport based-donors.

    As of tonight, I have about 80 Bridgeport donors so far…I need to find another 70 or so Bridgeport donors willing to kick in $5.00 (lunch money) to get to the 150 mark. Any willing Bridgeport-based potential donors are actively sought and most welcomed to join the very Special “Friends of Sylvester Salcedo” top 150 of Bridgeport! I have contribution forms downloadable from my website at www, or you can call me on my cell at 650-0118 and I’ll drop off/pick up your signed form and your $5.00 by check or cash.

    I hope anyone looking for new Democratic blood to be injected into the Bridgeport political landscape will consider joining me in my efforts to accomplish that goal.

    Meanwhile, as we approach the 6 week point to the primaries on August 12, I’m still looking for a debate or two or three (maybe? one in English on WICC; Tal vez?one in Spanish on Radio Cumbre; Puede ba? one in Tagalog on Radio Fightin’ Filipinos!) with Ezequiel and Chico on the issues affecting the 130th district…but nada, zip, zilch, nothing…if they don’t debate at the local level…how do they expect make any type of presentation at the legislature and have anyone listen to them in Hartford for the benefit of the district? They’ll/we’ll get nada, zip, zilch, nothing for the 130th District. As always.

    Too scared to speak in public? Have nothing to say? I’ve never heard of a elected politician (Ezequiel), or would-be politician (Chico) who is afraid of a microphone, or a TV camera, or a press conference, or a debate. But maybe, Maybe…Only in Bridgeport!

  3. Here is a bunch of democrats who didn’t want to debate or stick to their guns after talking crap for 2 years.


    Hey Salcedo did you try getting $5 from the Heroin addicts at P.T. Barnum, Marina Village, East Side or on State Street? Heck If they can spare $10 a bag, why not invest $5 and hopefully they can get all the free heroin they need if you win?
    Why are you guys raising money and running with not a single issue or platform to stand on? I guess you guys are waiting for my platform to claim it as your own. God first, family second, Democratic politicians in my spare time.

  4. Attnded fund riser for Chico last night, it was attended by about 45 people. i do not believe that Chico is afraid to debate any one. Sly re you sure yo asked him or are you blowing smoke. Your last post is starting to sound like Joel.
    Joel you dont have a platform. If either Sly or Chico mirrored your platform i would not vote for either of them.

  5. Memo to Future Bridgeport Retirees and Pary Organizers. Have your retirement parties in Bridgeport.

    There seems to be a recent trend with retirement parties taking place outside of Bridgeport. This in no way is meant to be a reflection on the civil servants who have admirably served out city. If you earned your money off the city. Please consider helping a Bridgeport business, that will help pay your pension and benefits that you deservedly earned.

    Good one.
    Here’s another one…


    He’s a Hot Potato!!!

  6. Wondering:

    I asked Chico to debate me and Ezequiel on the issues two days ago & he said, “No.” And he offered no explanation for his refusal to debate.

    But you know Chico, call him, talk to him, and ask him if I’m blowing smoke or he’s afraid to debate. Let us know & don’t smoke on OIB. You have my phone #, call me, if you want…Democracy is a marketplace of ideas.

  7. Tom Kelly:
    I couldn’t agree more. If this is where you’ve earned your money, at least have enough respect for the City and its taxpayers to support City businesses upon your retirement.
    In fact, I make it a point to support City businesses all the time and it should be incumbent on everyone to support to do the same.

  8. Well, what if this great city KICKED you out of your job after many many years of dedicated service? What if you were forced to retire? Would you want to give back or run like hell?

  9. The last few entries from yesterday deserve some attention.

    The situation with the City Engineer and Traffic Engineer needs to be put up there with the lack of Econ Devel and Publ Facilities directors.

    I don’t know Sherwood but his tactics need an audit. And Feeney didn’t do a damn thing for Stratford but comes here and is treated like a king.

    The developers and fed money is going to transit-oriented development. DUH! B’port is full of transit/development opportunities. Where’s the vision? Where’s the leadership? And then you force out or get rid of the people who can bring in the bucks?

    Count me as another city worker ready to bail.

    And one thought on the BOE. A senior administrator taking a month off when his department is losing maybe a half-dozen people? Leadership? I think not. Hurry up with the audit!!!!!!!!!! Please!!!!!!!!!

  10. Tom Kelly,
    Is that a small party or a capital p? I believe all Democratic Party Organizers have their events in B-port.
    Tom Kelly must be getting a percentage for all business he gets to go to Mario’s!!! Next he’ll be blogging that all retirement parties should be held in B-port restaurants on Madison Ave.
    Up On Bridgeport – Down on Kelly

  11. Grin Ripper

    You can’t p or P me off. It was a small p and I was talking about retirement party organizers. Although I do get a kick in the ass when candidates have their fundraisers outside of their districts.

    I’m not advocating any Restaurants, Avenues or Streets. Just Bridgeport.

    You sure know how to make a grim man weep.

  12. Just received this e-mail from a friend and find it so apropos of the City of Bridgeport and the BOE that I want to share it with you:::

    “A Japanese company ( Toyota ) and an American company (Ford) decided to have a canoe race on the Missouri River . Both teams practiced long and hard to reach their peak performance before the race.

    On the big day, the Japanese won by a mile.

    The Americans, very discouraged and depressed, decided to investigate the reason for the crushing defeat. A management team made up of senior management was formed to investigate and recommend appropriate action.

    Their conclusion was the Japanese had 8 people rowing and 1 person steering, while the American team had 8 people steering and 1 person rowing.

    Feeling a deeper study was in order, American management hired a consulting company and paid them a large amount of money for a second opinion.

    They advised, of course, that too many people were steering the boat, while not enough people were rowing .

    Not sure of how to utilize that information, but wanting to prevent another loss to the Japanese, the rowing team’s management structure was totally reorganized to 4 steering supervisors, 3 area steering superintendents, and 1 assistant superintendent steering manager.

    They also implemented a new performance system that would give the 1 person rowing the boat greater incentive to work harder. It was called the ‘Rowing Team Quality First Program,’ with meetings, dinners, and free pens for the rower. There was discussion of getting new paddles, canoes, and other equipment, extra vacation days for practices and bonuses.

    The next year the Japanese won by two miles.

    Humiliated, the American management laid off the rower for poor performance, halted development of a new canoe, sold the paddles, and canceled all capital investments for new equipment. The money saved was distributed to the Senior Executives as bonuses and the next y ear’s racing team was out-sourced to India .

    Sadly, The End.

    Here’s something else to think about:
    Ford has spent the last thirty years moving all its factories out of theUS, claiming they can’t make money paying American wages.

    TOYOTA has spent the last thirty years building more than a dozen plants inside the US . The last quarter ‘s results:

    TOYOTA makes 4 billion in profits while Ford racked up 9 billion in losses.

    Ford folks are still scratching their heads.


  13. I heard that the Traffic Engineer was given the heave ho because he was too tough on developers; requiring more expensive traffic studies, more traffic lights, etc. I also heard the Skinner was going to retire a year ago. So I’m not sure if Skinner walked out on principal or principally because he did not want to get stuck doing the engineer’s job, too.

  14. To Unionless:

    Don’t you find it interesting that the employees are screaming for help to get the city moving and the pols, here and in our offices use the time to bitch and complain about nonsense? Brings the Ford/Toyota story home to Bpt. The local pols who “know it all” are getting me sick. I thought the “me” generation would have seen the light by now!

  15. Grin; Barry Skinner had over 30 years with the city and did a good job He was very upset when they laid off the traffic engineer and decided enough was enough. The question now is Is it required to have a city engineering an traffic study done by the city before projects move forward?
    1. No traffic Engineer
    2. No city Engineer
    3. No Economic Development Director although I hear one was selected and he is now holding out for more money. The question is didnt he read the salary range in the RFp before applying for the job.
    No surprise No new developments on the drawing board

  16. Wondering, I guarantee that they are waiting for the budget to be final and then shortly after July 1, the new Eco Dev Dir will be here with a HUGE pay increase as to what was advertised. And we all know it will be someone who is “connected”.

  17. Hector Diaz,
    Are you just coming back from the trip you were on that caused you to miss the DTC endorsement meeting?
    In case you didn’t hear Keeley is the endorsed Dem.
    Kelly has the hots for McCain’s potato!!!

  18. Its so sad how things are headed in this City…

    People making every issue a personal one. Why is it that we demand people appointed be of this race or that? Why can’t we just expect the best qualified person be hired? Becuase, you just can’t. In most cases if not all, current management vacancies will probably be filled by friends of friends of a friend of the Mayor. Thus, posing a threat of hiring an unqualified connected individual versus hiring a qualified and knowledgeable individual.

    Many people keep comparing Bridgeport to Providence, RI… Until we have a Mayor willing to terminate the employment of all ineffective City staff regardless of who the person is connected to, we will not move forward as a City. Especially if people don’t work together and are beginning to stronly dislike the Administration…

    A LOT of work… But until then, remember “La Vida es un Carnival!!!” So, if you have time this weekend stop by the carnival on Kossuth Street next to the dog track…

  19. Wondering,
    I do not know who this Traffic Engineer is but I am sure not every single town has a fulltime person in this type of position. So, my advice to the city is hire a per diem consultant and let’s not use this as an excuse as to why there is no economic development activity going on in town.

  20. Yahooy
    He’s like you. Half baked.
    And like you. Finch Fried.

    See Shays is following Himes lead with an outing at the Fishing Hole at Harbor Yard.

    Click on the Shays banner about Bridgeport.
    “A Lot” “A Whole Lot”……..for himself. I wonder what his interest rate is? After all, he is in the sub-prime of his life.

    Shays It Ain’t So Chris!”

  21. Wondering,
    At least we don’t seem to be losing any businesses. And in case you haven’t heard, there is a recession, inspite of what the economists in Washington might say. Down Jones down another 107 points today on top of 360 yesterday. Hold on to your shorts Nellie we’re in for a rough ride.

  22. Can the Grin, Wondering, Bob Walsh or anyone shed some light on the Steal Point deal. Is there a drop dead date for non-performance? Are there any built-in penalties for lack of performance? What is the State’s position on funding? How does the TIF work? Should it be re-bid with Master Plan and broken down and bid into quadrants?

    Once again we are suffering from E.D.
    Economic Dysfunction
    This project needs some Viagra and the taxpayers need some prescriptive relief.

  23. Grin – the city can’t hire a consultant on a per diem basis to do the Traffic Engineer’s job. He has a union agreement that gives him call-back rights for 3 years and also says that the city cannot contract out the work. And his job involves much more than development projects. Everytime there’s a request for a stop sign, traffic light or handicapped parking sign, it has to be reviewed and approved by the Traffic Engineer.

    And as far as Barry giving people a hard time, maybe he was just doing his job. There are many times when the administration asks professional employees to bend the rules or look the other way for a favored (aka political) developer. Maybe the Engineering Dept. wouldn’t play that game. There was no reason to take that position out of the budget. Most of it could have been reimbursed by grants. This was purely a personal, vindictive decision.

    The Fabrizi administration (the jury is still out on Finch’s people) did not cate about ethics or morals or right vs. wrong. It was their way or the highway. And if you crossed them then there’d be hell to pay. Don’t know if that’s what happened to the Traffic Engineer but it has happened to some highly qualified, educated employees.

    Sherwood is still in a position of power and he continues to do Fabrizi’s bidding and report back to him. This makes city employees more upset than anything else. He has played so many games with the budget and with people’s lives. He should have been the first to go. Yet the Finch people listen to his every word. I don’t get it?

  24. I agree with In the know regarding the city wanting you to bend the rules, or even lie or look the other way. Employees and taxpayers are just sick of it! What can anyone do about it? Nothing. If you try to stand up and be a take-charge person, or even if you try to fight – there is no way to win. We might as well live in Russia! It is their way or the highway and it is hard to sit back and watch while the chosen few get to screw with people’s lives and their livelihoods.

    What’s the alternative I don’t know – all I can say is that the city doesn’t have the same shine as it did 10 years ago. I know that this administration is going to bring this city to its knees, and it will take a miracle to bring it back. It takes more than people wanting a change – we have to start making a change.

  25. Hey BobBlackRock

    So Right, and you actually have to HAVE a life!
    Thanks for thinking of me. Look forward to sparring with you this primary cycle. Both Auden and Keeley are working their asses off. So far it deosn’t seem like it’s working. Enjoy the Fireworks.

  26. TK you better Work it Girl if you want to retire. I heard that Slob KKKerwin was going to work in the Economic Development office. I guess DiNardo wasn’t paying well enough.

    If any of you need to to settle a will or contribute to Bill Stewart’s Campaign please call the office of Anal Probate at 1-800-MangiCOCKria

  27. Tom Kelly:
    Every Friday I await the “Finch Report” expecting that there will be some news on Steel Point, Magic Johnson’s development, and/or the high rise condo development on the Remington property. Yes, I hope there is a clause in the Steel Point contract which would allow the City to opt out in the event of a lack of action. During an economic downturn is the perfect time to start such a project. – Costs are down and by the time the project gets to the sale stage the economy has recovered.
    And yes, it would have been very wise to have a Master Plan for Steel Point; to have divided the property into quadrants and put it out to bid. The City would have had better control.
    The economic downturn hasn’t had any affect on Stamford and so talk of it’s being an alibi for no-action in Bpt is nonsense. I wouldn’t doubt but that the political instability here is a factor.

  28. Joel Gonzalez, worry about your election coming up in November. So Joel what precincts does your district cover? And do you really think you will win? Lol lmao you won’t even get 10% of the vote I doubt if you will even get 10 votes in your home precinct, lol.

  29. What to do:

    Don’t give up! come and join the Republican Party. For 16 years I helped these criminals. I feel like Dr. Frankenstein who created a monster. The monster can be stoped by breaking its’ legs. There is nothing wrong with taking the highway that leads to a good place. the times that I have been told, “My way or the Highway,” I took the highway But, I hit reverse and then drove towards them. This is a tactic that freaks the shit out of these idiots as they have never experienced such a move. Just when they thaught I was a goner on March 4, 08. I was right back in their face the next morning. Never give up to the enemy and never give up on yourself. Give me a call 345-9597.

  30. forget about what votes I can get. Tell me what you think about the Chicago alleys and stop avoiding the facts.
    Your opinion means cat shit to me. Go back to the Chicago alley and keep eating out of the garbage cans. Be carefull that the gang bangers don’t decide to use the garbage can as a practice target. Bang, Bang, Bang…Meowwwww!!!

  31. Lol I’m not running for office, all you’re gonna do is look stupid like always haha. I remember when you only got 34 votes at Black Rock and at Longfellow you got about 10 votes lol. So Joel save the talk, you are just a sore loser, you can never win.

  32. Okay Joel I was just messing with you man, I do respect your run. But I have a gut feeling when you vote you will vote for Obama so when’s the last time you’ve been on myspace Joel, I added you.

  33. donj, since the Himes people enjoy sending me e-mail, I’m going to return the favor and send them the links to NObama articles. Let’s see what happens.

  34. Salcedo wrote:

    “Democracy is a marketplace of ideas.”

    I guess we are no longer a Democracy. I don’t hear the ideas. While you guys have been chasing the money trail, there has been a series of people shot in Bridgeport. Can we hear your idea of a gun bill or how will you deal with the gun violence in Bridgeport? It has been established that Chico and Eze are clueless or can care less.

  35. What will a gun bill on a local level do? Nothing!!! you know it and I know it. What is your idea I read a lot of what you write but there is no substance. Your constant reference to violence is part of the problem. Kids see the violence on TV in Video games and after awhile they think that is the only answer to a problem. You as a member of the minority community should be setting an example and you are not doing that. Your posts are ripe with references to violence and gangs and on and on. Get it straight

  36. In the Know, The Jury is still out on Finch? I THINK NOT! The jury has been back months ago. I am NO fan of Fabrizi, but FINCH is MUCH WORSE! He’s a worse LIAR and a CHEAT! But all things come to an end and even though he has three more years, it’s still an end to look forward to. And you say that Sherwood runs the show, by Fabrizi’s command. Well than that proves even more how STUPID Finch is. And I believe that the traffic engineer position is a mandated position by the state DOT. I will go look this up and post about it later.
    I do agree that Mr. Skinner didn’t want to bend rules or let anything slide. So he left in order to not be a dishonest man like the mayor.

  37. It’s too late, donj. Joel has already drunk the Kool Aid. He is a Republican and there is no stopping him. Just wait until they kick his crazy PR ass out of the party. He will be cozening up to Phil Mayim and the Libertarians.

    The fireworks were great. I saw them off my boat.

  38. Rupaul:

    You have a better chance of becoming a Prison Warden (It would be good for your ass) than there would be any chance of me becoming a Libertarian or going back to the DemocRATS. I’d rather stay Republican and loose a million elections than win with a visionless and corrupt party. So that was you in that rocking boat with moans come from it.

  39. That’s what you say now you chump. How come you talk tough on the internet yet you are as quiet as a church mouse out on the street?

    Thanks for helping the city move backwards while you were a democrat. I think you have lost more than part of your finger. You have lost your marbles. You can’t even play marbles now.


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