Snakes … Why Does It Have To Be Snakes, Plus: Fund Balance

Funny, I did not know snakes could attack on command. Victor Rodriguez, a resident of the Cambridge Apartments, apparently thought so when police arrived to settle a domestic dispute. He ordered his pet albino python, according to police, to attack them and his babe. The snake did not listen. Can they even hear? It’s getting so cops must bring along a mongoose to counter attacking snakes.

I can’t imagine Stinky, my orange cat, attacking anything on command, although he’s mighty good with rodents on his own. Now if I can just persuade him to claw that pain-in-the-ass bat and woodpecker eating us out of house and home.

I’ve been thinking though, now that at least one person on the planet believes that snakes attack on command, if I had one of my own whom would I dangle in front of him to squeeze into submission.

George Bush? Ann Coulter? One of the Cheshire home invaders?

Auden Grogins, the blonde banshee from Black Rock, has taken a pretty good licking from folks opposed to her legal representation of one of the accused killers. Grogins does not believe in the death penalty. I agree. It’s governmental barbarism that doesn’t work. None of the dozens of country members of the European Union, the largest economy on the planet, govern by the death penalty. We fry folks under the phony patina of justice (translation: revenge) then wonder why we have the largest murder rate in the world.

When I was a young scribe I asked a wise attorney why he represented lowlifes. His response: So they don’t receive undue punishment. So, maybe Grogins is representing the guy because she doesn’t want jumper cables hooked up to his genitals. For me the best penalty for murder is a nice, slow, lonely lifetime in a supermax.

I love this political season because it pits–nose to nose and bone to bone–some of the unique characters of Bridgeport politics. Grogins and State Rep. Bob Keeley, the man she wants to defeat in an August Democratic primary, are two outlandish characters. Keeley is a credit to longevity, the longest-serving state legislator in the city’s history. He’s funny, engaging and unique. He also was on the FBI’s radar screen for a very long time. They think he’s dirty, receiving paychecks from nonprofits for securing state grant money when he was already being paid by taxpayers to do that in his legislative capacity. (Keeley’s buddy outgoing House Speaker Jim Amann got in hot water for something similar.) Just because the FBI thinks Keeley’s dirty doesn’t make it so. And Keeley says there’s no conflict, he’s on the side of the angels. Still, no one was more supportive publicly of former State Sen. Ernie Newton, jailed for shaking down nonprofits, than Keeley. Should that make Keeley a pariah? Several commissioners of the Downtown Special Services District, the bosses of Keeley’s taxpayer-funded job that oversees maintenance, signage and cleanliness downtown, don’t believe Keeley earns his $65k position. They call him Mr. No Show. Keeley says that’s a bunch of crap. Okay, so now we know that Grogins represents an accused killer and Keeley’s friends with a guy that shook down the poorest of the poor, the Robin’-The-Hood of his people.

I’m still pushing for a mud-wrestling match between Grogins and Keeley. Joel “Speedy” Gonzalez can serve as special guest referee (Joel’s gonna do a 9 count instead of a 10.) Then we’ll throw in that albino python and see who comes up a winner.

Hey, what’s the deal with Hizzoner Bill Finch not reappointing longtime member of the Planning & Zoning Commission Pat Fardy? Anyone have skinny on this?

Mayor Finch announced an initiative today to rebuild the city’s fund balance, a key component for an improved bond rating. See Finch release below: 

Mayor Announces New Fund Balance Policy for Bridgeport

City’s fund balance will be built up to maintain fiscal stability

Mayor Bill Finch (D-Bridgeport), joined by Finance Director Michael Feeney, Chief Administrative Officer Andy Nunn, City Council President Thomas McCarthy and Budget Committee Co-Chairs Robert Curwen and Leticia Colon, this afternoon announced that the City of Bridgeport will initiate a new policy to build up and maintain sufficient funds in the City’s fund balance, or “rainy day fund,” at all times.

This announcement comes after a report earlier this year by the Mayor’s ad hoc budget review team, a group of seven financial experts from around the state who were asked by the Mayor to review the City’s financial situation before he took office last year. The group found that previous financial practices, such as including one-time projected revenues in the City’s budget each year, had depleted the City’s fund balance by almost $40 million over the course of the last 10 years. In 2001, the City’s fund balance was approximately $51 million. By the end of this fiscal year, the fund balance will contain between $15 million and $16 million, around three percent of the City’s annual budget.

A healthy fund balance is vital to a city’s economic well being. The fund balance exists in case of a financial emergency and it increases the city’s bond rating. Without a healthy bond rating, Bridgeport will be unable to bond for significant funds for many important projects such as new schools and park revitalization.

“When I took office, this City’s finances were worse than they had been in a decade,” said Mayor Finch. “I immediately took steps to freeze spending and cut expenses. But this situation requires a serious response. This policy will get us back on the right track and is a hugely important step for the City.”

“I applaud Mayor Finch’s efforts to increase the financial health of this City,” said Director of Finance Michael Feeney. “Our goal is to keep our undesignated fund balance at a minimum of eight percent at the end of each fiscal year. That current number would be $36 million. By the end of this fiscal year, our fund balance will have dipped to three percent, which is a dismal situation for our city’s finances.”

When an audited shortfall is reported in the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR), it will be rebuilt during the following fiscal years. This will be achieved by adding an annual appropriation during the budgeting process of a minimum of 10 percent of the shortfall. A resolution to adopt this policy was referred to the Budget and Appropriations Committee at last night’s City Council meeting.



  1. “yahooy // Jun 17, 2008 at 8:59 am

    “Pat Crossin // Jun 16, 2008 at 8:31 pm

    yahooy > Can you point out any differences, therefore, between Bob Keeley and Ernie Newton?

    Yes, Newton is a better dresser. That’s about it.”

    Come on, Pat. You made some allegations that Keeley took money to ensure that grants went to his friends. Who, What, When, Where, Why and How?

    Don’t get me wrong. If Keeley were running unopposed, I would do all I could to see to it that he lost.

    If he did take money as did Newton, then I think this should be charged and Keeley should be made to answer. So, if you would be so kind to answer my inquiry as to Keeley’s alleged taking of money for favors, I think the good people of Bridgeport would appreciate it.”

    I think I want to work this one a little especially since Grimaldi mentioned the same thing in this post.

    So. What’s the story? Does Keeley accept money to do favors for friends just like Newton. If so, then how come Keeley and Newton are in Jail together?

  2. Just how much can that python eat? Yeah, I’d like to hear the details on that Keeley accusation too. That sounds like serious stuff, same thing Newton is in jail for. How did Keeley get off?

  3. If anyone has credible information re Keeley being “on the take” come forward and say so. Otherwise, let the FBI continue to spend taxpayer dollars by having B’port continue to be the #1 city for local political corruption. Let he (or she) who is without sin cast the first stone.

    That snake at Cambridge ain’t got nothing on the ones that are in the grass in B’port politics.

  4. What??? What do you mean the Mayor isn’t going to reappoint Pat Fardy? That can’t be true. She runs the Planning and Zoning Commission with a much-needed iron fist and a lot of class. She also led all of those workshops and hearings to get the new Master Plan done. She is needed to make sure the Zoning Map and Zoning regs match the Master Plan. That should be done asap. This is a no-brainer appointment. Of course Pat Fardy has to continue as Chair. Finch threw out Hadley over politics. He can’t make another mistake by throwing Fardy overboard because of politics. When is he going to be the CEO and not the politician? Bridgeport needs a CEO for economic development to wake up again.

  5. In Chris Shays’ world, the high price of gas is a good thing. Did you guys hear that? That’s exactly what came out of Chris Shays’ mouth, he is such a idiot. And because of Bpt we will send him his pink slip because voters in Bpt will vote for Obama. And Himes.

  6. The python was afraid of the 2 copper-heads.

    Keeley serves at the pleasure of the Board of Directors of the DSSD. The same as Bill Finch when he was on the payroll of Bedco, now known as Deadco. Regarding the FBI. Don’t you think with all the money the Feds spent in Bridgeport that if Keeley did what some people are claiming that he would have been in jail. This is an old issue that gets regurgitated every couple of years. Auden was joined at the hip with Bob everytime that she ran and he helped her with her campaigning. Shays wanted the Republicans 4 years ago to cross-endorse Keeley.
    Where was Auden and the Roach Gang on the Juvenile Detention Center? Oh I forgot they were with Bill Finch on that one.

    Furthermore if any public or elected official had any inkling of wrongdoing they would have an obligation to report it to the Feds. Keeley who was a grant writer by profession passed the smell test a long time ago by the State Ethics Commission regarding his grant writing business.

    Keeley was never responsible for bringing Ganim, Fabrizi, Stafstrom and Finch to power. Grogins, Crossin and Roach were and now they think they can run but they can’t hide on their broken records.

  7. Auden is a dirty scumbag that’s all I have to say I don’t like Keeley but at least he is not defending scumbags. At first I was going to vote for Auden but after what she is doing with these guys I am sure not voting for her … I’d rather vote for Joel than her. Vote Keeley at least he is not a little bitch like Auden.

  8. Countdown,
    The city of Bridgeport will be a much better place when Fardy gets the heave ho. With Mario back as Town Chair the first board he wants control of is Planning and Zoning and Pat Fardy is a Testa loyalist. Just like Willie Sutton said about banks, that’s where the money is!
    If Finch wants to create real change and send a message to all, Barbara Freddino would be the new chair of the board. That would bring a tear to this Weeper’s eye.

  9. Grin Reaper,
    I do not understand what you are talking about. There is a much larger issue at stake. There is a new Master Plan now, one with substance for the first time in the history of this City. There must be a new Zoning Map and regs to support that Master Plan. That needs someone at the helm who knows how to get us to the strategies that are in that Master Plan document. The City finally appropriated $1 million to get our plans and policies in order. The job has to be finished by those who are most trained to get us there. We cannot grow the City’s tax base without it. Tell me one specific example where Pat Fardy has not acted in an exemplary manner as chair of the PZC. You can’t and you know it. This issue is much more important than old-time politics. Barbara Freddino does not have the economic development vision Pat Fardy has demonstrated in all of the meetings and workshops I have attended. She is brilliant at what she does for the PZC. She is a tough but fair chair who is insistent on everyone doing their homework and not blowing hot air.

  10. Word is that the only thing Countdown was counting was the number of days until she was appointed to the position of Executive Director of the Greater Bridgeport Regional Planning Agency. And if Pat Fardy gets the boot from the Planning and Zoning Commission, count down loses a key vote in the process.
    So it appears that the countdown is on hold and time is not on countdown’s side.

  11. Grin Reaper,
    You are so totally off base. It is obvious math class was not your strong suit; neither is putting jigsaw puzzles together. Maybe Suduko lessons might help; lots of lessons. What does this have to do with James Wang’s job? He is sick, not dead.

    Focus on the real issue; the land use policies and regs of the City have got to be finished. Quality developers want sound, transparent and accountable policies and procedures. Bridgeport needs to finish the job it started with the current chair in place.

  12. I just read the supplement to today’s blog, to wit, the mayors proposal to set up and/or increase the “rainy day fund” to help with the bond rating. That is the biggest laugh ever. Can’t you just see Max Medina crying every year at budget time: “we need more money, just take it from the rainy day fund”, and the non-taxpaying public in the gallery shouting and pounding their feet saying “yeah that’s right, take the money from the rainy day fund”?
    All of which reminds me (Lennie, you might just put this on your “reminder” list) that we should be NOW organizing some sort of a committee to start lobbying the City Council and the Mayor with regard to next year’s budget. Further, we should all be reminded that it is required by law that the City have a two year budget so that, we as taxpayers, know where we’re going.

  13. Tom Kelley,
    That’s a TK oh! Or a TK owe! The CAO has OPM reporting to him and should have known everything included in that Fabrizi budget, especially those make believe revenue items.
    So he knew and did nothing or did nothing and therefore did not know.
    And then they haul out those sorry excuses for budget co-chairs. Bob Curwen brags about how long he has been chairman and the precipitous drop in the balance coincides with his time in service.
    And the other co-chair, all she cared about was privatizing School Base Health Centers and she couldn’t get that right.
    And what did they all do when it came to this year’s budget? They used one time revenues to plug the hole. And if you read the new plan, that is OK now. Boy talk about dumb luck. And now we come up with a new set of rules that totally ignore what the mayor’s ad hoc budget review committee had come up with. You can not make this up.

  14. Countdown,
    Why did you feel compelled to bring up James Wang’s health issues? I never mentioned anything about him being ill. And I definitely did not imply that he was dead or near death. You brought this discourse into the gutter trying to deflect the truth. How dare you!
    Mr. Wang was retiring. Yon know that. I know that. You want that job and if Pat Fardy gets the boot from Planning and Zoning you lose a vote. You do the math. Time’s ticking away.

  15. If the Bird Brain knew what he was doing he would’ve looked at the CAO feeney and got him out of there instead of giving him a new position as CFO! After knowing about the deficit, what logic is in that?

  16. con filardi – you made a good point. Instead of just posting their ideas on this blog, why didn’t Kelly or Bruce run for state rep? Either of them (assuming they are in that district) would have been a good candidate based on what I read on here. This is why we have to settle for the lesser of 2 evils.

  17. As far as the 2 scumbags that Audin is defending, they deserve the death penalty. Why should our tax dollars have to pay to keep them alive in jail. In this case, I believe in an eye for an eye.

  18. Feeney went from being the CAO to the CFO
    You can fill in the blanks as what the adjective or adverb means before the Officer part.

    Thanks but no thanks on your kind offer. Bruce has the shmartz but I have the schmaltz.

  19. A few comments on Pat Fardy, the primaries and Bpt politics:

    People – it’s time to get real here. IT’S ALL ABOUT POWER & CONTROL i.e., POLITICS.

    . Not reappointing Pat Fardy to the Planning and Zoning Commission is about who Andy Fardy supported for Town Chair – Mario Testa.

    · Similarly, Lydia Martinez got the endorsement over Andreas Ayala because the Testa wing of the Party controls that part of town and Ayala supported Finch/Stafstrom.

    · The Finch/Stafstrom faction controls the South End; consequently Santiago got the endorsement over Chico, who supported Testa. (OK, Salcedo is not politically aligned with anyone, but Sylvester is a special case.)

    · Admittedly, I don’t know a whole lot about the East End, but it appears that Testa and/or Ganim are testing the waters for the future against Clemons who has been aligned with Finch.

    · Oh, and the Caruso/Silva primary is simply a way of creating a little aggravation for Caruso by some folks who really don’t like Chris and perhaps an effort to distract him enough so he won’t have time to help Keeley. Nobody thinks Silva has any chance of winning.

    · Then, of course, there’s the Keeley and Grogins race in the 129th. Here, Keeley has a primary because he supported Caruso last summer and he did not support Stafstrom/Finch in the Town Chair battle. (Personally, I think it was his support for Caruso that was the major factor, but not supporting Finch/Stafstrom didn’t help.)

    All these races and the Pat Fardy situation have several things in common. None of them have anything to do with issues, ideology or these people’s relative qualifications or lack thereof. They all do, however, have a lot to do with such things as family feuds, personal animosity, petty grudges and not so incidentally – control of the Democratic Party. It also goes without saying that these conflicts have virtually nothing to do with what’s best for the city of Bridgeport or its residents.

    This is all about power politics – pure and simple. This is about who will control the Bridgeport Democratic Party – period. Everything else is just a smokescreen and a distraction.

  20. John from Black Rock, let’s not forget the ton of money Caruso cost the B-port taxpayers with his stupid lawsuit. He’s not exactly a mover or a shaker in Hartford, what has he brought back home for B-port? It’s always all about him, but personally, he’s just like the rest of them. Now there’s where we should be looking at making changes. I have to also say that Keeley is no big deal either, but because of Audin taking that murder case and her crappy performance on the BOE, she’s not worthy of winning. Too bad Kelly or Bruce didn’t throw their hat in the ring.

  21. Speaking of power and being out of control, I think John from Black Rock should be tested for steroids. I am sensing some form of ‘roid rage here!

  22. Gossip of The Rialto!

    This is a “Venomenal” story.

    Monty, “The Python”, is shedding some light and skin on his/her story. WTNH in New Haven, this evening, reported that the slimey criminal is being held wthout bail at the new Animal Control Center. The main complaint is that the conditions for his/her movement are tightly “constricted”. Heard to be screaming for the ‘Attica’, ‘Attica’.

    “Buck To The Future”

    This Thursday at 9:30 pm on PBS will feature a special on Buckminster Fuller. Fuller, one of the world’s first futurists and global thinkers, created the Dymaxion car in Bridgeport.

    Only In Bridgeport!

  23. Maybe so Grim – I’m “Raging against the Machine.” Or, given the various factions, perhaps it’s more like raging against the gaggle of self-aggrandizing, petty potentates. With a very few exceptions Bpt. Democratic politicians suffer from a lack of vision and are incapable of seeing beyond their own narrow self-interests. We desperately need to expand our gene pool.

  24. John from Black Rock:

    Great analysis! Too bad it’s true.

    Con, City Kitty, Black Rockin:

    Since I live in the 129th, I share your concerns and some of your pain. But at my age, any “next” job has to to have the positioning, platform and leverage to accomplish major change… and to accomplish it fast.

    The State Rep. responsibilities are probably better left to others. My interests are positions with impact… where results can be readily measured. Time will tell if one develops tomorrow, or remains 3 1/2 years away.

    Anyway, thanks for the mention.

  25. Bruce: Name recognition is everything in politics. Right now you are an unknown to the general public. Even if you lost the State Rep position you would have gained “name recognition” for the important run. Please reconsider.

  26. Con – I agree, if he got his name out there this time for state rep, who knows what it could lead up to? He also has no baggage so nobody could criticize him. I know from postings on here that he’s a republican, so I’m sure they would endorse him. Lots of Black Rockers vote republican, so if he was on that presidential ticket, he could get plenty of votes in that district. I bet he’d do a good job in Hartford.

  27. City Kitty,
    Yes, I do have a very personal interest. I want the tax base to grow and the mil rate to shrink. That is my very personal interest. No, I am not promised a job. I am working. I just wish we would all keep our eye on the correct issues and demand excellence. Bridgeport deserves nothing less. Until all of the land use policies are updated we will be faced with good developers leaving and bottom-feeder developers trying to make their deals. Bridgeport deserves more. So it makes absolutely no sense to me the Mayor would switch the Chair of the Planning Commission midstream. Politics is not a good enough reason.

  28. countdown, I am wondering what happened to that Magic Johnson development and the big one at Seaside – i just thought that would be awesome. It would have brought the big $$$ to the city. What happened that the developers aren’t here? Any idea why?

  29. City Kitty:
    On previous Postings you had mentioned attending City Council Meetings. You have also stated that you were a Hairstylist and complained about going through bad financial times. I haven’t seen any action on the below resolution. Since you are an expert on City matters, I was wondering If a Hairstylist with Political knowledge and connections such as yourself could tell us more about this? It’s June 18, 2008 did you or your employer pay the $50.00?

    March 17, 2008


    55-07 Resolution presented by Council member Martinez re Amendment to the Municipal Code of Ordinances, amend Section 5.16.010 Barber shop/beauty salon – License fee, referred to Ordinance Committee.

    56-07 Resolution presented by Council member Martinez re Amendment to the Municipal Code of Ordinances, amend Title 5 Business Licenses and Regulations, add new Chapter Annual Place of Assembly Permit Fee, referred to Ordinance Committee.


    5.16.010 Barber shop/beauty salon-License fee.

    A. The fee for the issuance of a license to operate a barber shop or beauty salon shall be fifty dollars ($50.00). Once issued a license to operate a barber shop or beauty salon, each licensee shall pay on or before June 1st of each subsequent year an annual license fee of fifty dollars ($50.00).

    B. In the event that the reapplication for license and the receipt of payment for such license is not obtained by the department of health on or before June 1st, the license shall increase to one hundred dollars ($100.00). (Ord. dated 5/21/90 (part): prior code §§ 14-305, 19-10)

  30. Mr. Bruce Hubler:

    I can’t tell your political affiliation from your posting. Perhaps, you can post and tell us your Political affiliation if any.

  31. City Kitty

    The story was tongue in cheek about the python that the cops arrested with his handler. This like the snake must have slipped by you.

  32. yes Joel, the $50 was paid, can’t figure out why it would matter to you since you don’t have any hair. So why can’t I be a hairstylist and go to city council meetings from time to time? No harm in being interested in what goes on in my city is there? Some of my clients are very connected in politics. You work in a zoo and you stay connected to whats going on in the city, why would you think i shouldn’t? Harry – that snake did slip by me! If he needs a babysitter – call Joel.

  33. Just returned from a business trip and read the totally inaccurate post by Grin Reaper. Again you have opened your mouth and inserted your foot. Your post read as follows “Word is that the only thing Countdown was counting was the number of days until she was appointed to the position of Executive Director of the Greater Bridgeport Regional Planning Agency. And if Pat Fardy gets the boot from the Planning and Zoning Commission, count down loses a key vote in the process.
    So it appears that the countdown is on hold and time is not on countdown’s side.”
    There is no vote that Pat Fardy will make or not make that will help anyone secure a job. Stop making shit up as you go along and get the facts straight.
    The city spent a lot of money training Pat Fardy and she has put in on average 60 hrs FREE a month doing her job. The city has sent her to all the courses offered on Land use and Management and now that the city can use that training you want to dump her for some perceived BS vote that does not involve her or her position.


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