State House Candidates Address Blight, Government Reform And Taxes

Joel Gonzalez
Joel Gonzalez

A few weeks ago South End activist and demographics guru Andrew Martinez conducted an online survey that received more than 80 responses with approximately 35 being South End residents. Based on responses from South End residents, Martinez identified three priority areas: Blight, Governance (transparency, conflicts of interest) and Taxes. The candidates running for the 130th State House seat, Democratic incumbent Ezequiel Santiago, Peace and Progress candidate Joel Gonzalez and Republican David Goodman were asked to respond to these priority areas.

The district covers the South End, Downtown and portions of the East Side and West End. See candidate responses here: 2014 State Rep Forum.pdf.

Americo and Ezequiel Santiago
State Rep. Ezequiel Santiago, sitting, with his dad Americo who also represented the district in the State House.

From Martinez:

In October of 2014 a short confidential and anonymous community survey was conducted and distributed using web-based mechanisms, namely e-mail, Facebook, and the The survey consisted of eight questions, all of which targeted different quality of life issues. The survey was specifically tailored to quality of life issues in Bridgeport’s South End Neighborhood. Participants were asked to rate key quality of life issues on a scale from 1 (not concerning) to 10 (extremely concerning). In order to analyze these data, scores for each quality of life area were averaged, and then ranked from highest to lowest.

A total of 82 participants responded, 34 of which were residents of Bridgeport’s South End. For the convenience of the reader of this report, findings from this survey are divided into three major sections (1) South End Residents, (2) Non-South End Residents who live in Bridgeport, and (3) Non-Bridgeport residents. However, in this report, we mainly focus on the findings generated by South End Residents.

See the South End Community Survey.pdf.


One comment

  1. From Rep. Santiago:
    “I will use my lobbying experience to try and convince enough colleagues that investments in affordable housing, brownfield remediation and small business development have helped Bridgeport make strides in eliminating many of our blighted areas. With so much more that needs to be done, this helps my case during caucus meetings when these issues are discussed and many decisions are made. Ensuring Bridgeport gets it’s fair share of funding in our State Budget, to continue a process of urban renewal we have under way. This allows us the resources to help to tool the Bridgeport Economic Development and Anti Blight Offices to continue their work lot by lot. There is an list of demolitions and blighted properties which is currently being worked on. If elected, I will work together with the city to ensure properties in the district I have the honor to represent are not neglected.”

    Did it really have to take 6 years to use your “lobbying experience?” If you stayed on the City Council longer than 6 months before inheriting and accepting the State Rep. seat, you would not have had to wait 6 years to start using your lobbying skills.

    “… have helped Bridgeport make strides in eliminating many of our blighted areas …”

    We are not talking about Bridgeport. We are talking about the South End and the 130th district in general. The mare fact that the South End residents have raised the issue of blight as a top concern should tell you something. How many meetings with the community have you held in the six years you’ve served? Where were you when the Public Library wanted more funding and the question was put in front of the public? Where were you when the BOE was taken over by the state and the people’s right to elect the BOE member of their choice was taken away? Where have you been as our taxes went up and up? You voted for the biggest tax increase in the history of Connecticut. From now on, the city of Bridgeport has to pay 40% of the cost of new school construction–a 100% increase from the prior 20%. This mean IF the BOE decides to build a new Bassick High School, we must cover 40% of the cost. Where will the money come from? How about the billion dollar deficit projections from the Office of Fiscal Analysis? What about your vote to cut $120,000,000 from Social Service Programs?

    Rep. Santiago, are you aware the City’s Anti-blight Officer, Chris Rosario has been campaigning for State Rep. in the 128th with the assistance of State Senator Andres Ayala? Who is guarding the blight henhouse? Go to my YouTube page. Wait! I’ll make it convenient and put up the link to my YouTube video of the lot across the street from Bryant School as it looks like today, again:


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