Stuck In The Middle With Doo, Plus: The City Council In DC

Gerry Rafferty, sing!

Well I don’t know why I came here tonight
I got the feeling that something ain’t right
I’m so scared in case I fall off my chair
And I’m wondering how I’ll get down the stairs
Clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right
Here I am, stuck in the middle with you.

Yes I’m stuck in the middle with you
And I’m wondering what it is I should do
It’s so hard to keep the smile from my face
Losing control, yeah I’m all over the place
Clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right
Here I am, stuck in the middle with you.

Well you know, when I think about those lyrics by good ol’ Gerry I’m thinking about Bridgeport’s border buddy, the Town of Trumbull which has walked away from the regional proposal to plug sewerless Monroe’s poop into Trumbull’s pipeline that’s connected to the Park City’s mothership.

The state’s largest city is moving forward with Monroe to try to make the sewage deal a deal–Trumbull doesn’t want to cough up the dough for all the improvements necessary to modernize the city’s sewage system–but all the sludge from Monroe must flow through Trumbull. So I’m wondering where does that leave Trumbull in the negotiations: stupid or smart? Because at some point Trumbull has to come back to Bridgeport to renegotiate its deal with the city when it reaches its agreed-upon sludge contract capacity which is not far down the line.

Is City Attorney Mark Anastasi sharpening his teeth over this? Maybe he’s thinking, shut off the pipe!

Say You’re Sorry

What’s your take on the legislative proposal in Hartford for the state to say it’s sorry for sanctioning slavery all those hundreds of years ago? Will that apology also include recognition for the underground railroad that helped slaves fleeing southern states that ran through Connecticut including Bridgeport?

Speaking of the legislature, OIB has a nice little following among capitol pols. David Carson and I will be signing copies of my Carson biography Bow Tie Banker at the Hartford Seminary this afternoon at 5 p.m. Stop in, say hello.

Leave Me Alone

I’m tired of getting dragged through the papers by the Ganim legal team and federal prosecutors over this so-called sweetheart side deal I received, according to Joe’s lawyers, for taking my medicine after screwing up 10 years ago when Joe had his hand out. Sure, lose my house, lose my business, the government drains my bank account, and oh yeah, buddy, cooperate with us for three years while you’re unemployable, and then nearly a year in the joint. What a deal!

Now Paul Pinto, that’s another story. Paulie, Joe’s personal concierge shakedown machine, walked away with a boatload of cash after playing ball with Joe to the bitter end, while I walked away more than a year before Operation Hardball went public in 2000. Why? You tell me. I’d like to know. Ask the prosecutors that worked the case? Oh, that’s right, they’re all in private practice.

Council Meets Congress

AmyMarie Vizzo-Paniccia, who has represented the 134th City Council district in the North End since 2003, was one of 10 council members last week to attend a conference in Washington D.C. hosted by The National League of Cities at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel. The event was an opportunity to meet collectively with representatives in Congress, build relationships, and address common problems among peers from around the country.

Other council members that attended were Michelle Lyons, Thomas McCarthy, Maria Valle, Denese Taylor-Moye, Leticia Colon, Carlos Silva, Daniel Martinez, Mary Evette Brantley and Warren Blunt.

AmyMarie has a lot on her plate juggling council duties with a family business and three children, yet her constituent service is among the best on the city’s legislative body. She shares some observations about the conference below:

As a council, we spent a lot of time together at functions, dinners, and meetings. We also went our separate ways with different meetings.

I signed up for 3 seminars: (3 – 3 1/2 hours each)-sponsored by The Leadership Training Institute Seminars. 1. Building Community Partner Connections and Measuring Your Success (Saturday, March 14, 9am-12noon) 2. Transforming to a ‘Sustainable City’ (Sunday, March 15, 1:30 – 5pm) 3. Building Capacity for Financial Success: Beyond the Balance Sheet (Sunday, March 15, 9am – 12 noon).

I picked these as being of interest to me, and what is needed in my city. I learned a lot and also had time to have discussions with other elected officials and found they have the same interests and concerns as us.

On Monday, March 16, we met Congressman Himes in his office discussing many issues for 2 3/4 hours. He then took us on a tour of the Capitol. On Tuesday, March 17th, we met Senator Lieberman in the early afternoon with our Federal Lobbyist David Giordano. The City Council then walked with David to meet Federal Lobbyist Nicholas Panuzio to continue our discussions about our needs in Bridgeport. After a two-hour meeting, we met Senator Dodd at 5:30 p.m. in his office.

On Wednesday, March 18th, we had an 8 a.m. breakfast meeting in the Capitol with our Congressman, Senators and those from other cities and towns in Connecticut. They answered our questions, gave us some information on the President’s plans and what money is coming to us.

We discussed as a group with Himes, Lieberman and Dodd education, Brownfields, health and social services, youth programs and Congress Street Bridge, Pleasure Beach bridge and grounds, the water taxis, the condition of our fire houses, all public safety concerns. What I brought up first was accountability with the money being spent, what programs, who would benefit, how will it be measured, etc. I also brought to their attention our zoo needing funding and the costs of running a small business in Bridgeport – mainly the cost of insurance, as well as the cost of insurance for autos and health, liability and business insurance compared to our neighbors.

We also discussed the sewer separation projects, how desperate we are to get this done immediately since all districts deal greatly with flooding issues in the streets, yards and inside our taxpayers homes.

I am hoping that we – the City of Bridgeport- will get the right recognition and funding we need to continue the services to our taxpayers, to upgrade our public safety areas, take care of those bridges, clean up our Brownfields and put those buildings and the lands back on the tax rolls.
The time and money to attend was wisely spent. This was not a wasted trip. None of these conferences are by my standards. Being an owner of a business with my husband for close to 30 years and the mom of three daughters, every minute counts and that includes the many, many hours being here for my constituents.

Budget season is here, and I will do what is best for the taxpayers, going through the books, discussing with the department heads, trying to break that cycle of wrong spending, being in discussions with the taxpayers, and spending long days and nights at meetings.



  1. AmyMarie and Michele Lyons are the only 2 council people that keep their constituents up to date on what’s going on in the city and in things that affect their district. AmyMarie uses e-mail to do this and her posts are insightful.
    Most of the other council people are hard to get in touch with and most don’t give a damn about quality of life issues.Time for a change.

  2. Everybody wants to be a “Regionalist” when it benefits their political pastabilities.

    Here is the solution to the regional question. Enact legislation setting up regional sales tax districts for the tax desparate cities in the state.

    The sales tax in the surrounding towns would be increased by one percent. That one percent in revenue would be given to the city by the state for budgetary reasons only. There would have to be well-defined parameters by the state for use of monies.

    Many feel that a sales tax is a regressive tax. However in a regional strategy this would help the urban areas, that are besieged with economic development projects on their borders. Looking at some of the surrounding towns you witness the infrastructure of Bridgeport’s streets and sewers being utilized with no upside to Bridgeport. This also does not account for the huge amount of social services that Bridgeport provides to the region with no tax benefit.

    When the Casino issue was a hot-bed in the mid-’90s, many of the surrounding towns were against it based on traffic. I have never heard a Fairfield resident complain about the Saturday traffic on Black Rock Turnpike. A lot of taxes come out of that corridor.

    As a good friend of mine always reminds me, “It all depends on whose Ox is being gored!”

  3. “Bridgeport Now” LIVE Tuesdays at 8pm on Ch 77

    Main story today is about Bridgeport regional issues: Sikorsky Memorial Airport. A tale of two cities.

    Rundown: “Bridgeport Now” show today:

    8:05pm – Bob Halstead and Bob Walsh discuss yesterday’s City Council hearing meeting on sale of city buildings which includes Bridgeport Brass. Are there regulations and zoning requirements?

    8:15pm – Will Stratford let FAA safety improvements go forward?
    Special guest: David Faile, President of Friends Of Sikorsky Airport (FOSA).
    Discussing various issues surrounding airport, Bridgeport owns and Stratford has
    supported laws preventing safety improvements.

    Charles Brilvitch is on next week.

    Seen in Bridgeport, Fairfield, Stratford, Woodbridge, Orange and Milford.

  4. *** Also, a warm farewell & company to the family’s feelings @ their time of sorrow. Mr. Hall was a nice guy, old friend and Vet. from the Vietnam Era. *** Also, AmyMarie & Michele have come a long way since their start on the council, that’s good! Of all the council trips, the yearly (N.L.C.) Wash. D.C trip always has been the most important & constructive as far as getting Bpt’s needs openly discussed on a council to federal legislator’s level. Topped off with some of the great lectures, seminars & “how to” classes, it makes for a rewarding 4-day stay. *** Last but not least, as a retired State Corrections Officer, I’ve had my fair share of dealings with all types of inmates. Whether white collar crimes or grotesque murders, to petty larceny, most claimed their innocence! Also, those that chose to make a “deal for themselves” to testify on the prosecution’s behalf realized later that the tattoo they had chosen to wear for the rest of their life would always be there as a reminder to them, family, friends, etc. and enemies alike of a personal decision in life they once made. So even if the decision-maker moved away from where they once lived, no telling when & where they would be reminded again of that time! Go back to the same place or area, its almost a guarantee that sooner or later you’ll be reminded. Bottom line, you got to roll with the punches to survive the demons of the past! ***

  5. Lennie,
    It would appear that ol’ Joe is clutching at straws if he thinks that you were the beneficiary of the U.S. Attorney’s largesse. Looks like the behavior of a man that refuses to believe that he is incapable of fooling all of the people all of the time. Two words: ho hum.

    Et tu, Paul? Mr. Timpanelli really ought to consider a position with an automobile dealer. The money turns over at a faster pace than it does with regional waste treatment deals, and there’s no refund policy.

    This “regionalization” deal was designed to benefit one entity: R.D. Scinto, Inc. The company’s website quotes George Bernard Shaw to justify the greed and avarice of the firm’s namesake:

    “I am of the opinion that my life belongs to the whole community and as long as I live it is my privilege to do for it whatever I can. I want to be thoroughly used up when I die. For the harder I work the more I live. I rejoice in life for its own sake. Life is no brief candle to me. It’s a sort of splendid torch which I’ve got to hold up for the moment and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to future generations.”

    Pardon me while I vomit into the toilet. (Don’t worry, the gastrointestinal discharge will not overwhelm Bridgeport’s sewer system–I haven’t had much to eat today.)


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