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The Crowd Roars For Tax Relief At City Council Meeting–Will It Matter?

August 2nd, 2016 · 73 Comments · Analysis and Comment, City Budget, City Council, News and Events

August council crowd

Packed City Council chambers.

Another cranky crowd–mostly from the highly taxed Black Rock neighborhood–packed City Council Chambers Monday night, four weeks after venting about tax increases, to once again remind members of the budget and legislative body they haven’t forgotten about the impact on their pocketbooks. Former U.S. Comptroller General David Walker received a standing ovation in his call for the council to support creation of a financial oversight board that must come from a state legislative act.

The actual council meeting itself was a bore, taking all of 10 minutes. The real action came prior during the public speaking portion backed by a throng of more than 300 vexed taxpayers with a smattering that talked through the Pledge of Allegiance led by Mayor Joe Ganim who was soundly booed when he took his seat to chair the council meeting.

At issue is the July 1 tax bills with the implementation of the valuation of taxable property that predominantly rocked Black Rock homeowners. Carrying signs “Control Board Now!!” and “Unfair Taxes” and many others, seething neighborhood residents showed up to remind council members of several things: don’t take us for granted, we’re in pain and do something dramatic such as urging the state to assemble a fiscal oversight board, something with which Ganim is familiar.

When he took office in November of 1991 the city was under the thumb of the Bridgeport Financial Review Board put in place in early 1988 when Democratic Mayor Tom Bucci requested state assistance to close an accumulated $55 million deficit. The state did not write a check. Basically it allowed the city to use its bonding powers to borrow the money to wipe out the deficit. But that allowance came with financial shackles, creation of an oversight board whose primary task was to ensure the city’s budget was in balance. While some laud an oversight board, critics argue taxes also increased during the period it existed when the city’s mil was actually higher than the current 54 mils. The review board dissolved itself under Ganim in the summer of 1995 satisfied his administration had met the financial standards to declare independence.

All that history is no salve to angry taxpayers who vented Monday night.

Walker took to the lectern to urge the council to support an oversight board arguing city finances are too messy for a local fix.

“The financial oversight board,” said Walker, “would be established by state statute and would work with city leaders to restructure the city’s finances. The authorizing statute should put everything on the table including current collective bargaining agreements.”

Walker said “absent this restructuring, Bridgeport will eventually file for bankruptcy.”

When Ganim was elected mayor in his first tenure the city was literally in bankruptcy court placed there by his Republican predecessor Mary Moran in June 1991. It was opposed by the state. A federal bankruptcy judge ruled against the city declaring it had not met the legal burden of financial insolvency. The city appealed, Ganim defeated Moran, and then Governor Lowell Weicker told Ganim he would be a friend to the city if he withdrew the bankruptcy appeal. Weicker infused the city with tens of millions in new revenue to buy Ganim breathing room. Taxes did not increase for 10 years.

In his address to the City Council Monday night Walker said an oversight board needs extra powers modeled after the federal oversight of financially troubled Puerto Rico. “That board has expanded powers far beyond Bridgeport’s past financial review board. It would not just focus on the short-term budget, it would also facilitate the structural changes that are needed to avoid bankruptcy and grow the tax base faster than the budget over time.”

Ganim, for one, and many council members afterwards were unmoved by Walker’s resolve arguing they are capable of righting the city’s financial ship.

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73 Comments so far ↓

  • DC Faber

    It will matter if this becomes a call for all of Bridgeport and not just for Black Rock. I am a North Ender near the zoo and I recognize the sense JML and David Walker make; but I feel if this doesn’t get buy-in from all sections of Bridgeport, the city council will stall, ignore, and wear the masses down. Tonight was noticeably less than July, but nonetheless well-attended and energetic.

  • Booty

    The city council will do nothing, and Ganim will do nothing. They are all entrenched in the status quo and will not willingly relinquish control of the cookie jar. Their thinking is the people will squawk, but they will eventually get over it, and all they have to do is smile, nod and ride it out.

    If something is going to be done, it will have to be forced. They will have to be given no choice.

    When bankruptcy comes, they will have no choice.

    So what, if anything, can be done before that time? What can be done to force an unwilling mayor and city council (and make no mistake, they are indeed unwilling) to do the right thing?

    Are those plans about Black Rock seceding and going to Fairfield proceeding?

    • Frank the Cabana Boy

      How about hitting them from multiple angles? Take them to court individually and as a whole? Check into succession? Look for inequities in other places and start filing complaints with the state and the Feds? Keep protesting, report every single one of them individually on anything that can even be remotely equated or construed as illegal. Keep the shitstorm coming but make the ammo stink as bad as each and every one of them do.

  • Dave Walker

    The Mayor and City Council members demonstrated last evening they are out of touch and out of control. They didn’t want to hear from the people, didn’t discuss the issues nor the related costs and benefits of the issues they voted on. A 10-minute Council meeting with hundreds in attendance when the City is in crisis and the ship is sinking! Neither the Mayor nor any of the 20 City Council members have the requisite financial expertise to understand the situation and do what needs to be done. There are many angles that can be pursued, including at the state and federal/national level. This is about the entire City and everyone in the City. The City has financial cancer and many of us do not want it to kill our collective future. In addition, several other Cities in Connecticut (e.g., Waterbury, Hartford) face serious financial challenges and could benefit from a Financial Oversight Board. We have just begun to fight!

    • Jimfox

      For Sale signs are going up everywhere!

      So let’s say we have a Financial Oversight Board come in, the first thing they would want to know is who’s in control of the city’s finances/budget.
      One look at the city budget along with a few questions for the incompetent Budget & Appropriation Committee, and they will quickly learn this City is in a world of SHIT, heading for Bankruptcy!

      If we stay the course we can expect another 29% or worse tax increase for the next five-year revaluation.

      I asked the Mayor and City Council last night to open the Charter and to establish an elected Board of Finance with nine members with minority representation and no more than five members from the same party. The Mayor can put a question on this November’s ballot. (Would you be in favor of an Elected Board of Finance?)
      If the electorate vote is in the affirmative, the Mayor will have one year to open the Charter and establish a new elected Board of Finance for next year’s city election.

      The Mayor is the only one who can put this question on this year’s ballot.

      • Phil Smith

        And exactly how would the members of that elected board of finance be nominated? By the exact same people who pick the candidates for Mayor, City Council and Board of Education.

        • Bob Walsh

          Thank you, Phil.
          And furthermore the mayor cannot put a charter question on the ballot for this November. There is not enough time to meet state requirements.

          • Phil Smith

            You are correct.

          • Jimfox

            Sorry girls, I checked with the state and he does have time.

          • Phil Smith

            No there is not. First, the mayor does not have the power to place a question on the ballot, only the council can do that. The council in turn cannot act until a charter revision commission has gone through a detailed process, which requires weeks if not months, and recommended the change. That’s the law.

        • Jimfox

          I’ll take that for starters as long as it has minority representation.

        • Jimfox

          Phil, so what do we do, throw in the flucking towel?

          • Phil Smith

            Not at all. But we live in a democracy with elected officials accountable the voters. Their performance, or their lack of performance, is a political issue that needs to be addressed by holding them accountable. Unlike some here I am not prepared to hand their role over to a group of appointees accountable to no one.

          • Ron Mackey

            This group is not using political tactics and strategy to make a political decision by the City Council. This is a political campaign and this group has not reached out to expand their base. They don’t have talking points to sell what they are looking for to other districts. This looks like a white Black Rock issue, now we know it’s not that but they have not brought other groups and residents into their group. I don’t believe Dave Walker or JML have the political skills and ability to talk and convince certain districts to go along with them but I do think Pete Spain is but they must get someone black and Hispanic who are respected and who the voters have confidence in could greatly help this group. Bridgeport is over 70% black and Hispanic and two old white guys aren’t going to bring others into the game. This group really doesn’t understand politics or the process but Phil Smith does and he has time and time again told us what the process is but this group has not. Sometimes it’s not the message but the messenger.

      • Andrew C Fardy

        Jim, didn’t you vote and support Ganim over MJF?

      • Dave Walker

        Jim,
        I am in favor of a number of Charter revisions, including an elected Board of Finance with some qualification requirements and a minority representation provision.

    • Phil Smith

      Dave,
      What kind of financial expertise would that be?

  • Robert Teixeira

    Correct me if I’m wrong. Black Rock residents are up in arms about taxes and government spending. They want a review board to help with spending, budgets the City Council Members had approved and, the lead voices for them and review board are people who Black Rock had failed to vote for when they ran for council? Vote for responsible members for city council. You have a review board every election. From what I read on OIB there’s a primary “review board” coming up. I will be voting for Maria and Gomes.

  • Local Eyes

    Municipal leaders understand what a retroactive pay raise means; I wonder if they understand what retroactive oversight means.
    Affirmative Action recognizes the mistakes of the past and takes specific action to correct them. Today, Bridgeport needs affirmative action to correct past promises and eliminate the current imbalance.

  • Ron Mackey

    Change needs to come but to the public it looks like this is a Black Rock problem but it’s not. You are looking for a political solution without understanding you need to expand your base politically and that has not been done. The mayor and the council have no fear of those at those meetings because you can’t do anything to hurt them. Sure you can vote out of office your two council members but that’s it. Ganim knows those at those meetings didn’t vote for him and so do most of the council members. Maybe those involved need to rethink their approach.

    • DC Faber

      Well Put, Ron! I like and support CW4BB, but the group needs to consider doing outreach to all sections of the city to show this is not exclusively a Black Rock issue. Only with a citywide movement will Ganim and the city council begin to fear the power of the people!

      • Dave Walker

        DC Faber,
        CW4BB plans to start out reaching to other parts of the City via public forums in September. Ron needs to get ready to attend a forum in the East End.

        • Ron Mackey

          Dave, what does it matter if I’m there or not? Hey, I’m just a retired firefighter and have the same amount of votes you have, one vote.

          • Jennifer Buchanan

            It matters because you said when we host an event at the Center in PT you would be there. I may have to return to CT for this event just to shake your hand.

    • Phil Smith

      Ron, your point is well taken.

  • Lisa Parziale

    Most egregious is Council members ignore this cry making no attempt to reach out on their own to the obvious experience and knowledge of those speaking Monday evening. It’s common knowledge there’s not one of them who possess the understanding of this budget and the process. But the Mayor cannot stop them from doing what is right for the constituency they represent and the City as a whole. They are aware of that, but will not exercise their authority. Ganim has the luxury of three more years to hope for a miracle or capitulate to the will of the citizens; the Council members don’t. In less than a year those members interested in serving another term will begin to campaign. If a successful message is sent to those voters and taxpayers that the City Council is in fact the body that could have demanded change, but didn’t, the focus will be on them and I can predict which district reps will be thrown out. It won’t happen Citywide because unfortunately in at least three districts there are those who will manipulate and steal elections if necessary. That’s not the case in the rest of the City. I’ve been monitoring the absentee activity taking place in the present elections. It’s clear to me there’s unlawful activity taking place. I study the report generated by the Town Clerk. This is the real deal since all requests and returns must pass through this office. It’s blatantly clear operatives are roaming the public housing buildings and senior citizen buildings submitting mass amounts of applications. The returns will determine whether or not this activity will result in another fraud court case. I believe affidavits have already been obtained by voters who experienced the illegal practice of having their ballots taken by candidate supporters and mailed. It’s because of this security some of the members are apathetic, it doesn’t matter what they do wrong, their handlers will rig an election if necessary. The City Council is where the pressure should be if anyone expects the Mayor to listen. The last thing he wants is a board with intelligent, dedicated, independent and willing individuals who show tenacious concern for the City and have the authority to force him to perform in a way beneficial to the City. They don’t realize there are ways to address issues despite the Mayor’s refusal to do so. They must study the charter.

  • canobeano

    A City Council meeting that lasted only 10 minutes!? So when/where is the business of the City being conducted? Do I even need to keep reminding you what a joke this guy is?

    • Lisa Parziale

      Canobeano, I don’t challenge your comment, but I’m attempting to get a message out to all interested parties. It’s the Council’s obligation and responsibility to protect the residents of Bridgeport from bad decisions made by the Mayor. They have the authority to do that, but either they don’t know they do, or they don’t car they do.

  • Donald Day

    Well, well, well. Another Black Rock insurrection that will go nowhere. I keep hearing the word bankruptcy thrown around by some of you even one person who had the temerity to say when bankruptcy comes! Dave, talk to your people because I remember you saying you know more about this than Ron, the mayor or any of the CC members. Dave, tell your people bankruptcy doesn’t just come to Bridgeport, it must be filed and the only person at that meeting who can institute a bankruptcy proceeding is Mayor Joe Ganim and you can bet your high-ass taxes he isn’t going to do that under any circumstances.

    Dave, when you purchased your beautiful home in Black Rock you should have done your due diligence to see what the tax base was in the city and the State. How does the City give you a tax break when the reality is the City and the State are bleeding debt and in fact facing a 20 million dollar deficit? According to Barrons, Connecticut ranks #50–the worst–in annual economic growth. Four years ago Connecticut Governor Dannell P. Malloy signed a $1.8 billion tax hike, the biggest in the state’s history. Connecticut has one of the worst business climates in the country. Connecticut is ranked #46 for economic performance and #43 for economic outlook.

    Keeping these in mind, where does the money come from to move Bridgeport to financial solvency, not from the State. How does Bridgeport generate new businesses when the State isn’t business-friendly? Maybe your energy would be better spent lobbying your Congressional leaders for federal assistance or sell your home below market value to get you from under the strain of those high taxes.

    • Jennifer Buchanan

      Oh, be careful what you wish for. Affluent people are very mobile and sell short and walk, saw that in Fairfield County when fundraising for Shays years ago. I am hardly affluent and walking away from over $150 thousand cash improvements to my house was a loss I was willing to take, as much as it hurt. Statewide, people of means are starting to see a huge tax hike soon to bail out both the state and cities. Senator Moore was correct when she pointed out soon Bridgeport will be nothing but a city of nonprofit business and properties, then what will those of you left here do?

    • Local Eyes

      Bridgeport is broke.
      Connecticut has a mega-million dollar deficit and America has a $17 trillion debt.
      Yet your defined benefit continues uninterrupted.
      The system has been pretty good to you.
      Here’s why I’m writing:
      I’d rather have sandpaper scraped across my knuckles than hear you give financial advice to a former Comptroller General of the USA.

  • Frank Underwood

    The mere fact many folks didn’t stand up with the Council/Mayor for prayer and the Pledge of Allegiance says it all. The Administration can rationalize this uproar with their version of the truth but one fact remains: nothing has changed here. It’s the same game of undermining and belittling the lives of others; while the most unqualified rake in six figures, inflating their egos, manipulating their own ‘Big Short,’ with sheer contempt for property owners. We’ll see what happens in 2019.

  • Tom White

    Did everyone read Lisa Parziale’s thoughtful comment? Read it or read it again. The problem in Bridgeport is financial and political.

    Does everyone remember how the Bridgeport/Connecticut Post would occasionally update a listing of Democrat Town Committee members and their ties to Bridgeport city government through family members who were employees or on the city council or various boards and commissions? How do you cut labor costs if that would impact the influence of the DTC? It’s not going to happen.

    The problems of Bridgeport mirror those of other cities, including Detroit. Most city governments are inefficient and ineffective. The Bucci administration’s second term, the Moran administration and some competent appointments of G1 embraced the efforts of the Management Advisory Committee to better manage the city.

    In my opinion, much of the financial problems of Bridgeport are poor management as it was prior to the MAC.

    Overwhelmingly though, the problem is the intertwined relationship of employee unions and the DTC and the hold they have on the finances of Bridgeport. A similar relationship exists on the State level. Do we simply continue to accept this situation of a declining economy nationally and a shrinking property tax base that Bridgeport government relies on?

    Bill Finch was correct in speaking out on the inequity of the property tax used to finance municipal operations. Where is he now? He gets a political appointee position in New York State government.

    The unions representing nearly all City employees have made concessions that they would not even talk about in 1991 when the Moran administration attempted municipal bankruptcy. The problem is much deeper.

    Can a competent and engaged city council make a difference? I believe so. As I say, the Bridgeport City Council serves at the pleasure of the Democrat Town Committee. Even if they had the education and work experience to understand the budget, would they make changes that are within their authority? Not likely, because their loyalty (obedience) is to the DTC, which influences (putting it mildly) hiring in the City.

    I see no indication the city council as a body will embrace the changes that are needed. There is no leadership. I do not believe most of them understand the serious duties they have and the fiduciary responsibility they have.

    Does this mean their role in financial oversight should be done in some other way? It’s not a question of yes or no, but what form it should take.

    • Andrew C Fardy

      Tom, the entire council is not educated enough to make the decisions that need to be made. There are many of them who have relatives working for the city so they can’t rock the boat.
      Nobody and I mean nobody besides JML said anything about the council misusing their stipends and their illegal donations to charities.
      All of this screaming about the tax increase will be going nowhere fast. The state needs to become involved and appoint the review board. Having a set number put up by Republicans and Democrats will only get us a bunch of political hacks who are bought and paid for.

      • Lisa Parziale

        Tom, great! Andy, you too! Ganim’s downfall occurred because there was no financial oversight, after he finished saturating the council with City employees, their families and friends, he had carte blanche. All financial matters, including bid rigging, steering contracts, and creating conflicts within his own administration that would benefit him and those who enabled him. I was there, I tried to stop what I knew was happening, I wasn’t alone, but there were not enough of us left whom he didn’t reach. Had there been a strong council with members who understood why they were elected and had the integrity and conviction of character, Joe Ganim would have never seen the inside of a prison. I say this not because I believe he would have stopped trying to satisfy his greed and aspirations, but because he would have been exposed and stopped. His TC Mario Testa was too busy enjoying the power that Ganim so willingly gave, just to keep the wolves from interfering with his (Ganim’s) plans. Mario knew what was going on, a friend or authentic Town Chair would have tried to intervene. So here we are with the same ol’ same ol’. Ineffective Council, apathetic Mayor, inexperienced staff, and we’re paying for all of it. Clean up the politics and you’ll see a future for Bridgeport. Channel your time and energy where it will make a difference in the short run; clean out the deadbeats on the council.

        • Robert Teixeira

          Lisa, you make some valid points. I can’t attest to the mayor’s greed and aspirations or who tried to help stop this behavior or passively turned a blind eye to what was going on. However you can definitely cross out the mayor’s aspirations this time around. This is as far as he can go. The state denied him his law license. There’s no way the state will allow him to become governor. They’re going to give Bridgeport nothing to ensure it and that just natural politics at play. I can’t see Hartford coming back to the mayor’s side after the choices he made. Yes, Bridgeport does need to clean up its act or at least pretend to. It starts by not electing the same person who didn’t just steal for Bridgeport residents but also every CT taxpayer. Bridgeport enjoyed Hundreds of millions of dollars being sent by the state. I don’t see that happening now and investors will follow suit. Time will tell.

  • Tom White

    Andy, I raised a concern about accountability with stipends and making ‘contributions’ with City funds. That contributed to me becoming a former city employee. Much of JML’s lectures are completely over their heads. The city council is not accountable to taxpayers. They are accountable to the DTC that appoints them.
    I do believe some are sincere in their intentions, just way over their heads in ability that is now required.

    • Jennifer Buchanan

      Raising concerns got the city fire inspectors at my door. They left, noting no violations. Torres got bricks through his store windows, brake lines cut and numerous visits from every city inspector. Wear your protective gear when dealing with this city for sure, regardless of whom the “mayor” is.

    • Andrew C Fardy

      Tom, the only thing that is going to save Bpt is a federal investigation. I am sure there was something wrong with a person getting a free $400k driveway out by the airport. The same person is now in charge of public facilities and is putting or has put the trash recycling out to bid and guess who wins the bid, a company with three trucks (not the trucks needed for job). This formerly jailed Bpt politician gets eliminated on a technicality. Oh yeah his company’s business address is a vacant lot.
      Now this same person is purchasing trailer trucks, dumpsters and bulldozers and the city will run the transfer station. There has been no feasibility study to see if the city will save money. There has been no investigation into the use of OT in the PD. It goes on and on and needs a FEDERAL INVESTIGATION.

      • Lisa Parziale

        Andy, news flash today: 2400 North, a senior housing complex in the 132nd district, asked and received help from State Representative Steve Stafstrom who worked hard to have three handicapped spaces designated for the senior complex. I’m aware that maybe three of the residents objected to the designation claiming it deprived them of non-handicapped parking spaces. Tom McCarthy and company visited 2400 North in the hope of obtaining AB applications and in-person support. I was told by many in attendance that evening one person became vocal about the handicapped signs that have been up for almost two years. So what did Tommy do, he called John Ricci and asked that the signs be removed. Remember, these signs fall under the purview of the State, hence Steve Stafstrom’s assistance. One of the residents reached a Hartford official in charge of handicapped and people with disabilities. A call was made to John Ricci from Hartford and he was asked why Public Works removed those signs. Typical response from J.R., the police made me do it. I’m not kidding, that was his excuse. Needless to say the Office of Disabilities is now involved.

        • Andrew C Fardy

          Tom McCarthy is a piece of shit having handicap parking signs removed from the property. He listened to a couple of old farts who have nothing to do but complain. John Ricci should grow a pair and stop violating the law to make a jerk like McCarthy look good to a few old farts. Now three handicapped people are getting screwed.

          • Lisa Parziale

            You’re so right, Andy. I had to get this in for you to read. It’s incomprehensible. McCarthy who has never been to 2400 North, tries to placate as you said “a couple of old farts” and the Director of Public Facilities in return wants to placate Tommy, the Council President, by breaking the law again. Steve Stafstrom worked so hard to facilitate between the State and local commissions to accomplish this, and McCarthy with the cooperation of John Ricci undid it all in a week.

    • John Marshall Lee

      There are new, younger and better educated people coming to the City, interested in the possibilities, and willing to put some effort and energy for the benefit of the larger City. This cohort of folks, conversant in good communications that is timely, “democratic” with a small ‘d,’ and broad based is different from the “cards held close to your vest” modus operandi of DTC operatives. It can be a hopeful sign for change that might be called progressive for this battered and abused public. Some of them sit in City Council meetings and shake their heads at the folly often facing them. Do Council members realize there is a wider audience for incompetence and uncaring? Do they know the same device allowing them to take selfies with a big pizza at a political meeting is also running pictures of them staring into space, falling asleep or texting at working City meetings? Time will tell.

  • Bob Walsh

    And the one person who should shoulder the responsibility for an ill-informed or misinformed City Council is their President Tom McCarthy.
    Tom McCarthy after more than a decade on the council either does not understand the power it has or refuses to let other members know so he is the only one who wields this power.
    And in conjunction with his highly compensated position in the labor department he was able to ignore the public and cater to whomever the mayor was.
    Yes Mr. McCarthy, your day of reckoning should be coming soon.

  • Bob Walsh

    And don’t forget, Tom McCarthy appointed as co-chair of the Budget Committee a council woman who has no technical accounting or finance background whatsoever and a brand new council member who had never even seen a city budget before.
    And people in Black Rock are at odds with Mayor Ganim?
    Please.
    All your problems started with Tom McCarthy and his slipshod running of the City Council.
    So please remember Tom on Election Day when he wants to do to the state of Connecticut what he has already done to the city of Bridgeport.

    • Lisa Parziale

      I mentioned in a post I’ve been tracking the use of AB applications in all the current races. To my friends in Black Rock, please be alerted that the largest spike in AB applications is in Twin Towers and PT Barnum Apts. To date, more ballots have been returned to the Town Clerk than were returned in the Mayoral election, that includes Ganim, plus the MJF/Finch team. It’s apparent the activity taking place in this area of Black Rock is orchestrated by seasoned, paid operatives, and is targeted against Senator Moore and in favor of Tom McCarthy. It’s important this information be shared with registered Democrats seeking to rid the City of the likes of McCarthy.

      • Ron Mackey

        Lisa, that’s good that you are sharing information for those in Black Rock but that’s what their problem is, they don’t reach out, they just stay in Black Rock. I have been pushing them to expand and reach out in their own 130th district, but not this group. They want political change but they are not willing to do what you are doing, they should have their own contacts in PT and Twin Towers. They could have had their meetings sometimes at the Gary Crooks Community Center on Bostwick Ave., but not this group, they live in their own little world.

        • Lisa Parziale

          Ron, I agree with your logic. Black Rock residents must begin to incorporate all areas of that district if they want to succeed in broadening their objectives.

  • Quentin Dreher

    Ron, why is it their responsibility “to bring people in?”
    Don’t others see what’s going on with this city? Isn’t it more the responsibility of the rest of the city to join the movement? What about personal responsibility? It’s real easy to complain but what about solutions? You’re worried about your pension, but believe me, by doing nothing bankruptcy will come whether you like or not!

    • Ron Mackey

      QD, you know you’re right, there is no need to go after people who are not involve the same way Donald Trump is doing. QD, there are many steps in between bankruptcy but you know America needs to file bankruptcy because of their ability not to control their budget. That must depend on China to bail America out of their debt.

  • Donald Day

    QD, you say bankruptcy is coming like it’s winter. Bankruptcy doesn’t come, it’s filed by the COO of a city, in our case that would be Joe Ganim. Now really, do you think Joe is going to initiate bankruptcy proceedings for Bridgeport? C’mon Man.

  • Ron Mackey

    Quentin Dreher, the residents of Black Rock want some type of review board, which is a political decision. Now QD, how do you get a political decision? You needs a majority of the 20 City Council members to agree and to vote to create a review board, now there is a step in between. Tell me how do you get the majority of the council members to support something that you want? Quentin, in order to get those council members to support your goal you need to put pressure on them and how do you put pressure on them, you go to their boss and their boss is the voters in each district, but you want them to come to you. A lot of council members don’t agree a review board is needed. But let’s do it your way, don’t expand your outreach, just sit there in Black Rock and complain.

  • Mary Filo

    Ron and Don, I beg to differ with you when you state CW4BB “does not have what it takes to expand its base.” And other comments about CW4BB being out of touch with other sections of Bridgeport. I am part of this group and we are reaching out to other areas and slowly, that expansion is happening. You and Don talk about this group now being able to connect with groups of mixed ethnicity besides whites. You claim we do not understand their needs. Not true. Here are their concerns. Crime in their neighborhoods, education, lack of after school activities so kids have a “safe space” to go, lack of community centers, lack of social services in schools, lack of police patrolling in our most crime-ridden neighborhoods, lack of arts and sporting activities after school, lack of jobs, 12-year-old kids selling drugs because there are no local jobs for them to apply to. Idle hands are the Devil’s benefit. There was definitely a more ethnically diverse group at the recent protest than the former. Word is getting out and CW4BB is working hard to accomplish this. I think we will see this pump up a little more once kids have to go back to their undeserved schools, school buildings in despair and being ignored, when rents start to skyrocket to make up for higher taxes or loss of equity in multi-family homes. I think people will realize their streets are not being cleaned up, garbage everywhere and continue to see teenagers dying from violent crimes and drugs. When this really starts to hit home, which it is, we will be successful as a group of Citywide citizens. When people like you and others decide you are needed to help with change, things will get better. We would love to have you both. This is your formal, public invite. You can find us here.
    BetterBridgeport.com
    Good day, gentlemen.

    • Ron Mackey

      Mary, when you have a meeting at the Gary Crooks Center or in the East End then I’ll attend. Mary, you give areas of problems but only some but you give nothing about what CW4BB is trying to do anything that you listed. What’s so hard about going over to PT Barnum Apartments and having a sit-down with the residents to discuss CW4BB issues? Mary, the makeup of Bridgeport is over 70% people of color well what is the percentage of people of color in CW4BB? You’re in a political game, but CW4BB you don’t know how to play the game. Dave Walker and JML know more about finance issues than I do but I know more about politics and tactics and strategy than they do.

      • Mary Filo

        Ron, fixing the city’s finances is a start to solving these problems. We are one of the highest-taxed cities in the nation and should not have crappy schools, dirty streets, pothole infested roads, businesses leaving, community centers closing. Where is the money going??? Restructuring our finances to address these important issues is necessary in Bridgeport. Dave and JML have said it repeatedly in public and I in the past have also. What would you suggest??? What other route is there? You seem to know, but will not share the answer. As for an East Side Meeting, maybe your outreach can help. Will you help me? Here is my personal email address, filom70@yahoo.com, please contact me and work with me on this. Outreach in PT, I reached out to the few I still know residing there and never got a reply. What do I do now???

      • John Marshall Lee

        Brother Ron,
        Were we to compare notes, it is likely I am present at the Crooks Center more hours per month than you are as part of NRZ outreach with PT Partners. That’s my choice and long-term activity as was co-initiation and incorporation of the Black Rock Food Pantry from 2008 through 2013 for the benefit of people in ZIP code 06605 that extends more widely than the narrow ‘Black Rock’ you often decry.

        And in running for office last year I canvassed PT and all parts of the 130th but when my talented, successful, and attractive African American female running mate and I watched the results at PT, it was clear that ABs and money games around election day, practiced by a few City Hall employees, some of whom do not reside in the City were in the short term more important to too many voters on election day.

        You have a handle on political tactics and strategy you could have shared in person over the past couple years. Instead you remain an almost invisible preacher, sharing your wisdom as if it were the only way to contribute to change in the City and beating yourself on the back as the better man. Congratulations, brother. I hope in practicing my expertise and supporting Walker in his, a respect for the seriousness of our situation and the gravity of our circumstance will become more clear to more people, especially those with children seeking education. Will we be working together for a similar objective? Hope so. Time will tell.

  • Mary Filo

    One other thing to Ron, Don and Andy. My grandfather and his twin brother were Bridgeport Firefighters in the ’40, ’50, ’60 and ’70s. When they retired, their yearly salaries were $10k. I would love to chat with all of you in person. I used to go with my grandmother to bring dinners to the fire dept. It was a huge highlight for me. My younger brother always wanted to be a firefighter because of the stories Grandpa told us, he joined the military instead, due to retire in two years. My Grandfather’s name was Bob Tiernan and his twin’s name was Joe. They both worked full time after they retired because they had to. My Grandfather became the groundskeeper and maintenance man at the Burroughs Home. He also drove the women who resided there to all Doctor appointments, hair dresser appointments, and any stores they needed to go to. Another highlight was when we would get to go to the Burroughs with him and talk to the women there. They are all my heroes!!!

    • Ron Mackey

      Mary, thank you very much for sharing your story and being a part of our family. Firefighters have all kinds of stories but we don’t share them with everybody and we don’t brag about we what we do or did, if others want to do that then that’s different. I’ve said this before, as a rookie firefighter I had disagreements with Andy Fardy but when that bell rang all of that ended and we became a team and a family because somebody made a call that they needed our help.

  • Mary Filo

    Ron, I don’t think I bragged. I was just trying to show you I am aware of what you guys did and why you have concerns about what CW4BB is trying to accomplish. I would not be a part of any group that is out to hurt any firefighters. My head would roll within my family for that. As an extended member of the firefighting family, I am asking you give me some of your time to help us get things moving across the city. I gave you my personal email and hope you will take me up on it. :)

    • Ron Mackey

      Mary, with all due respect I was not talking about you bragging about your family and I said I’m glad you did but I was talking about me or any other firefighter bragging about what they did. We will talk about things others do.

    • Lisa Parziale

      Mary, thank you for sharing a little about who you are as a person, and your proud memories of your dad and uncle. I applaud your efforts and involvement. I agree in a matter of hopefully a short time, both areas of Black Rock will come together as a strong voice in City affairs. While it appears they have different concerns and issues, as Ron said “when that bell rings, they should come together.” This endeavor is relatively new and a long time coming so keep working on inclusion. One area of Black Rock is especially vulnerable to the onslaught of political invasion. The residents struggle with everyday unfairness and something tells me that there are many of you in CW4BB who would go out of your way to seek out those who are interested in coming together as a force to be reckoned with. From a political standpoint, it would also rid them of unconscionable politicians who use them by upping their candidates’ numbers by the use of illegally obtained votes. Pull it together, it will be mind-boggling.

      • Ron Mackey

        Lisa, thank you, you were right on time with your comment. Lisa as you know PT is entrenched with people who work for the DTC during every election and who are paid and the same for Twin Towers. They have operated there for years unchallenged by Republicans.

        Some years back there was a tragic fire killing a young a mother and her children at PT Barnum Apartments because there were no emergency exits. Well it was Judge Carmen Lopez who stepped up to form a “Shadow group” to find out what happened and what could be done. Well Judge Lopez had meetings at the Gary Crooks Center with the residents and the elected members of the tenants association, BHA and a few black and Hispanic firefighters. They met with Mayor Finch, Fire Chief Rooney, the head of BHA and questioned them about that tragedy, now it was not the NAACP or the black church, it was Judge Carmen Lopez who immediately came forward to help.

        Mary, it’s a two way street, CW4BB needs something but they must be able to sit down and listen to other’s concerns and how they both can work together. As usual, Lisa is right on point.

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