Receiving a layoff notice sucks, and it’s especially crushing when Mayor Bill Finch could have been pragmatic presenting his first budget to the City Council that would have avoided layoffs, and the anger and frenzy of public demonstrations.
After Finch proposed his budget he was telling people privately how proud he was going after those “non-essential” public health workers and library staffers. No one would dare blowtorch them, he said. As a long-time city hall employee said of Finch, “He’s like a little kid saying look at me, mommy.” His honor and his advisers, the same ones that built last year’s budget that has created havoc this year, didn’t expect the outpouring of anger, radio commercials and public demonstrations attacking Finch’s judgment. No one will really care, they thought. But, as we’ve seen repeatedly in Finch’s first six months, his psychosis mandates that he’s right all the time and everyone else is stupid.
The Connecticut Post has doggedly pressured the city for a list of city employees on the layoff hit list. The “most transparent” administration in history, as Finch promised, balked claiming the only obligation required releasing positions, not names that actually received layoff notices.
City Attorney Mark Anastasi said hold on a minute–you have to release the names. Kudos to Anastasi for issuing a judgment that went against the mayoral grain.
The layoff hit list, unfortunately, extended to Mary Witkowski, head of the Historical Collections of the Bridgeport Public Library. So, let’s dump the person that knows more about the city’s history than anyone on the planet, the official city historian, in exchange for the official city forger. (See post, Next Time Use Disappearing Ink.)
I covered, as a reporter and commentator, mayors John Mandanici, Lenny Paoletta, Mary Moran and John Fabrizi and worked for Tom Bucci and Joe Ganim. Never in those 30 years have I seen the Bridgeport City Council more active in trying to repair a chief executive’s gaffes than the current legislative body.
The council will issue its budget response to Finch in a few days. Here’s hoping sanity rules, and jobs are restored.
Yes, within the next few weeks, all local and federal legislative candidates will receive endorsements from their respective parties. Congressman Chris Shays will accept the formal GOP endorsement at the Republican nominating convention Saturday afternoon at Darien Town Hall.
Shays’ Fourth Congressional District opponent Democrat Jim Himes will be formally endorsed at the nominating convention Monday night at Cesar Batalla School, 606 Howard Ave. in Bridgeport. The Dems will host a party for Himes after the convention at Matty’s Corner on Fairfield Avenue in Black Rock.
Mark Your Calendar
It’s OIB party time next Thursday May 15, 6 p.m. at Captain’s Cove Seaport. First round is courtesy of OIB, then it’s happy hour (yes I timed it that way) and the Cove is putting out Buffalo wings, Swedish meatballs, spring rolls and platters of this and that. Or, if you like, bring along a pitchfork and go digging for oysters in the harbor. Bring friends!
Secretary of State reports voter registration surge. Interestingly, more than 2,000 of the new voters come from Bridgeport. Park City numbers much higher than Hartford and New Haven for this time period. See state news release below:
Connecticut Voter Registration Off the Charts
Young People Lead the Way as Voter Registration Surge Continues
Hartford: Secretary of the State Susan Bysiewicz reports that record numbers of Connecticut residents are registering to vote. In the ninety days since the February 5th presidential primary, nearly 34,000 residents registered to vote. Young people (18-29 years old) appear to be the driving force behind the latest registration surge; more than 12,000 18-29 year-olds registering in the last ninety days. The latest registration numbers closely mirror the registration over the ninety day period prior to the February 5th primary when an incredible 40,000 Connecticut residents registered to vote.
“With young people leading the way, Connecticut residents are registering to vote in impressive numbers,” said Bysiewicz. There is an incredible renewed sense of enthusiasm and interest in the political process,” said Bysiewicz. “The surge in voter registration we experienced before the February 5th primary has continued through April and into May.”
Currently, there are 1,925,328 registered voters in Connecticut. Among newly registered voters nearly 14,000 Democrats and 4,500 Republicans registered to vote. Additionally, 15,000 unaffiliated voters registered. Of the nearly 34,000 newly registered voters, more than 12,304 are between the ages of 18 and 29. Since February 5th, among newly registered younger voters, Democratic registration has outpaced Republican registration: 5,010 to 1,369.
The nearly 34,000 newly registered voters represents a significant increase from the same 90-day period last year (February 5, 2007 – May 5, 2008), when 13,771 Connecticut citizens registered to vote.
“This past February, record numbers of young people cast ballots,” said Bysiewicz. “In this time of economic insecurity, war, and environmental peril, young people clearly want a say in the direction of this country.”
The Office of the Secretary of the State maintains an aggressive voter registration program working closely with community groups, high schools, universities and others to expand civic involvement among Connecticut residents. As part of her effort to increase voter registration in Connecticut, Secretary Bysiewicz this past year registered nearly 2,000 high school students. She has also conducted more than 200 voting machine demonstrations highlighting the new machines and registering voters. The Office of the Secretary of the State regularly registers new citizens to vote at naturalization ceremonies across Connecticut.