Noon Update: Mayday, Mayday, Mayday. Well, it looks like we have a little community chatter going–and learned a few things–as a result of Thursday’s post regarding potential City Council primaries.
Danny Martinez, freshman councilman from the 137th District on the East Side, notified OIB in a Thursday comment that he’s not likely to receive the endorsement from East Side Democratic town committee members. Thanks for the post Danny.
But if Danny is not endorsed, will he wage a primary? In all the years I had managed city elections trying to figure out the serpentine political machinations on the East Side was an exercise in endurance.
Fight today, make friends tomorrow, fight again a few days later. I was dizzy assessing the personalities. It was better for me just to stay out of the way. “Mario, what’s going on in the East Side,” I’d ask Democratic Town Chair Mario Testa. “Grimaldi, whatever’s going on today can change tomorrow.” Eeeeeeeeeee!
Political passions run high on the East Side. Nothing like that Latino spirit. Someday, Latinos in the state’s largest city will coalesce into a potent citywide political force. Bridgeport has not had an African American mayor or a Latino mayor.
There was a time a young lawyer Eddie Rodriguez could have made a play for mayor. Bright, good looks, strong public speaker. Eddie decided it was better to fill a spot on the Superior Court bench, the first Latino in state history, appointed by Governor Lowell Weicker.
The Latino community for decades looked to Cesar Batalla, the leading social irritant for 20 years. Cesar was unafraid to take on government, political and business powers. But Cesar, who passed away many years ago, never had a taste for putting his name on the ballot.
Charlie Tisdale, the single strongest political organizer in the city at his peak in the early and mid 1980s, came close to winning the mayor’s office in 1983. Tizzy, who today runs the anti-poverty agency ABCD, inspired new voters to the polls, but white Bridgeport feared him during a period when white Bridgeport held the balance of power.
And of course, it leads to the most basic declaration: African American and Latino political leaders still have not coalesced, all these years later, into a citywide force. Someday it will happen. Someday.
OIB asked Paul Timpanelli, president of the Bridgeport Regional Business Council, for an update on the timeline of an operational audit and systems review of the Bridgeport Board of Education. Timpanelli’s organization has been overseeing implementation. He shared the following today.
FOUR PHASE PROJECT
BRIDGEPORT BOARD OF EDUCATION / CITY OF BRIDGEPORT / BRIDGEPORT REGIONAL BUSINESS COUNCIL: A PARTNERSHIP FOR IMPROVED FINANCIAL ACCOUNTABILITY AND TRANSPARENCY
Review of financial relationship between Board of Education and the City in an effort to improve lines of authority to make Board of Education financial management more autonomous.
Implementation of the recommendations of Phase I.
An overview of Board of Education operational and management systems in order to determine whether there are any clear opportunities for efficiencies and/or savings.
If measurable opportunities for efficiencies and/or savings are found, a complete operational and management review of all systems would be undertaken, the purpose of which would be to make the system more accountable and to re-invest found efficiencies in the classroom to improve likelihood of better classroom outcomes.
STATUS OF EACH PHASE
All work complete by DHLS Project Manager except those items that await acquisition and execution of new accounting software.
Approved by Board of Education on April 27 to proceed with RFP process for consultant services. RFP Committee to convene likely week of May 11 to draft RFP, advertise, and formally solicit responses. Signing of consultant contract anticipated August 15. Work estimated to take 90-120 days.
Contingent upon findings of Phase III. Estimated to take 9 to 18 months.
FUNDING EACH PHASE
Cost of $115,000 covered by BRBC.
Cost of $275,000 funded by City and Board of Education ($195,000 is cost of consultant as Project Manager). Contract with project management consultant administered by BRBC.
Estimated to cost between $50,000 and $250,000 intended to be paid by BRBC (1/3) / Board of Education and City (1/3) and State (1/3). Board of Education 1/3 is not now available.
Estimated to cost between $500,000 and $1,500,000 to be paid by BRBC (1/3)/ Board of Education and City (1/3) and State (1/3).
PHASES III & IV FUNDING STATUS
v State – $250,000 grant approved and received.
v City – $125,000 in Mayor’s budget approved. Request for funds to be made subsequent to Board of Ed approval for Phase III.
v BRBC – Fundraising in process, approximately $200,000 committed to date
v Board of Education – $125,000 in Superintendent’s budget not approved by Board of Education.
(It is assumed that Phases III and IV will occur over two fiscal years, so City, Board of Education and State monies are currently 1/2 of what they need to be)
News release from Anthony Musto
SEN. MUSTO: BILL ENCOURAGING BROWNFIELDS REMEDIATION MOVES FORWARD IN LEGISLATURE
Bipartisan bill approved unanimously by three committees
Hartford – State Senator Anthony Musto (D-Trumbull) praised the General Assembly’s Appropriations Committee for its favorable vote on legislation that would promote greater brownfields remediation in Connecticut. He urged members of the state House of Representatives to quickly take up the legislation when it reaches the House Calendar.
Substitute House Bill 6097, An Act Concerning Brownfields Development Projects, would expand the capacity of private parties, municipal developers and state agencies to clean up and redevelop polluted property. It does so by broadening the range of costs that can be recovered by parties remediating contaminated property and specifying criteria for establishing immunity from liability.
“I have been supporting brownfield remediation this whole session because brownfields present a significant barrier to economic development in communities across our state but especially in urban areas like the city of Bridgeport,” said Senator Musto, who serves on the Commerce Committee. “Bridgeport is Connecticut’s most populous city, but it is limited in terms of square mileage and it consists of significant brownfield areas. If we’re to reduce property taxes, encourage economic development and attract individuals to live and work in cities like Bridgeport, then we need to do more to create usable space within our cities. This bipartisan legislation would encourage further brownfields remediation by limiting municipal liability, protecting municipalities that choose to investigate contaminated properties, and making it easier for municipalities, owners and developers to recover clean-up costs. It’s a positive step for our whole area, and I thank the Appropriations Committee for recognizing and affirming the merits of this bill.”
Additionally, the legislation:
Limits the remediation a developer must perform under a covenant not to sue to the contamination within a property’s boundaries;
Extends Transfer Act exemptions to property municipalities take by eminent domain or remediate with state economic development funds;
Limits liability for municipalities entering and inspecting contaminated property;
Eliminates the sunset date on a Connecticut Development Authority program that finances brownfield projects; and
Makes it easier for state agencies to develop property in floodplains.
The Appropriations Committee unanimously approved the legislation. It was previously approved by a unanimous vote in the Commerce Committee, where Senator Musto supported it. It also received unanimous support in the Planning & Development Committee.
News from Discovery Museum
SATURDAY MAY 9 10:00 AM – 3:30 PM RAIN OR SHINE Warbirds and Modern Airplanes Helicopters and Harleys Sikorksy’s Orange County Chopper Flight Activities Free Airplane Rides for Ages 8-17 Food and Fun Sikorsky Memorial Airport 400 Great Meadow Road Stratford, CT Admission $5 Adults$3 Children$15 Families (2 Adults and up to 4 Children)
One of the “Warbirds” highlighted at the open house is the F4U Corsair. More than 12,000 corsairs were produced by Connecticut workers from 1938-1945, and it is considered to be one of the best fighter-bomber aircraft used during WW II and the Korean War. It was designated Connecticut’s State Aircraft in 2005. Other “Warbirds” will include a 1944 AT-6 Texan, a Czechoslovakian L-39 Albatross and the legendary C- 47 Dakota, attended by re-enactors attired in 101st Airborne gear. Visitors will be able to purchase “Discovery Flights” on the AT-6 Texan.For more information visit www.warbirdexperience.com. Helicopters on display will include Sikorsky Aircraft’s dependable and rugged Black Hawk and their S-76 chase helicopter. Boeing’s CH-47 Chinook, the Army’s only heavy lift transport helicopter, CT State Trooper 1 and a Bell helicopter can also be seen.
Modern aircraft using “glass cockpit technology” will include the Piper, the Diamond and the Cessna. They demonstrate a revolution in the way cockpits are designed today which resulted in increased safety, lower costs and timelier schedules.
A Harley-Davidson competition sponsored by Fritz’s Harley-Davidson of Bridgeport and Stamford will take place on site with awards in three classes: Classic/Antique, Stock and Custom. Best in class, runner-up and “people’s choice” awards will be given. Those interested in entering their bikes should email Dan Height of Fritz’s Harley Davidson in Stamford @ dan@hd-Stamford.com or call Harley-Davidson in Bridgeport at (203) 380-2600.
The Discovery Museum
The Discovery Museum was founded in 1958 and opened to the public in 1962. It is southern Connecticut’s preeminent non-profit educational resource for science and space education. It is located at 4450 Park Avenue, Bridgeport, CT, one mile south of Merritt Parkway Exit 47, directly across from the Fairchild Wheeler Golf Course. Daily admission to the Discovery Museum is $8.50 for adults and $7 for children over 5, seniors and students with I.D.’s. The museum’s newest traveling exhibit, Robot Carnival opens on Saturday, May 9. Now showing daily in the Henry B. duPont III Planetarium: The Little Star that Could and Dawn of the Space Age.