Could trouble be brewing between Mayor Bill Finch and South End District Leader Mitch Robles, one of the highest vote-producing pols in the city?
At issue is tension between John Gomes, director of the city’s government-efficiency CitiStat program, and his underling City Councilman Eze Santiago, the Democratic candidate for state representative, Mitch’s stepson. Gomes and Santiago, for whatever the reason, have some workplace productivity issues. Mitch feels Gomes is leaning too hard on his boy, and wants something done about it.
This is where the intersection of government and politics can explode into Armageddon. When does a mayor step in to arbitrate a dispute?
Robles’ production speaks for itself. He produced big time for Finch in his primary win over Chris Caruso and has repeatedly asserted vote control over the South End and West End. Finch can count on few district leaders to produce for him in part because only a few have actual votes and Finch’s standing with the electorate is, well, dicey.
Generally, what Mitch wants is what Mitch gets, as evidenced by his people scattered throughout the public payroll, including Santiago. This battle between Eze and Gomes is eating away at him. From what I hear Mitch wants to run Gomes through the salami slicer at Gomes’ Red Rooster deli. But at what point does a mayor tell a district leader: you’re not holding me hostage!
Penultimate weekend before November Neurosis. Republican State Senator Rob Russo and Democratic challenger Anthony Musto, with a little help from State Senator Ed Gomes, had a mostly cordial disagreement on issues Thursday night at the North End Library. I hear Gomes’ challenger city police officer Milton Johnson couldn’t make it because he was celebrating his birthday. Happy birthday, Uncle Milton! Actually, Milton had a prior commitment with his son Thursday night which prevented him from making the forum. And today is his birthday.
On the issue of taxes Musto disagreed with Russo’s proposal (backed by Governor Rell) to cap local property taxes at three percent, an initiative opposed by legislative Democrats, even though a Musto brochure states that he supports a workable tax cap. (Whatever that means.)
Musto said the tax cap wouldn’t work in the city because it interferes with local budget-making process. Not so. That’s why the legislation is meaningful. If a municipality must spend beyond the cap it can do so with a two-thirds vote of the budget-authorizing body. It forces the chief executive and council to work together closely to prioritize spending. A cap would not impact school construction and infrastructure costs. For instance, if the city (don’t hold your breath) could ever get around to replacing the Congress Street Bridge, the tax cap would not restrict the improvement.
So, let’s just let the bastards in Hartford continue to spend and spend and spend (often in all the wrong places) and price everyone out of the state. That’s what’s going to happen without some sanity back into the budget-making process both on a state and local level.
Democrats love spending money! They love playing Santa Claus! Wondering, you still think I’m showing a liberal bent?
News release from Mayor Finch
Mayor Finch Issues Executive Order Mandating City to Be Green
Order Calls for Efficiencies and Cost-Savings
Will appoint Advisory Committee, and partner with Bridgeport Regional Business Council to promote initiative throughout City
(BRIDGEPORT, CT – October 24, 2008) – In an effort to improve efficiency, save the city millions of dollars, attract state-of-the-art development and work toward national and local priorities to improve the environment, Mayor Bill Finch today announced a sweeping change in the way Bridgeport will do business.
By way of executive order, the Mayor announced a new directive to all city departments aimed at widespread changes to reduce energy costs and lower the city’s carbon footprint.
“My Executive Order and the sustainability planning effort we undertake will be the most comprehensive approach in our state, help reduce our carbon footprint and change the way our city is perceived by state leaders, investors and companies looking to do business in our community,” said Mayor Finch.
“We are changing the way we do business here in the City. ‘Doing more with less’ have become our watchwords, and if we are to maintain our jobs, our education and our government services, then we have to find ways to squeeze the most out of every public dollar,” said Mayor Finch.
“From a business perspective this makes perfect sense,” said Bridgeport Regional Business Council CEO Paul Timpanelli. “Turning Brownfields into ‘greenfields’ can help the city expand its tax base, inviting more business and commercial ventures, to make their home in Bridgeport, such as those that are flourishing on the old Bryant Electric site in the city’s West End.”
The Executive Order also calls for the formation of a Sustainability Community Advisory Committee. Made up of representatives from the public, private, nonprofit and education sectors, its members will recommend ways to educate the community in meeting the goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, as well as identifying opportunities to foster job growth in the “green technology” sector.
In addition, the city will partner with the Bridgeport Regional Business Council in establishing the framework for the initiative, which encompasses a wide range of points related to climate change and the environment. This partnership will tackle a number of short and long-range action items, including analysis of the City’s Brownfields, energy audits and green building standards, among others.
“Sustainability is not just an environmental planning process,” added Finch. “It is an economic and social planning process that will save the city significant amounts of money, improve the efficiency of public sector agencies, create a healthier environment for our children and our most fragile, and enhance the quality of life for all our citizens.”