We’re getting closer.
One week left until Jodi’s Jail deadline. Will she extend it? One thing is for sure, the knucklehead state bureaucrats shoving this thing down the city’s throat should build their own detention center to accommodate their insanity. The state’s rigid requirements make it impossible for the city to find an alternative site. Based on their own criteria, Governor Rell’s location for a $20 million juvenile detention center for girls on residential Virginia Avenue in the Upper East Side doesn’t qualify. (See below.)
Mayor Bill Finch and Economic Development Director Don Eversley met with the city’s state legislative delegation for more than two hours on Wednesday to kick around alternative locations. Some sites discussed include the city-owned Health Department building on East Main and a downtown parcel owned by the city bounded by Main Street, Congress and Gold, ironically across from the state detention center for boys on Water Street. Hey, Juvenile Jail Row! There was no discussion about persuading the state to incorporate a new girls addition to the existing boys detention center.
Also discussed was state-owned property in Trumbull currently occupied by the city’s Parks Department just North of Beardsley Park. I wonder what State Senator Anthony Musto thinks of that. Anthony, you out there? The city, under that scenario, would find a new location for the Parks Department.
Some privately owned sites were also discussed but the transaction process adds an impossible wrinkle, such as the old Bridgeport Machines on Lindley Street owned by an entity controlled by developer Sal DiNardo as well as the old Remington plant DiNardo controls on the East Side. That site needs lots of clean-up. Also, the old Hubbell plant property on State Street was discussed, as well as four acres on Commerce Drive, the old Connecticut Limousine site, right on the Fairfield line.
Some of these sites, such as the Health Department location, seem reasonable alternatives in light of the state’s restrictions. If the state balks, you know what I’ve already written: give the state a dose of Mark Anastasi! Yes, that’s right, fire up the city attorney. File a land use discrimination law suit–why does the city always bear the state’s burdens?–and drag it out in the hope the next governor is reasonable.
Easy for me to say. That depends on what other development plans the mayor has teed up that requires the governor’s support as she finishes out her term. Hopefully, she’ll do something nice for the city before retiring. Like accept the city’s alternate city-owned site and deed the Virginia Avenue location to the city for private investment and new tax revenue. Ah, is that wishful thinking?
Statement from the mayor:
Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch and his staff today (Jan. 27) met with the Bridgeport Legislative delegation in preparation for the opening of the upcoming legislative session next week. The entire Bridgeport delegation was invited and, Reps. Ayala, Caruso, Clemons, Grogins, Hennessy and Santiago, and Sen. Musto were in attendance, along with members of the Mayor’s staff.
The Mayor and his staff reviewed upcoming legislative priorities, and the delegation received updates on key management initiatives including, economic development, CitiStat, and sustainability efforts.
The delegation also discussed alternative sites for the proposed girls detention facility slated for 115 Virginia Avenue. A statement from the Mayor follows:
“The specifications set forth by the Department of Children and Families (DCF) for this project are so prohibitive that they rule out any potential site in Bridgeport, including the proposed 115 Virginia Avenue site. This leaves us with no current options for alternatives. We did meet today to discuss the alternatives, and agreed we do have possible alternative sites to offer, if the Governor can revisit the prohibitive specs that DCF set for the site. I have a call in to her to discuss this issue. We are all hopeful that a productive discussion will ensue, and we can avoid considering legal means to stop this process until a more suitable site is found.”
The bureaucrats that crafted the “Evaluation Criteria For Alternative Sites within the City of Bridgeport” are in la-la land. Now we know why they don’t have the guts to stick it in the ‘burbs. Check this out …
Department of Children and Families Proposed Girl’s Secure Treatment Facility
Evaluation Criteria for Alternative Sites within the City of Bridgeport Prepared for the City of Bridgeport
1. Direct and easy access to major state highways.
2. Adjacent or in close proximity to bus routes.
3. A buildable rectangle area at least 440′ by 300′. The site needs to be relatively flat in
order to allow for the proposed floor plan to be placed without major modifications.
Additionally, such buildable area must exclude:
b. Right of ways
c. Physical structures (buildings, utility equipment, other types of permanent
d. Local zoning setbacks requirements
e. Federal and/or state regulated resources/areas (including, but not limited to,
floodplains, streams, natural diversity database areas, coastal resources)
f. Other physical or regulated encumbrances
Such exclusions would tend to limit or make the development of the proposed facility
difficult, including not feasible.
4. Adequate property frontage on an existing public street.
5. The property must be served by public utilities, including domestic water, sewer,
natural gas, electrical, telephone and Cable TV, and meet or exceed the following
a. 8″ water main
b. 2″ gas line
c. On-site area to manage stormwater in a cost-effective way with zero-increase
6. The property’s soil must have an allowable bearing pressure of 3 kips per square foot
to build the proposed facility with conventional spread footings and site
improvements (i.e. paved parking).
7. The property title must be free and clear of any encumbrances that would limit or
impact the construction or use of the subject facility.
8. No acquisition costs to the State.
9. Adjacent or surrounding land uses that are stable (for example, no potential for
incompatible or inconsistent land use or zoning changes in the foreseeable future).
10. The location of the site be within a Regional Center or Neighborhood Conservation
Areas, as depicted on the current State Plan of Conservation and Development
Locational Guide Map and be consistent with local and regional plans and local
11. No portions of the property must be located within a flood zone as designated by the
12. No portions of the property or structures, must be deemed, located within, or be
adjacent to a cultural resource, such as a site or structure that is listed on the National,
State or Local Registers of Historic Places.
13. Not be subject to the Transfer Act or any Federal or State remediation standards.
Statement from Blumenthal regarding President’s speech
The following is a statement from Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, Democratic candidate for US Senate, on tonight’s State of the Union address:
“I welcome the President’s acknowledgment of the economic pain felt widely and deeply and look forward to reviewing his plans to help middle class Americans, who are still hurting economically. We must enable Americans to find and keep good jobs with fair pay. And, to protect our economic future, we need vigorous, sustained fiscal discipline that enables deficit cutting.”
Statement from congressional candidate Rick Torres
Our Founders would be mortified if they heard President Obama speak tonight. They would be shocked at the fact that the government large enough to do everything for us–and thus large enough to take everything from us–is already here. President Obama wants us to believe that as the government digs its hands into our pockets to provide us with the services we can get for ourselves, we should be grateful.
There is hardly a challenge by Republican leaders to the concept of government bureaucrats raiding our wallets so that they can spend it on our behalf the way they see fit. Why do Republican leaders shy away from arguing that the way to prosperity is through a private economy, and that the best ‘jobs program’ the government can institute is by getting out of the way, through lower taxes and deregulation? Unfortunately, too many so-called ‘moderates’ in the Republican party had voted for increased spending, opening the door for unprecedented growth of government under this president.
It is time we revert back to the original tenets of the Constitution: a small government instituted among us to secure our life and liberty–not to confiscate and redistribute the fruits of our labor. It is with this express purpose that I am running for Congress in Connecticut.