Three-Ring Purpose, Plus: More Juvenile Stuff, And We Are Family

Bridgeport … where the circus never left town.

That gem came from my old pal the late James G. Clark, writer extraordinaire for the Connecticut Post. In case there’s any doubt about Mr. Clark’s declaration you can see Mr. Barnum’s circus up close and personal at the Arena at Harbor Yard next week. (See Mr. Barnum’s release.) 

Or maybe just attend a City Council meeting. Or maybe get something shoved down your throat like a juvenile detention center. Ah yes, more tax-exempt property, this one on the Upper East Side. Or maybe file a Freedom of Information request with the city and watch as officials stampede, trip over each other, crack that whip, blow that whistle, to accommodate your request.

Yes, the bright light of transparency is alive and well in city government. Please pass the suntan lotion.

Hey, how much did it cost in legal fees to fire that guy Jacobs?

Duh, I don’t know. It’s only two or three hundred an hour for outside legal services. Who’s counting?

How about the taxpayers?


The taxpayers?

I can’t hear you.

Well, what about the bids for that building in Black Rock you guys were so hush-hush about?

What bids?

You know, the bids to do something with the building.

Bids? We didn’t have any. So what’s all the hullabaloo? Now excuse me ’cause I have another $300 lawyer at my door.

Juvenile Decision

Statement from Mayor Bill Finch:

I understand and share the neighborhood’s reluctance regarding the state’s planned development of a short-term residence for young girls. I would not have chosen this site for such a plan.

Democrats prefer to place prisons/detention centers in suburban/rural towns. Republicans prefer cities. No votes there. Paging the Upper East Side.

Family Affair

Sauda Baraka, incumbent member of the Board of Education was dumped by the Republican Party. But that’s not deterring Sauda and Maria Pereira from running on the Connecticut Working Families Party line come Nov. 3. Maria, in fact, decided to run after her daughter was subjected to nine different teachers for the same class in one year.

Some background on Sauda and Maria from Joe Dinkin, communications director of the Connecticut Working Families Party:

Sauda and Maria are both parents of Bridgeport public school children. No one knows better than a parent the types of challenges our school system is facing, and no one will fight harder to make sure our kids are getting the education they deserve.

Maria Pereira is a lifelong resident of Bridgeport and a graduate of Bridgeport’s schools. When her daughter had nine math teachers in a single year–without the school even notifying the parents–she knew she had to get involved to fix our city’s schools. Maria is committed to increasing the graduation rate, getting parents more involved in our children’s education and recruiting and retaining high quality teachers.

Sauda Baraka was elected to the Board of Education in 2005. On the Board, Sauda stands up for giving parents more of a say in our Bridgeport schools. Sauda has been a forceful advocate for parents for over 25 years. Sauda chairs the committee on increasing graduation rates on the Board of Education, and is working hard to make sure our children get the education they deserve.

They’re running to:

– Increase the graduation rate every year

– Make our schools a safe and healthy environment so students can focus on learning

– Include parents in the schools and in our children’s education

– Recruit and retain the best teachers so our kids get the education they deserve

Sauda Baraka and Maria Pereira
Sauda Baraka and Maria Pereira

From Mayor Finch:

City of Bridgeport Kicks off 2010 Census Efforts

WHAT: The City of Bridgeport will kick off its 2010 Census effort on Wednesday. Representatives from state and local government, the U.S. Census, and local business and community leaders will discuss Bridgeport ’s important role in gathering census data on hard-to-reach segments of the population.

WHO: Mayor Bill Finch; Stacey Serrano from the Office of Gov. Jodi Rell; Shante Hanks from the Office of Congressman Jim Himes; Merle Berke-Schlessel, President/CAO of United Way of Eastern Fairfield County; Karen DelVecchio, Exec. Vice Pres. of Bridgeport Regional Business Council; U.S. Census Representative Anna Maria Garcia from the Boston Regional Office; Bridgeport business, community, and faith-based leaders will attend.

WHERE: Mayor’s Conference Room, City Hall Annex, 999 Broad St .

WHEN: Wednesday, Oct. 21, 11:30 a.m. – 12 noon.


The City of Bridgeport census office is forming a Complete Count Committee to combine the strengths of local governments, community organizations, faith-based groups, schools, businesses, media, and others to ensure a complete and accurate 2010 Census. An accurate census is crucial to community planning, distribution of federal funds, and the redistricting of state and city voting districts.

News release from Mr. Barnum

RINGLING BROS. AND BARNUM & BAILEY® IS COMING to Bridgeport October 29 – November 1, 2009

All New Ringling Bros.® Production Takes Families Over The Top!

Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey® presents Over The Top, a wacky and whimsical circus spectacular where audiences will experience maniacal mayhem as Ringmaster Chuck Wagner and clown eccentric Tom Dougherty compete for control of a magical top hat that brings to life their fantastical imaginations. From the silliness evoked by the clown to the stupendous spectacle conjured by the Ringmaster, Over the Top provides excitement for the whole family. Dogs fly, Asian elephants skip, hop and groove and one courageous man stands eye to eye with a pack of powerful tigers, all at the 138th Edition of The Greatest Show On Earth® which plays October 29 through November 1, 2009 at Arena at Harbor Yard in Bridgeport.

From the renowned Cossacks’ unbelievable equestrian stunts to the Flying Caceres high-altitude feats on an enormous double-decker trapeze, the 138th Edition of Ringling Bros. will take daredevil thrills to new extremes. Circus celebrities will help rev-up the motorcycle madness featuring one cycle on a high wire and action packed Globe of Steel full of cycles too. Audiences will flip their lids as this Ringling Bros. circus really goes Over the Top!

Arrive early and meet our incredible animal and human performers. Starting one hour before show time, families can join Ringling Bros. athletic performers in getting CircusFit® and learning circus skills at the All Access Pre-show hosted by Bridgeport ’s own Alex Barney. This event is free for everyone with a ticket to the show.

Ringling Bros. and Barnum and Bailey performance schedule – Arena at Harbor Yard:

Thursday, October 29 7:30 p.m.

Friday, October 30 10:30 a.m. (no pre show event) and 7:30 p.m.

Saturday, October 31 10:30 a.m., 2:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. (Halloween)

Sunday, November 1 1:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m.

Tickets are $90 (Circus Celebrity which includes a one-of-a-kind experience), $50 (Front Row), $45 (VIP), $25, $20 and $15. Prices do not include a $.50 per ticket City Tax. All seats are reserved. Tickets are available by calling Ticketmaster at 1-800-745-3000 or on-line at For group rates call 203-345-2307. Tickets are also available at Arena at Harbor Yard Click It or Ticket Box Office, 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. weekdays and evenings and weekends when an event is scheduled. Call the Click It or Ticket Box Office for more details at 203-345-2400.



  1. This detention center is a sneak attack on Bridgeport. I checked with people I know in the administration and found that the leadership of Bridgeport was not aware of this new jail until the day of the governor’s visit to the city.
    Why does the state feel they have the right to dump this on Bridgeport?
    Why does this city have to take on all the social problems of Fairfield County and the state?
    Why is there no regard for the quality of life for people that live in Bridgeport?
    Are we considered lesser beings when compared to the people that live in the suburbs?
    Let’s just take the 30ft pile of ground-up concrete that has sat on this site for the past 2 years. For 2 years the people living in this area were subjected to concrete dust every time it was windy. Their homes were covered in concrete dust and it even entered their dwellings. Did the State care? NO. I called DEP to report this and was promised something would be done. Something was done; they are going to remove the pile and build a prison. Big deal.
    Musto when you were running I walked the neighborhood with you and since you won you don’t even know me. You have acted like we never met. You have never come back to the neighborhood and now you stick us with this potential nightmare.
    I will be waiting for you when you start to campaign again only this time I will be with your opponent be it another Democrat or a Republican. You are done.
    To the governor, build this damned jail in the suburbs; it’s time that they start assuming some of the social burdens you politicians like to shove down our throats.

  2. I read the Connecticut post comments by soon to be ex-senator Musto and he really does not have a clue. Sure there will be short-term construction jobs. I will bet most of the workers will not be from Bridgeport. We will then be stuck with this detention center in the middle of a residential neighborhood. Hey Musto why not build this in your neighborhood?
    To Mayor Finch maybe there is nothing you can really do to stop this project but you could come out a lot stronger in your opposition to this project.
    Do you think that having 47 to 53 percent of your grand list as tax exempt is excessive? Yeah I know we get Pilot money from the State but that does not cover the real value of what these properties would bring in a real taxes.
    Damn it stop burying us with all of these social agencies that relieve the suburbs of their social responsibilities.

  3. What’s the big deal? So a brand new detention center is to be built in the upper east side. So what. What are we really mad at? Probably because our mayor had no clue that this was going to happen. Now that’s a damn shame.

    The juvie center in downtown New Haven contributes to the residential neighborhood in which it was built. It’s an attractive facility and has zero negative impact.

    Juvenile correction facilities simply cannot be placed way out in the sticks. The troubled youth served by such an entity require considerable social services to remediate their criminal behavior. Therefor, it is important that a juvie center be located at a site that is convenient to the professionals who are trained to provide such services.

    This is important. If we can correct these kids at an early age we all benefit in myriad ways.

    Just think. If such a facility were available to Anna; maybe, just maybe …

  4. Yahooy; Make it convenient for the professionals who work with these kids? Does that mean they all take public transportation and need to be close to a bus stop? What residential neighborhood in Downtown New Haven? I am sure that facility is not in the middle of a residential neighborhood.
    You are missing the point. This is another non-taxpaying social program that is being put in Bridgeport. What’s the matter, the professionals can’t drive to the suburbs?
    In this case I can’t blame the mayor. This was a sneak attack by the governor.
    Maybe this facility would be better if it were located at the Chimneys in Black Rock? Would you have the same cavalier attitude then?
    While it may be important it can be done elsewhere. Right now the poor professionals working in this program are traveling to Niantic. In all probability these poor professionals are driving state cars and using state gasoline to get to work.
    I have an idea, let’s have a pity party for these poor professionals. Maybe we can have it at your house?

  5. I’m missing the point???

    The point is the state isn’t building a warehouse to shelve young girls who break the law and forget about them. They are building a facility where these troubled children can get help.

    Bridgeport is centrally located enough to be convenient to the people who will travel there to provide the services these kids need. Whether you like it or not, if we put this place out in the sticks, the kids probably would not get the specialized help they need.

    I was in Niantic Monday shopping at a used-book barn. I passed the female correction facility to which you refer. It looks like a community college.

    You make it sound like the neighborhood will be inundated with dangerous youth threatening the peace and security of the surrounding community. I don’t think so.

    If this place even remotely resembles the Niantic facility, we would be well served.

  6. Another thing.

    Anything “new” in this dysfunctional berg has got to be a considerable improvement.

    So long as Phinch is mayor we will never see anything new come in.

  7. Look, these professionals have to travel to wherever this facility is located. It’s not like they are traveling by horse and buggy. The point here is that they keep putting these facilities in Bridgeport. How much harder would it be to take this facility and put it in Trumbull, Monroe, Shelton, Milford or Stratford? All of these towns are on major state roads. Why do we have to bear the burden of all of the region’s social ills? What do we get out of it, a warm fuzzy feeling? I can tell you I don’t get a warm fuzzy feeling when I write a check for my tax bill. I don’t get a warm fuzzy feeling when I learn that my area is averaging 13 burglaries a month. I don’t get a warm fuzzy feeling when I see 9 armed robberies in less than a year in my area.
    The point is that we get a small donation from the state for these ta- exempt properties and we pick up the rest of the costs in high property taxes because of all of these social non properly taxed properties


    Here is some FREE advice that can help you look good to the Upper East Side constituency. Offer up currently owned City properties not in a highly residential neighborhood and swap with the state. Now, that’s a way to stop it from being built on Virginia Ave …

    But I guess none of your staffers are smart enough to suggest that …

  9. So yahooy, you don’t think there should be a public review process for such a large project when it’s smack in the middle of a residential section of the city? Or are you just baiting TC?

    Love how the CT Post has the facility in the “North End.” It’s a fool’s errand, but one of my lifelong dreams is that my hometown newspaper would someday figure out Bridgeport’s neighborhoods. Maybe in another lifetime.

    1. Bob,

      You’re right about a geography lesson for the CT Post.
      They don’t know their ass from their elbow, or the east end from the east side, and all around the town.

  10. Rell, Finch and Musto are Punks.

    Finch was a deciding vote for the Boy’s Juvie Jail on the waterfront. Here’s an idea. Make the juvie jail a co-ed facility. They have a 56-bed facility that is never near capacity and since the juvie court is there it would cut down on transportation costs for all concerned. One wing for boys and one wing for girls. They could even have parietal hours in the dorm. Two less expensive solutions for Virginia Avenue would be to buy the former Terry Building on Congress and Water for $500k and convert a couple of floors into housing. The girls could jaywalk across the street to court and class. Take the top floor of the Holiday Inn for housing and give the girls room service with a guard on the floor in lockdown. Cheaper than $15 million.

  11. Yeah. I’m baiting TC a bit. I certainly think that if Bridgeport is to be the comare juvie site there are certainly SEVERAL more viable sites around town.

    And, yes. I certainly think that a public hearing should be made before the Governor makes a unilateral decision with no local input. That, my friends, is outrageous.

    I’m actually about to have lunch at Vazzi’s today. I took a drive around to see what all the hoopla is about. Virginia Avenue certainly is one of the most well-kept streets in town and it is, indeed, a very nice neighborhood. Not exactly a prime spot for a clink.

    I spoke with a lawyer in Milford who is involved with the site selection. He says the detention center is to be placed deep into open property behind Virginia Avenue. The prospectus shows the facility to be landscaped in such a way that all that will be evident will be the long entrance driveway.

    TC brought up the women’s prison in Niantic. That place is smack dab in the center of some of the most expensive shoreline property in the state. I’m not kidding. That facility looks a lot like a community college campus.

    Of course, the neighborhood grew around the Niantic facility. Its origin in the early 1900s was the home for unwed mothers (no offense, Anna). My point here is the presence of a maximum security prison did not affect the surrounding community.

    I think we will see the same here in Bridgeport.

  12. Sounds like yahooy has spent some time up in “romantic” Niantic visiting anna, in between trysts at the Liberty Rock. Anna said “Niantic, not yahooy,” was the hardest time she ever served.

  13. Here is a question for the governor and for Musto. How many people from Bridgeport were on the selection committee for this detention center? Let me guess, 000000.

  14. I blame Musto as he was chairmen of the committee that deals with this issue. I spoke to Ed Gomes at the canceled governor’s press conference and he stated he learned about this the same day.
    It was Musto that was blowing his own horn on this one and no one else.

  15. The Gossip of The Rialto!

    Town Committee accuses Anthony Musto of being a “Horatio Hornblower” in his support of Virginia Avenue facility. Gomes left out in the cold. Clemons can’t be found. Hennessy playing with himself. Caruso cries out in painful silence. Zeke sneaks out of controversy in a switch with Mitch. Ayala no holla back guy. Grogins has a take no prisoners attitude on this one, happy that it isn’t in Black Rock.

    1. “Grogins … happy that it isn’t in Black Rock.” Ain’t that the truth. Not in MY backyard. Okay in someone else’s? Such dedication to the well-being of the children in Bridgeport. It makes a little bit of sense to shift correctional philosophy toward rehabilitation and away from punishment. Putting offenders behind bars? Sure, no argument from me. Helping youthful offenders find a more fruitful direction in their lives is not coddling them. It’s more practical than simply warehousing them ’til their sentence has been completed.

      Oh, right, I forgot: it’s not in the Banshee’s back yard …

      1. *** Miss Know-it-all seems to have all the answers to all of Bpt’s problems and then some! flub behind the web mask with a travelers English to Spanish pocket-sized book. Definitely needs a back to reality Bpt special tuneup. *** Clock’s a ticking ’cause you can fool people some of the time but not forever! ***

  16. Señor Mojo

    Hijo de puta de su madre, usted tiene tres ataques: usted es obeso, mal olor, y sufren de mal aliento. No hay necesidad de infligir todo sobre el resto de nosotros.

  17. The property at the end of Brewster St. next to Fayerweather Yacht Club would be a fine location for the Female Prison. Soothing waterfront views. Possibility for Sailing lessons in seamanship etc. Sounds like a win-win location to me!


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