Updating The Shaky City Budget, Plus: Shays-Himes Box On The Bridge

Mayors live and die by their budgets.

In 1971, Mayor Hugh Curran responded to a budget deficit by instituting a separate mini-tax in an election year. He was defeated by Nick Panuzio, the first Republican elected in more than 40 years. In 1988, with the city’s fund balance freefalling beyond control, Democrat Tom Bucci appealed to the state for help. The state allowed the city to use its good credit to go into the bond market to raise a cool $50 million to erase the red ink and leave a little in reserve. For the privilege of the state assistance, the city was shackled with a state oversight board whose state mandated charge was to make sure city budgets were in balance.

The next year, Bucci was defeated by Republican Mary Moran, first woman mayor in history. In 1991, the city’s budget blew again and this time the response from the mayor was a federal bankruptcy petition. Wall Street, throwing a fit, revoked the city’s credit worthiness, leaving the city unable to raise capital for road, bridge and school improvements. The state opposed Moran’s court filing. A federal judge threw out the bankruptcy petition.

In November of 1991 Democrat Joe Ganim defeated Moran and the city enjoyed a 10-year period of tax and financial stability. The Financial Review Board packed its bags in 1995. Key to Ganim’s success was negotiating millions of dollars in union concessions, including zero pay increases and unpaid furloughs, and a governor, Lowell Weicker, heavily involved in making sure the city survived. Under Weicker’s direction, the state bought Beardsley Zoo, bought Beardsley Park, took over maintenance of the train station, built a new Housatonic Community College, moved the Troop G State Police barracks from Westport to downtown, and more.

Ganim got a lot done for the city. His downfall was doing too much for himself.

John Fabrizi took over in 2003, fought his own personal demons, and decided not to seek reelection in 2007.

Bill Finch, promising to cut taxes $600, ended up raising them by roughly $600 in part because Fabs’ revenue projections ran short. Finch, nine months into his mayoralty, has a mess on his hands that threatens action of the Bucci bailout 20 years ago. Overtime is chaotic, revenues this budget cycle appear overly optimistic, the Steelpointe development projected to generate $4.5 million this year is teetering from a bleeding economy.

The Bridgeport City Council met in special session Monday night, in what several observers said was a waste of time, to hear city bean counters update them on the city’s flagging boot finder program for motor vehicle tax collection. Finch and City Council President Tom McCarthy, enjoying themselves at the Democratic National Convention, did not attend. 

How bad are finances? Really bad, from what I’m told. City Councilman Bob Walsh, after listening to the bureaucratic froth, got right to the point: what gives with Steelpointe? Should the city remove the $4.5 million it budgeted this year for Steelpointe revenues? Economic Development official Ed Lavernoich suggested that some of the money could come in, but not the entire amount. That raises an interesting question. If there’s a change to the the Land Disposition Agreement approved by the City Council in 2007, must it come back for legislative approval? It should.

If the city cannot make good on the Steelpointe loot, the budget will blow.

Let’s hope for the best. Maybe we can borrow some of it from Barack.

Hey, maybe OIB’s legendary guitar slinger Bridgeport Kid is ready to release his new tune Bridgeport Finance Blues. He will appear with Nardy Boy on Wednesday from 6 to 8 p.m. at Chef’s Table, 1561 Post Road, Fairfield and also with Nardy Boy on Thursday evening at 10 at the Green Room, 3442 Fairfield Ave. Bridgeport. No cover for either performance. Support The Kid and spread the word about OIB. I’ll urge Joe Celli to show up and throw tomatoes.

Bridge Fight

The fight between Congressman Christopher Shays of Bridgeport and his Democratic opponent Jim Himes has officially begun. What if you throw a press conference and your opponent crashes the gig? That’s what happened late this morning when Himes and officials from the mayor’s office and City Council used the dormant Congress Street Bridge as a symbol of Shays’ lack of local priorities.

As Himes and company finished speaking to the media for the scheduled press event on the East Side of the bridge, Shays showed up to say if it’s a priority for the mayor’s office and City Council, it should be placed on top of the list by local officials such as the Seaview Avenue corridor project and intermodel transportation center downtown, projects Shays has helped on a federal level.

It was the first time Shays has ever crashed an opponent’s press conference, prompting Himes to wonder, hey, does this mean I can attend your press conferences?

Shays said he showed up because Himes was using the bridge as a divisive issue and distorting the facts. They also had a mini-debate with the media present regarding timelines to leave Iraq. Himes has been critical of Shays’ support of the war. Shays supports a timeline pullout that begins late 2009.

The Congress Street Bridge was also an issue during the city’s mayoral campaign last year. The Fabrizi administration received a state commitment for a portion of the funding, but the city is millions short of the number for a new bridge. The closed bridge cuts off access from the East Side to downtown, forcing vehicle use of other bridges.

Himes supporters were thrilled that Shays showed up to his press event. Maybe we can call it their first official debate. Stay tuned. Himes news release below:


Democratic Candidate calls for a new focus on priorities here at home

BRIDGEPORT, CT: Jim Himes, Democratic Candidate for Congress in the Fourth Congressional District, appeared with Bridgeport city council members in front of the Congress Street Bridge in Bridgeport today to highlight his campaign call for a refocusing of priorities away from Iraq and towards investing in Connecticut. The Congress Street Bridge has been stuck in the open position for years.

“For years, just like this bridge, Chris Shays has been stuck in the wrong position on the issues that matter to our families,” said Himes. “The choice in this election is crystal clear: we can either continue down the road of the last eight years of failed Bush-Shays economic policies, or we can start to refocus on the priorities that really matter to our families – finding energy solutions, giving families middle-class tax relief, and making sure all our children have access to a quality education. We need to change who we send to Congress if we want to see real change on Congress Street, and in all of our communities.”

“Chris Shays is paying more attention to Iraq than Connecticut.” said Michael Sachse, Himes’ Communications Director. “Every election season, we hear lots of excuses from Chris Shays, but we never see any results. Jim Himes is going to Washington to get things done.”



  1. If the city finances are so bad why are all of our leaders out of town? I know they are at the Convention. I would think that the problems would have been discussed and solutions have been found no matter what the solutions are. It is time for the people in charge to start telling us the truth or better yet tell us the problems and offer suggestions on how these problems can be solved.
    This is a rough figure but there is $45 million in unpaid car taxes waiting to be collected. Right now we have a bunch of lazy Marshalls cruising downtown looking for tax cheats.
    Let me get this straight:
    1. We know who the tax cheats are.
    2. We have an address for most of these cheats.
    3. We have a a make, model and vin number for these cars.
    Why are we not going to the address for these autos and taking the cars? Let’s use the community policing unit for this as they do nothing as it now stands. Maybe we can hire retired cops and deputize them and pay them a percentage of what they recover. I just can’t believe that we cannot find or get these tax cheats. If we could recover 50% of what we are owed that rounds out to $22.5 million.
    It is time for the council to get off their collective asses and act like the governing body they are supposed to be. They BS each other blame the mayor and offer no help. We have another year with this group of do-nothings and then let’s get rid of them and get people in office that will govern.

  2. A comment about the financial state of affairs. WHO DID THIS? Don’t blame Bush and the economy for all of our local ills. Yes there is a trickle-down effect but I think we need to place the blame and the responsibility for our local mess at the feet of our solid democratic council and past mayors. Let’s also include the self-service likes of Sherwood and Feeney. They all deserve to be strung up Mussolini-style for the irreparable damage done to our community, our children, the poor and elderly.

    Stop whining about anyone’s sexual orientation and stop looking to take credit for something good. Drive down our dilapidated streets, look at the number of homes for sale, try to find an employer who’s hiring.

    Why not require our local elected officials to divulge personal financial wealth? Why not hire a firm to collect past due amounts from ANY tax cheat and give them 50%! I like that incentive.

    Council, Mayor, Dept Heads…time to take personal responsibility for the failures of your actions and non-actions. Look to the people for forgiveness and tender your resignations.

    Happy Monday!

  3. The city is in a crisis and the mayor is still creating new jobs for his friends? This is on the city web:

    Administrative Coordinator (City Council)
    The Civil Service Commission of the City of Bridgeport will hold an open competitive examination for Administrative Coordinator. The date, time and location of the examination will be announced to the applicants for examination at a later date.
    APPLICATION: Each candidate must complete and submit an application for examination on a form supplied by the Commission. Application forms, to be accepted, must be delivered personally by, or bear a postmark not later than, September 4, 2008 and can be obtained from the office of the Civil Service Commission.
    SALARY RANGE: $39,156 – $48,293
    DUTIES: Responsible for daily operations of the City Council’s legislative services department relating to provisioning services for the City Council’s constituents, and related work as required; performed under professional direction.
    REQUIREMENTS: Associates degree with major coursework in business

    Rumor is that this position was specially created for the city hall greeter.
    Must be nice!!!
    Employees were just laid off at the health dept for snitching on a higher-up’s family member. And now this job is posted? WOW

  4. Lennie:
    Thanks a lot for the historical review. For those of us who are newcomers to the City, this information is very helpful. I just wish I had it before I invested in Bridgeport eight years ago.

    Wondering and Independent Soul:
    I have to agree with everything you’ve so carefully and properly written. – I don’t believe we should blame the mess on the mayor (albeit the $600.00 tax credit). Early on he recognized the problem and tried to do something about it during the budget review and approval process. But the “non taxpaying public” appeared on the scene with their placards, and their foot pounding, led by their patron saint, Max Medina, and had their way with the budget committee and the Council. – Time for a reality check!

  5. Reality check is that the Mayor is just out for what is good for him and his team. He is not looking out for the best interests of the city! Why else would he cut library and school health while hiring friends who make double the laid-off employees? And why would he keep the same people in place that created the budget mess? Come on now. Wake up people!

  6. I know Ganim is in jail for what he did but I can at least say he was a good mayor and he was very popular in Bridgeport. Mayor Fabs was a joke and he did nothing. Mayor Finch is trying but he is starting to be a joke too. I think this city would have been better off with Ganim than the rest. Like I said he was very popular and if he was to come out of prison and run for mayor he would win that’s just how popular he was.

  7. Can someone on the council tell me why we need an administrative coordinator for the common council? This job will pay between $39,000+ up to $48,000+. As I see it the council should be able to do their own work. The job requirements as listed in #3 are as follows “Responsible for daily operations of the City Council’s legislative services department relating to provisioning services for the City Council’s constituents, and related work as required; performed under professional direction.”
    We are in the process of laying off the nuts and bolts workers and we keep making up new positions for political cronies. In the history of this city we have never had this position and council people were able to do their own provisioning of services. What a crock of baloney this is. Just who the hell does the council think they are? If the job is to much for you resign and let people that want to do the job and want to make the tough decisions take your places.

  8. “I know Ganim is in jail for what he did but I can at least say he was a good mayor …” a la donj.

    It is this type of thinking (or lack of thinking) that perpetuates the mess we are in. Most of the people who vote, like donj, vote blindly. An ill-informed lot who does what they are told.

    donj … Ganim was not a good mayor. He was, indeed, a handsome, popular mayor. He was or is also a thief. Steel Point is stalled today because of what Ganim did.

    donj … if you are going to advocate the relative merits of candidates for office, I implore you to explore both sides of the issue and vote your mind, if you have one.

    Blind loyalties, such as yours, has given us Tedesco, Mandanici, Bucci, Ganim, The Nose and now Finch. Each legacy has pushed us further into despair.

  9. Con Filardi,
    The key IS investing in Bridgeport. You invested in Bridgeport six years ago absent strong land-use and regulatory policies. The land is perfectly situated and will be so forever. However, one of the major root causes of the budget crisis is that the grand list is comprised of about 47% of properties classified as tax exempt. That was after the Fabrizi administration removed over $100 million of formerly tax-exempt properties which increased the annual revenue to the city by about $2.4 million. In 2005 a major effort was launched to get new land-use policies steeped in strong economic analysis. The job is 2/3rds done. Better but not done. The Master Plan is now done based on strong economic analyses, but the new Map and regs are still a work in process. The City has to grow its taxable portion of its grand list and that needs more people like you to invest.

    The Ganim Administration did not invest in the proper planning and land-use policy development that would make investors confident that if they invested in property they would know that the area nearby was zoned correctly and add value to that investment. They resorted to the “let’s make a deal” philosophy that worked on the short term with the development of the arena and ballfield and tear-down of distressed properties by putting up black wrought iron fences all over town where those buildings came down. However, those actions only exacerbated the lack of revenue to the general fund. The Arena and Ballfield are tax exempt. The properties that lie vacant are taxed less than those with buildings. The budget crises happen more frequently in Bridgeport because the City cannot run basic operations on a 17+/-square mile jurisdiction that only collects revenue from 53% of its grand list. It isn’t a short-term fix that is needed in the city, it is the long-term economic growth of the city that is critical. We are in another short-term cyclical crisis because the long-term policies and procedures are not in effect to gain the confidence of the private sector development community. Chicken and egg yes, but the short-term decisions need to make sure that the long-term progress is not hampered. That is why tonite’s cancellation of another Planning and Zoning Commission due to lack of quorum is so disappointing. It is those new developments that will increase the tax base and bring in the revenue that is essential for the City to run its basic operations. That Commission needs a full complement of 12 members. It only has 8 I think and that situation has to be resolved immediately.

  10. Ganim was a bum. Please, understand that. Ganim was a Bum. What did he do for the City – To quote Lennie’s writeup: “Key to Ganim’s success was negotiating millions of dollars in union concessions, including zero pay increases and unpaid furloughs…”

    Hell of an Administrator. That is why the City is no better because of him. He did nothing to secure long-term growth and progress. He saved the City money by breaking the backs of the people who are supposed to be inspired and motivated to work here. How many times can you kick your employees, and still expect to get an honest day’s worth of work from them? Sure people choose to work for the City, just like people choose to live in the City. That doesn’t mean that the employees should be kicked around, underappreciated and dumped on. More importantly, you can not ask underpaid employees to give back more because you cannot balance your own checkbook.

    The budget is bad. No kidding. Is it the employees’ fault, or the people in charge of the purse strings? The City keeps talking about Overtime budgets being so bad. Were they properly funded initially? Are the people in charge smart enough to run a department while keeping in budget? Are those same people smart enough to devise a realistic budget under the constraints of the City’s present economic situation? Don’t blame the employees.

    It is the elected/appointed politicos that are causing these problems. Figure out how to elect good, smart, dynamic people, and say “No” to the special-interest groups and cronies.

  11. countdown #11

    Nice comments…

    A full complement on city boards would be great if the complement was competent. I’m afraid there just aren’t that many intelligent dems to fill the bill. Share the scene with repubs or independent? OMG, what a thought!!!

    I just took one of my many tours of downtown. McLevy Hall, the old M&F bank and old City Savings bank are city owned. Can we all agree that the city can’t maintain its properties? What about getting city and boe agencies out of there and create a small redevelopment agency and use tif (tax increment financing) to find a developer to restore these incredible structures? Stamford has done it with the old town hall. Is it too far physically for our econ devel squad and finance wizard to travel or is it just too far mentally for them to think of something other than how to protect their jobs?

    B’port need a revival from the ground up! Throw out the incompetents either elected or on the payroll.

  12. independent Soul; I agree we need competent people on all the boards and commissions. I must say that the boards are made up of all parties per the charter. The party in power does get more representatives than the party not in power.

  13. Speaking of the Financial Review Board, perhaps the city administration needs to revisit the Ukeles Study of City Government which came from the FRB. I agree we need more industry rather than luxury housing. “Through Industry We Prosper.”

  14. Wondering,
    The city of Bridgeport claims there are 56,671 vehicles in the city of Bridgeport with delinquent taxes. The 2005 estimated census indicates that there are 132,071 residents in the city of which 36,009 are under age 17. That leaves approximately 96,000 residents old enough to own a car or more than one delinquent car per every two residents or one per household.
    Do you really believe that to be the case?
    Even more so, the city believes that there 23,987 vehicles 1990 model year and older that owe over $15 million in back taxes. And the city is owed another $14 million on 14,847 for automobiles dated 1991 – 1995.
    The city has their names and addresses but they don’t live there. The cars don’t exist.
    The problem with the city is that they have garbage for data. They know that they have garbage for data but they continue to claim this is the case so that they can tow vehicles as the only evidence of them actually doing something about back taxes.
    If they clean up their records the grand list will shrink. And we don’t want that to happen.
    Tell the city to go after Uncle Sal. Quit picking on the little guy. Quit spreading lies to cover up for your incompetence.

  15. Con,
    “Non-taxpaying public?” Just who are you referring to here? And please be very specific.
    Are you picking on the school kids? You are right, they don’t pay taxes. Please excuse me.
    Who else are you talking about Con? Pray tell.
    I am sure Sal DiNardo and the sleaze bag DiNardo Enterprises wasn’t there. And I am sure David D’Addario wasn’t there. How about all of those businesses that owe back personal property taxes? Were they there?
    Wondering, you don’t need sheriffs or retired police, Con can spot a tax cheat a mile away.

  16. Thanks for posting about the new position that has been created for “Administrative Coordinator” for the city council. I have tried to bring this issue up a couple of times on other days here on OIB but nobody seemed to care. I think it is terrible that little employees are being laid off and new positions are being created. How can the council allow this? I always thought that the city clerk’s office handled paperwork for the council. And if this position hasn’t been approved yet by the council, WHY is it posted already?

  17. Countdown,
    You are rambling. What is the problem, pray tell? You seem to be saying Bridgeport’s too small and Bridgeport’s too poor. Bridgeport has too many properties that are non-taxable (but let’s be honest; these are the city, state and federal buildings, the parks [Seaside, Beardsley, 90 Acres, Pleasure Beach, etc.], all of the new schools that we are building and taking down taxable properties) and not those owned by non-profits. We know how some people like to spin this in a way as to blame others.
    And all of Bridgeport’s problems will be fixed by rewriting the land-use regs and by appointing people to boards and commissions.
    Did you hear, Midtown Miami, Rex Midtown, RCI Marine, or whatever name they will go by has taken a walk on the LDA and is laughing at the economic development officials in the city of Bridgeport?
    The city bent over backwards for them but when they realized how pathetic our economic development efforts are they keep demanding more. Let’s fix the problem and fix the blame and let’s not make up pitiful excuses for departments that are not getting their jobs done.

  18. wondering: I didn’t post re the unfilled places on boards and commissions. I know there is minority representation. My comment was there are obviously incompetent people out there in the parties so why not search for some independents and see if it makes a difference in how we are governed?

    flubadub: Any person who believes the city can survive with one tax base is still living in B’port in the ’40s. We were all industry and when it left, we died! We just don’t know it and won’t lie down. Stamford will feel the crunch in coming years as high tech and financial houses discover they can be anywhere. We need a mix to survive, and what’s wrong with luxury housing along the water? The idea seems to work all over the world. Oh excuse me, this is B’port, home of the small-minded and corrupt politicians.

  19. Before any unions give up anything they need to demand justification for these new non-union positions that are replacing lower-paid union positions!

  20. Why would the City bring back a worker caught stealing thousands of dollars from taxpayers? Who is guilty of numerous felonies. My guess is to protect those who are just as guilty as him or even more. These scum-sucking leaches and parasites should be brought to justice. But they are so many and so powerful and when it comes to COVER UP they wrote the book! Until this practice stops the City will go nowhere. Talk all you want about Police O.T. The budget at the Board of Ed. Collecting back taxes. Until we weed out all those who have been feeding on the Taxpayers for years our City will be Dead In The Water! Integrity, honor, self-respect, justice; where is it these days? We need it NOW in Bpt. Yeah you can talk all you want about The Cigar Smoking Guido at the Transfer Station. He is not the problem. He is a little fish. A bottom-feeder. Let’s go for some Big Fish. Take your skirts off and put your pants on! Or are you protecting yourself or someone else? It is time to separate the Men from the parasites and leaches! Let’s see how fast you can run now. Guess what? If you are guilty you should be scared. The time has come!!!

    That is not too hard to see.
    Grin reaper — Sell the Black Rock Arts non-Center, replace our horse riding patrol with a goldfish bowl, with fish which we can all see them, and they alone can survive underwater.
    Hey Grin, would you like to buy my house?
    What drove us to this situation? I think high pensions, then they come back and become consultants and show others how greed works, then the free medical benefits, for their families as well and the 20 years and out stuff, a lot of overtime payments which is reflected in permanent pension payments and hidden scams which the Feds will soon reveal and eliminate.
    I won’t mention the BOE.

    I have 50 years here and I’m soon to be out of the town “where the circus never left.”

  22. Good Luck “Black Rockin”. I’m with you. If you know of someone who’ll buy my house I’m out of here too.

    And “Grin Reaper” if you don’t know who I’m referring to (#17) I suggest that you take your head out of the sand. I’m not about to draw pictures for you.

  23. Fed Up: Could it be that the council is a rubber stamp for the administration? Could it be that a majority of the council is employed or has relatives employed by the city and they can’t rock the boat and they can’t protect our interests?
    Other than Bob Walsh and Jimmy Holloway and AmyMarie Vizzo-Paniccia who else stands up to the administration? No one.

  24. What’s the matter Con? You’ll use all of the catch phrases but not be totally honest with your answer? Comments like yours are what gives Bridgeport a bad name.

  25. It is amazing that donj and summer wind actually think they know what they are talking about. They are both, along with City Kitty, so stupid that they would blindly follow the party line and elect anybody they are told to elect. Can you imagine being so dumb that you think it is safe to say that Ganim would be reelected?

    Please, all three of you, stay home on election day.

  26. Independent soul,
    At one of those many Master Plan workshops held last year, it was mentioned that an draft Request for Development Proposals was written for the Annex, the air rights over McLevy, the M&F Building, the BOE building, the Trefz parking garage and I think the air rights over the train station. If it was to be successful it would have to be issued in partnership with the Trefz Corporation because Ganim sold that building to Trefz many years ago. I don’t know if the Finch administration can find that proposal but if they dust it off they could see what interest is out there for office/first floor retail. I saw the ad that the Finch team has a request out for a consulting team to figure out how to consolidate all of the city offices into one or more locations so that many of the non-taxable city properties can be put out for private development. The bottom line is that to grow revenue, the taxable portion of the tax base has to grow.

    Grin Reaper: Yup, in my opinion Bridgeport is too small, and too developed in the neighborhoods to grow the tax base as much as it’s needed to generate sufficient revenue for basic city services. The plethora of regional facilities that Bridgeport has does not contribute to the tax base comparable to what is happening in say, New Haven. DeStefano has been in office for more than a dozen years. Several years ago, he arrived at an agreement with Yale and the Hospitals that those institutions now pay a significant amount, in the many millions, I think, on top of the Payment in Lieu of Taxes revenue that comes from the State.

    I agree that the expenditure side of the budget has to be lean and mean. My only point is that the revenue side needs strong strategic economic development savvy.

  27. Yes indeed Bridgeporters, that is exactly what Mayor DeStefano did in New Haven and it was successful. If people are anticipating industry making a comeback on the east coast, you can forget about that. Industry has relocated to the south and overseas where labor and taxes are much cheaper. The residents of bordering towns that use your facilities and the universities bear no financial liability to the city. Perhaps Mayor Finch and his economic development team should meet with DeStefano (and Mayor Cicilline of Providence) for advice and strategies. I’m amazed at Providence, I have a friend that teaches there and over the years, I’ve seen that they’ve done wonders in that city. Bridgeport has a lot to offer and it’s time that to take advantage of your assets. My ultimate wish is that DeStefano becomes our next governor, he’d do a far better job than the current one. Most importantly, he would be much more sympathetic to the plight of urban cities.

  28. Typical Shays the man with no class this campaign is heating up and there are well over 40 thousand democrats in the city and that will make Shays get his pink slip come November. Obama/Biden ’08 Jim Himes ’08 Musto ’08.

  29. yahooy, there you go again. Just because people have different opinions than you, you automatically label us as stupid. I never said anything about wanting to vote for Joe Ganim if he ran for mayor again. No way will I stay home on election day, you have to be kidding. And by the way I thought you said you are voting for Obama, well, I guess that puts us all on the same page.

  30. Meatball thank you for your posting #23. There’re many people watching to see if Finch has the nerve to bring Tony D back to the Transfer Station. You are 100% right. How can the employees and unions be asked to take furloughs and 0 increases when a thief like Tony gets his job back? He most definitely has the goods on someone or he would be long gone. Why do you think he was out on a 2-month paid summer vacation? Because he threatened to rat out people in high positions. They kept him out all summer trying to figure out what to do with him and hoping that things would calm down and they could sneak him back to work.

    If Bridgeport is going to get thru this then everyone must work together and no stone can be left unturned. And get rid of the deadweight starting with DePrimo. There is absolutely NO reason to bring him back. His no-show job pays $60,000 before the phony overtime and kickbacks. Take that money and put it towards the deficit.

    There are many people watching this situation. Mayor Finch will have a riot on his hands if he allows this thief to return to work. And that’s not a threat it’s a promise.

  31. I am watching the democratic convention and it’s a message of hope I am so pleased that Bridgeport will head to the polls in November in record numbers to vote for change. Obama Obama Obama!!!

  32. I felt like tears were coming down my eyes from his speech, my mind felt blown away. Now I really know I will be voting straight Democrat come November. These Republicans are for the rich and not for anybody in my type of class. Dems are for the middle class I’m voting for Obama Musto Himes and Auden it’s time to take back our country.

  33. Change is what I will be voting and that’s all Democrats: Obama Himes Musto Grogins. To all the Republicans on here I suggest you find another blog up in New Canaan or Darien if that’s what you call it. As you can see this is a Democratic blog and if you split your vote for a Republican you should be ashamed of yourself. It’s a Democratic night and a Democratic blog. If this were a Republican blog, Lennie would have no support on here and that’s a fact not an opinion. Obama Biden ’08.

  34. Chris Shays feels the heat. I guess the main problem about the Congress Street Bridge is that it isn’t located in Iraq.

    Well Congressman Shays since you got back from Iraq how was the ride over the Khazir Bridge??? The Bridge was destroyed and got fixed MIGHTY quickly. I guess it’s a real priority for people to get from Northern Iraq to Turkey. Was that a Priority for Mayor Finch? I don’t think so. obr.gcnpublishing.com/articles/aug04e.htm

    Shays is evil and must be stopped. I urge you all in Bridgeport to mobilize and take action. Vote Shays out and elect Jim Himes to Congress. Shays has the blood of dead soldiers on his hands. Shays doesn’t want all of the Hispanics and Blacks from the East End and East Side to come Downtown. That’s a Fact!!!

  35. I’m watching it too. I was so impressed with Caroline Kennedy. It’s a great night for Democrats everywhere! Go Obama and Biden!!!!!!!!! Commercial is over, going back to watch more.

  36. The city budget will continue to be in disarray if the city council keeps dreaming up ways of slowing down the tax revenues coming into the city! During the Fabrizi admin. the tax collectors office & tax-assessors went through a change for the better. Ms. Kelly & Mr. O’Brien were hired and or promoted to head those #2 tax offices and thus increase the incoming tax revenues in general. Both have done a good job & also have tightened up many of the tax laws and statutes that the city had been lax at; as well as improving slowly their dept.’s needs, etc. Because it’s a tough job & they tend to treat everyone fair & the same by being proactive in doing their jobs, they’re not as popular with the public & local business or politicians that expect special treatment @ times. So, lately because of certain public complaints by citizens that are or have been delinquent with either auto or property taxes. And a cry “Foul” from a (?) non-profit that failed to prove that his business was legit. The #2 tax departments have been brought under fire by some councilpersons and have had resolutions pushed onto their depts. by apparent threats of legislative slowdowns to get the complaining council’s way! Also attempts, without having the authority to fire #2 dept. administrators were made by some of the same councilpersons. I am in favor of the city making certain types of $ arrangements with citizens that are behind in their taxes, however pushing resolutions that have no authority by making legislative threats or making it easier for tax delinquents to owe the city more money with the pretext of making payments after they’re behind for over a year is putting the city right back where it was! You can’t always have your cake & eat it too! Oh, just food for thought; (revenue collected in #90 days @ the Bpt. city sealer’s office, Dec. Jan. & Feb. “07-08”, $69,000.) Revenue collected in #90 days @ Bpt. Parks & Rec. checkpoints, $200,000. (Memorial day to Labor day, “08”. Just having the cake’s ice cream instead!

  37. More info from our buddy Chris Shays thanks to Wikipedia.

    In December 2003 Shays urged New Year’s Eve revelers not to attend celebrations like the one at Times Square saying it was irresponsible for officials to make people think they don’t need to avoid packed crowds like Times Square because of the nation’s heightened terror alert. Shays told WVIT-TV he wouldn’t go to Times Square “for anything.” New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg responded that extra precautions were being taken to keep revelers safe adding that Shays should show more confidence in the “world’s greatest police department” and that Shays could use an infusion of courage.

    Shays was questioned about the Mark Foley scandal. Shays said, “Dennis Hastert didn’t kill anybody,” referring to the 1969 Chappaquiddick incident.

    Regarding Abu Ghraib, Shays stated, “It was outrageous, outrageous involvement of National Guard troops…who were involved in a sex ring and they took pictures of soldiers who were naked, and they did other things that were just outrageous. But it wasn’t torture.”

    In 2007 Shays raised his voice to a Capitol Hill policeman, and touched the officer’s badge to read the number for not letting tourists through a doorway.

    Rated 69% by NAACP, indicating a mixed record on affirmative action. (Dec 2006)

  38. donj, when the hell did this become your blog? Who put you in charge? The last time I checked Freedom of Speech was still the law of the land. Did you ever hear of voting for the better candidate rather than blindly voting for a party? I guess not. You want to be part of the lemmings that blindly vote for a party?
    Do you even know what the Democratic platform is? Do you know the Democratic platform as it is now constructed will lead to tax increases? Do you know Obama wants to extend medical benefits to illegal aliens? He wants to give free tuition to state universities for the children of illegal aliens! Just read the platform instead of blindly following a party. Tell me how great we have done in the last two years with the Dems in charge of congress. You can blame Bush for the increase in oil and gas prices but you can also blame the Democratically controlled congress for doing nothing about it.

  39. Wondering, Democrats have no veto control, Bush started vetoing the day Dems gained the slim slim margin up to that day he vetoed nothing the republican-controlled house put forward. Nothing like a good veto to stop the other party in its tracks…You can find only two things wrong in our country to blame Bush about, only two!!!

  40. Local Eyes

    You are right. Congress has no control over oil prices. Bush has control over oil prices simply because he is a doofuss who orchestrated a fractured Middle East policy combined with an inept approach to global economic issues. It is widely regarded throughout the world that today’s cost of a gallon or liter of gasoline carries with it a 30% Bush factor. That’s why Obama was so wildly received in Germany a few weeks ago. It is heartening to see such adoration not seen since JFK’s famous declaration…”Ich bin ein Berliner.” It’s too bad Obama could only come up with…”Ich bin ein Beginner.”

  41. Whether they have the veto override or not congress has made no attempt to get the oil companies under control. Sure they can blame the fact that they cannot override a veto but they still never tried. They could have tried to close the Enron loophole that allows speculators to run up the price of a barrel of oil. Did they try? NO.
    When a proposal to increase the amount of offshore drilling came up, Speaker of the house Nancy “I’ve done nothing” Pelosi said that would not happen; in fact when a motion was put on the floor she adjourned the session and shut off all power to the chamber. Only when the public spoke up did she somewhat relent. Let me get this straight Bush is also responsible for gas prices around the globe? Give me a break.
    Badboy there are a host of things but the blame can be spread amongst both parties. You seem to think that the democrats in Washington worked real hard and Bush stopped everything they wanted to do. Both parties are guilty and both parties are controlled by the oil industry.

  42. “Let me get this straight Bush is also responsible for gas prices around the globe? Give me a break.”

    Your ignorance of fact jeopardizes your Philistine amnesty.

    Let me say this again…

    Because George Bush is dumb, he has created a fractured Middle East policy with his “war” and his ineptitude on matters that affect our economy, the value of the dollar has shrunk dramatically while oil prices have risen exponentially. The formula he engineered has caused expensive oil to influence the economies all over the world. Already very high, the European Union has seen their gas costs more than double with the same results as we feel in the US. At the mere suggestion of new sane US leadership, oil dropped and the dollar gained.

    I really wish you would give 5 seconds worth of thought to an issue before you jump on your keypad.

  43. His war as you describe it was voted on by Congess and approved by both Democrats and Republicans. How the war was fought is another matter. His oil formula as you put it is BS. The rise in oil prices is due to speculation and supply and demand. China has in the past few years become a major user of oil & gasoline. This is something they had not been doing to this extent for many years. There are several other countries that have become major users of petroleum. BTW what is Bush’s formula? Gas & oil prices have risen in Europe because of the same reasons they have risen here. Why haven’t you spoken of the other problem and that is the speculation problem that inflates the price we pay at the pump by $.30 to $.40 a gallon?

  44. Boy…you really are a dumb shit. Your exemption is revoked. You are The Philistine of the Week.

    Oil speculation is driven by supply…that is correct. Demand from China and India did not start overnight. Our costs have risen because the speculators are taking full advantage of an uncertain oil flow in the Middle East. The uncertainty in the Middle East is caused by George W. Bush’s inability to maintain an effective diplomatic relationship in all Arab nations. The price of oil will fall once he is out of office and the world situation normalizes. It’s falling already in anticipation of change. Why do you think Obama was so well received in Berlin? Never in modern history has the world had to endure the likes of George W. Bush.

  45. Yahooy thanks for the name-calling I hope it made you feel better. But again you are only partially right. Other than the Iraqi oil there was no real uncertainty about the oil flow. The speculators were and are allowed to function because there is no government oversight thus they can bid up the price of oil which they have done. The oil-producing countries in the middle east have ramped up their output several times in recent years.
    The only mideast country we really are not publicly dealing with is Iran. BTW did you forget Jimmy Carter or Bill “I didn’t have sexual relations with that woman” Clinton? Your lack of really understanding the problem is surprising.

  46. February 4, 2008 at 6:30 p.m. The public speaking session of the City Council is opened for the listed public speaker.
    speaker: Joel Gonzalez
    subject: Bridgeport’s Delinquent Automobile Tax Effort

    Distinguished members of the City Council (7 absent) and Mayor Finch (absent). I am here today to address this body in regards to Bridgeport’s Delinquent Automobile Tax Collection Efforts. This effort is being carried out under a double standard. Different Strokes for Different Folks! The effort starts when the city provides the Marshall’s Office with a list of delinquent taxpayers vehicle plate numbers and addresses. The Marshalls then ride around the City towing or booting vehicles expecting owners to pay their taxes, tickets (if any) and paying for the towing cost. The double standard is in the City’s unwillingness to go after the many out-of-state registered vehicles seen in Bridgeport. For many years I have seen vehicles with out-of-town plates operated by people living (not visiting) in Bridgeport without any interference from local tax authorities. The plate identification system and/or software used by the Marshalls, only recognizes those plates listed as delinquent. It does not keep record of out-of-town or out-of-state plates and this allows others to cheat the city 100%.
    The tax collector’s office has a long way to go in keeping an eye on tax cheats. As an example, there are hundreds of vehicles registered as owners living at 300 Congress Street. How can hundreds of vehicle be registered as the owners living at our Police Department and the Tax Collector not notice this?

    Seven months later, the City is at it again! I attended the so-called emergency meeting. Among the other things said was that the City’s tax collector’s office does not accept credit cards or checks. They mentioned having an ATM but they failed to mention that the maximum amount you can withdraw is $120 at a cost of about $1.00 or more. When I paid my car taxes, I had to withdraw twice in order to cover the whole amount owed. It was explained that the City does not take credit cards because they have to negotiate the surcharge by the credit card companies. Fuck Joel and everyone else and let them pay the surcharge too! So folks, bring cash when you are going to pay your taxes.

  47. Whatever happened to the idea of a tax or ticket amnesty? If someone has tickets they owe, an amnesty period will forgive them any penalties added to the ticket or tax bill.
    It would be a good idea for Mayor Finch to collect money owed and at the same time be looked upon as a forgiving and understanding mayor. A ticket/tax amnesty would do just that and I think that mayor Finch should take me up on this and give it a go. Times are hard and folks are looking for bargains and breaks everywhere they can.
    What do you think mayor Finch?

  48. You must be looking in the mirror when you say Dense. I have given you many of the reasons oil is out of sight and you have added a few of your own. What more needs to be said?

  49. Is it entirely possible, that like most U.S Presidents that are assessed & or evaluated on their personal performance years after their terms are up, that George W. Bush will be looked at as a good president? Presidents Johnson, Reagan & Nixon were all not liked while in office; yet their status changed years after as time passed & everything they did & did not do, was put in perspective as to what was happening in the world at the time? I’ve seen & been through #10 presidents in my lifetime that I can remember! And in time, after finding out & knowing a lot more facts on certain Presidents, views & feelings concerning them have changed. What will history say about George “W”???


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