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What’s In McCarthy’s Future?

August 27th, 2016 · 61 Comments · Analysis and Comment, City Council, City Politics

McCarthy Black Rock Day

Tom McCarthy greets the peeps on campaign trail.

It’s been a relatively quiet summer for the City Council beyond ear-splitting cries from angry residents following July 1 tax bills. The next full meeting will not take place until September 6. The larger question is what is the future of City Council President Tom McCarthy who was lanced in an August 9 Democratic primary by incumbent State Senator Marilyn Moore.

Within the last year McCarthy saw his ally Bill Finch defeated by Joe Ganim in a primary, then watched as Ganim basically doubled the vote of petitioning candidate Mary-Jane Foster whom McCarthy supported in the general election, negotiated a severance package of $35K and two year’s health benefits from his city job as Ganim sought to fulfill a campaign pledge to eliminate conflicts of interest on the budget and legislative body, turned down a labor relations job offer from the City of New Haven to instead challenge Moore in a primary, and voted for a spending package in a revaluation year that drew the enmity of primary voters.

In politics timing can be everything, good and bad.

Moore, McCarthy

Moore defeated McCarthy in party primary.

Fresh-faced and gregarious, McCarthy had earned a name for himself quickly just out of law school. In the late 1990s, introduced to politics by then City Council member Maureen Driscoll, he worked on several city campaigns, earned a reputation as a hard worker and built a strong alliance with Town Chair Mario Testa. By 2001, during JG1, he was working in the Labor Relations Office and had won a seat on the City Council. Shortly after Bill Finch’s election as mayor in 2007, McCarthy was named council president by his peers.

In 2008, content with being council president out of loyalty to Finch, McCarthy turned down a chance to run for State Senate. Democrat Anthony Musto of Trumbull defeated Moore in a party primary on his way to a general election win over Republican Rob Russo. Musto maintained the seat until 2014 when he was knocked off by Moore in a primary.

August council crowd

Packed City Council chambers vent about taxes.

As council president during Finch’s mayoralty McCarthy worked closely with Finch, critics argued too closely, shepherding city business. How could the head of the legislative branch who was on the city payroll serve as a check on the executive branch? McCarthy did not back down from critics, arguing he was his own man. Still it created some cracks and openings for critics.

Within a few months of Ganim’s election McCarthy was off the city payroll and seemingly unshackled by conflict. But a bomb was ticking in the city budget with the implementation of revaluation of city property that Finch persuaded the governor and state legislature to put off for a couple of years so he did not have to face the fallout in an election year.

Ganim, blight

McCarthy stands behind Ganim at press conference.

While Ganim and city finance officials argued that reval would produce a mixed bag of lower taxes, higher taxes and staying the same based on assessments, the homeowners hardest hit lived in the Bridgeport portion of the 22nd State Senate District such as Black Rock, West Side and the North End. Homeowners were apoplectic and McCarthy, as head of the budget-approving body, was first in line to face the fire.

Moore defeated McCarthy in Black Rock 351-102, on the West Side 268-99, and in two North End combined precincts that included McCarthy’s base support it was 585-441. It sucks to lose, but McCarthy was defeated handily across the city and only managed to run about even with Moore in suburban Trumbull and Monroe.

So what does McCarthy do now? Priority number one for McCarthy is finding a job. He campaigned full time during the primary.

McCarthy’s council seat comes up next year. At 42 years of age he’s still council president and next in line if anything happens to the mayor. But serving as council president can be a grind keeping the legislative and budget business flowing tapping 19 other members. Although it comes with a level of power, it is often a thankless position accompanied by a $9,000 stipend (as other members receive) in lieu of a paycheck.

Even some of McCarthy’s critics agree if he decides to pack it in, who on the council is capable of replacing him to keep city business flowing? Some argue, the bench is not deep.

And although Ganim and McCarthy at times have had a frosty relationship, Ganim’s gonna ask, who’s the alternative to McCarthy?

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61 Comments so far ↓

  • Ron Mackey

    NOTHING AT ALL.

  • Bob Walsh

    After reading this, it strikes me Joey G should double up on his security detail. Because the only way out for McCarthy is if something should happen to the mayor that would prevent him from fulfilling this term.
    That would get McCarthy off the council and back making a salary he has become accustomed to.

  • The Bridgeport Kid

    Get a real job, McCarthy. Politics don’t suit you.

  • Bob Walsh

    I’m not ready to name a winner but if the minorities can come together now and elect one of their own, it will never happen.
    Marilyn Moore’s victory was like Toto pulling away the curtain in the Wizard of Oz. Suddenly everyone saw an old and tired man pulling levers and pushing buttons and still trying to proclaim “I am the great and powerful.”
    No one on the council needs to believe McCarthy is nothing but a shill for whomever the mayor is. And after all his time on the council and in city government he has nothing to show for it with the voters.

  • John Marshall Lee

    Well as a departing gift I can think of several gifts he might provide in parting. The top one on my list is what were the financial costs provided to decision makers when the 2012 Police Department contract was worked over and passed in 2015? If you are one heartbeat away from being in the Mayor’s seat, you know this fact. If you are working in the Labor Relations Department you share that information. What did Budget and Appropriations ever see or what was available to the taxpayers to make it a fair deal for all, Tom? And what genius in City Hall saw the Public Safety Plan B plans as inadequate or unsafe, as they have been better funded than Plan A or some of the State plans to which they migrated? Or was it good old naked greed of some 300-400 City employees who saw their opportunity and their Union presented it for them, and the taxpayers knew nothing about the expense, and the Mayor knew it wasn’t about a voting block as most of the safety officers live out of town? Tom, tell us before you depart. Time will tell.

  • Mary Filo

    Geez, this blog moves fast. I’m still trying to figure out, What’s in McCarthy’s Present???

  • Maria Pereira

    On a side note, I spent three hours today with a realtor I know reviewing Jennifer Buchanan’s MLS listing, and also visiting the Zoning Department, the Fire Marshal’s Office, and the Building Permits office.

    So much to report but so little time tonight. A full report will be published tomorrow.

    Start looking for a big rock to slither under in Indiana, Jennifer H. Buchanan.

    • Frank the Cabana Boy

      Why?

      • John Marshall Lee

        Why indeed? With 21,000 youth in the school system, a system that needs meaningful discussion of issues facing the system itself (aside from governance interference, or not), a knowledgeable member of the BOE uses three hours of her valuable and dedicated time to “fact wrestle” another OIB writer about her personal real estate history? Her full choice as to how to spend her time? YES. Her dedication to the measure of: WHAT ABOUT THE KIDS? Questionable.
        Also, regarding the long thread earlier this week has been questioned in the community as to which person Lennie meant as the BUFFOON and which person represents the BULLY? Time will tell.

      • Maria Pereira

        Frank, that’s easy. I live in this great country called the United States of America, which was founded on democratic principles where citizens are allowed to do as they please as long as they are not violating any laws.

        Isn’t what I do with my time really my business? If you wanted to research the Kennedy assassination do you think as a complete stranger I should ask you “why?”

        Don’t you think you just may be overstepping?

        • Frank the Cabana Boy

          No, I don’t.

          This is a blog for communication and such, and I had a question. What you spend your time on is indeed your business. When you post it on this media outlet, are you not doing so knowing there may be a response or question? Isn’t that what a blog is for?

  • Harvey Weintraub

    Tom will forever be synonymous with the Finch years, and that is the reason he will never win any election in Bpt. Time for him to move on now, time for a job in the private sector. Sorry Tom, will add you to the huge list of people Bill used and abused for his own advancement. You should have known better.

    • Lisa Parziale

      Harvey I tried in a concerned, friendly way, on a least two occasions, to convince him to keep an open mind and think through the negative energy he was creating for himself. He was very polite to me, but he didn’t hear a word I said. This latest political move was so elementary, an apolitical person could have predicted the outcome. He exposed his current weakness, due to prolonged negative feelings about his conflict of interest, he didn’t have a chance; what was he thinking. Everyone knows what I think of snake Mario, but in this situation, Tom has to carry the responsibility of an amateurish decision. He should finish his council term, and take a position out of Bridgeport until things die down. This outcome doesn’t have to mean his running for higher office in the future is not possible, he just needs to take some time out. He’ll find out soon enough he has no real friends in Bridgeport politics, they flip faster than the sharks they are.

  • Mary Filo

    Maria, this is what I just tried to point out to you nicely on the BOE post. Why are you attacking Jennifer on a post about McCarthy? What does it have to do with anything? Maybe I missed something? I don’t necessarily have time to read all blog comments, but this is a vicious, vile, unrelated comment. This post just turned into one of those BOE meetings people do not want to attend. I know you are a smart woman, but these kind of attacks take away from that. Have a great Saturday. It’s beautiful so far.

    • Ron Mackey

      Mary Filo, Maria just can’t help herself, she doesn’t know how to win friends and influence people. If anyone has had the association of Judge Carmen Lopez, Lisa Parziale and Dottie Gunman they would mirror these three wise and smart women no matter if they were a man or a woman but you don’t see any of those characteristic in Maria. I though in recent months Maria would follow Lisa’s advice but Maria attacks of people on OIB doesn’t seem like anything is working, she just can’t help herself. She is just like Donald Trump, if someone makes a comment about the both of them they don’t like they can’t help it they have to reply.

      All three of these women at some point in time have given me advice and wisdom and I’m thankful for that.

      • Lisa Parziale

        Awww, thank you Ron. I’m going to have to get your email or phone number because you are one of my trusted friends. Unfortunately you would think after all the time I’ve been around I’d have more, but I’m grateful for those I do have. Sometimes I just need someone to talk with and run things by, Bob Walsh (Bubba) is one also.

        • Ron Mackey

          Lisa, okay I’ll do that. Lisa, here is my point, just read what Maria posted at Maria Pereira // Aug 27, 2016 at 11:41 am. Why? This was not necessary, I don’t know Jennifer, never met her, I know she is a Republican and at times we don’t agree on things and that’s okay but she has never been mean-spirited.

          Maria’s good is outdone by what Don wrote about Maria, “vile, vindictive.”

  • Grin Ripper

    Maria is Donald Trump in Drag!
    m.youtube.com/watch?v=13olfeD026g

  • Donald Day

    Mary, that’s the vile, vindictive Maria who most of us on OIB have come to expect. While she’s very knowledgeable about BBOE matters, that knowledge is lost when it comes to working well with others and the children of Bridgeport suffer. She is no longer an asset to the BBOE, rather she’s a strict liability.

  • Mary Filo

    Thanks for catching me up, everyone. I know Maria as a smart woman who seems to really care. I won’t deny her that, but parental support is very important on the BOE and it should be kept in mind if you are an elected official, citizens expect professionalism at all times. I know Maria can do this, she just has to want it. On another note, I am considering heading to the Black Wall Street Market on Gregory St., today. Has anyone ever been to it? Is it worth setting the time aside to head there? I’m not a huge shopper, but I like outside markets. Anyone know what kind of vendors it attracts?

  • The Phantom

    Does anyone really care what Maria digs up on Jennifer off an MLS listing? The miserable, vile lunatic should spend a little time figuring out how to work with the rest of the board and get working for the children’s sake. She wastes more time digging for dirt on her enemies (which is pretty much everyone) than getting something done. What an embarrassment!

    • Maria Pereira

      Just to be absolutely clear, I am not anyone’s employee who posts on OIB and I am not a city employee nor have I ever been a city employee, therefore what I do with my time is my business.

      The absolute nerve.

  • Maria Pereira

    If anyone on OIB wants to allow someone to knowingly post blatant lies about them, feel free to do so. I for one am going to hold that individual accountable.

    Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but no one is entitled to their own made-up set of facts.

    Let me show you how it’s done, Jennifer H. Buchanan. If you are going to post something over and over again, you should have factual information or documents to support it, which is what I have.

    October 8, 2004, Ms. Buchanan purchased 159 Seabright Ave. for $355,500 according to Vision on the Tax Assessor’s page. It is identified as a Two-Family. I confirmed this with the Zoning Department.

    It was assessed in 2015 as having $122,490 in improvement completed since 2008. Is total appraised value was $362,280.

    It lists the first floor as 844 square feet of living area, second floor also has 844 square feet of living area, and the “finished expansion attic” (a Fire Marshal explained the attic is allowed to expand with the second floor, but not stand alone as a third unit for rental or occupancy, however I still need to verify that in Housing).

    May 12, 2015–It was listed in the MLS for sale for $399,500. It identifies a first and second floor being rented for $1,400 and $1,200 respectively. It lists a third “unit” as 2 Rooms, 1 Bed, 1 Full Bath and as not leased. It lists the occupant of 3rd floor Unit as “owner.” It identifies Appliances Included as “Dryer, Refrigerator, and Washer.”

    The Remarks are as follows: Very spacious & impeccably maintained two family with fabulous & fully finished 3rd Fl. suite. … Over $100K in improvements … Third Floor includes vaulted ceilings, glorious full bath and separate laundry.”

    Agent Remarks are as follows: 1st floor leased through 4/16 at $1,400/month. Tenant pays oil, gas, electric, cable, etc. 2nd fl is leased month to month. Long term tenant has below market lease–great guy, would stay if desired Owner occupies 3rd floor studio. Gas heat.

    The photos with the listing clearly show an attic that includes a seating area, a double/queen size bed, a large dining table, the full bath, the washing machine, and what appears to be a microwave.

    This is of particular interest for the following reasons:

    November 5, 2015–The Fire Marshal’s Office received a Qalert complaint regarding “illegal housing” at 159 Seabright Avenue. The Fire Marshal’s Report confirms the property is designated as an R3 use or One or Two Family Dwelling.

    November 6, 2016–Fire Marshal Marrero visited the home but no one was home. He left his business card and followed up with a “contact letter” that was mailed to Ms. Buchanan.

    November 9, 2015–Fire Marshal Marrero stopped by a 2nd time. No one was home so he left his business card for Ms. Buchanan with instructions to call him asap.

    November 13, 2015–Fire Marshal Marrero visited the property with owner and performed a full inspection. The report states “original complaint stated 3rd floor being used as apartment, however 3rd floor lacks kitchen or appliances, also does not have a bedroom, house is listed as a two family and inspection was performed per single/two family rules–no violations found (file closed)”

    As you can see this completely contradicts Ms. Buchanan’s own MLS listing for 159 Seabright Ave which specifically listed a refrigerator and washer/dryer. It also contradicts the photos with the listing which shows a full/queen bed, a washer, and what appears to be a microwave.

    Now let’s move to those $100,000 in improvements which would certainly require a permit or two which Ms. Buchanan stated on OIB she hired contractors who had all the required permits.

    October 15, 2014–In order to receive a building permit you must first fill out an Application for Certificate of Zoning Compliance which must describe the improvement/repair project. The Zoning Department must approve and stamp the Plan and Application before one could go to the Building Permits office to obtain the proper/required permit.

    The Zoning Office could only find one Application for Certificate of Zoning Compliance for 159 Seabright Avenue in the last 5 years. The applicant was Ms. Buchanan and it was to install solar panels. The application lists the “Existing Use” as a “residence” and “2 Family.” It was approved by the Zoning Department on October 15, 2014.

    August 26, 2016–I visit the Building Permits Office and was assisted by State Representative Rose. She went back as far as 2000 and could not find a single permit issued for 159 Seabright Avenue including a permit to install solar panels. Not one.

    How can one spend $100,000 in improvements without a single Building Permit? To be clear, Vision verified the improvements at an estimated appraised value of $122,490.

    Just because someone submits an application to Zoning for a project doesn’t mean it was actually completed, therefore instead of making an assumption that solar panels were installed illegally I actually drove by 159 Seabright Avenue yesterday. I could not see any solar panels which Ms. Buchanan did not violate any city ordinances or state laws on this particular project.

    April 19, 2016–Ms. Buchanan sold her home for $65,000 to Evelyn Serias who identifies the co-owner as “Surviver of Hers”. The address is listed as 37 Broad River Lane in Southport.

    I don’t know if the sales price of $65,000 is a typo, but if it isn’t; it certainly decimated the resale value of home values in the immediate vicinity.

    What I believe is abundantly clear is that Ms. Buchanan lied to the Fire Marshal, occupied an illegal 3rd Fl attic/unit in her home which is zoned as a two-family home. In addition, it is also pretty clear she lied on OIB just yesterday about hiring contractors that obtained required permits for her “$100,000″ in improvements which explains why the issue of “permits” had to be referenced in her sale agreement.

    Going forward, Ms. Jennifer H. Buchanan, I highly recommend that when you post accusations/claims or make assertions about others you be able to substantiate them as I have done here today. I have all the documents to support every single thing I have stated here today and would be more than happy to scan them over to Lennie.

    I would strongly recommend that you look inward as to why an intelligent, articulate, and professional woman as yourself consistently finds the need to post repeated and blatant lies on OIB that you can in no way substantiate or in this case, refute.

    You owe me an apology, Ms. Buchanan, and if you cannot give me one it says a lot more about you than it does me.

    • Jennifer Buchanan

      This is the last time I will respond to you. I sold the house for $365,000, your discovery shows the sloppy record-keeping performance of the city of Bridgeport. The fire inspector stated under CT law, I could do anything on the third floor with the exception of installing a stove or rent it. There is a wet bar, complete with a mini fridge and a washer-dryer unit on the third floor. There is no roommate or significant other lease available that I am aware of, or rules that state I cannot have a roommate. The wording was correct, I had solo use of the third floor, and was not collecting rent on the third floor. Considering the new owner inspected the property three times with her contractors, with the intent of doing improvements and making sure all required permits were in place, I can only hope they made copies of the file before the April 15 close, if they did indeed visit the city building department. The fire inspector spent a lot of time looking at the electric box in the basement along with the posted city building permit posted on the wall. When I asked him why, he said he was also an electrician and had never seen that type of installation before. When I asked him if it was okay, he said it was. It would appear the city building department, zoning department and fire department show no violations on file, and have been satisfied I am in compliance with the codes and laws governing the use of my property.
      I apologize to you, Maria.

  • Steven Auerbach

    MARIA P., JENNIFER BUCHANAN is very respected in Black Rock. She is a staunch Republican and cares very deeply for the city of Bridgeport. She is a friend to both Republicans and Democrats. She is a strong supporter of Dave Walker. She sold her home at 159 Seabright Avenue, 2 duplexes for $365,000. She lives in Indiana and still has close emotional ties to the city and many of its residents. Why you gave a full history of her home on OIB is scary. Scary from the POV it is like you are a stalker. Questioning you is not overstepping. It is downright creepy. It gives validity to the Charlie Stallworth piece that was offensive to you. You are a public figure and should expect celebrity-like assaults. Jennifer Buchanan is a private citizen. One day you will learn there are just so many bridges. You can continue to assault Jennifer in the public arena, but you do realize you lose fans every time you go way out of line to attack. Yes Maria, some people may consider this obsessive compulsive behavior as a neurosis and may question your ability to lead, like Donald Trump. Though we appreciate the time and effort you put into your investigations, sometimes it is just wasted energy negative crap! Yes MARIA IT IS NONE OF MY BUSINESS AND IN YOUR MIND I AM OVERSTEPPING. GET OVER IT! For your own sake. You want a conversation with Jennifer, I will happily supply her number. You can send my best!

    • Jennifer Buchanan

      Aw shucks, I voted for Obama, hardly a staunch Republican. And I am definitely NOT voting for Trump. And thanks to you for your words, Steve.

    • Maria Pereira

      It wasn’t a duplex, it’s called “public records” because they are public.

      Ms. Buchanan is not a victim here. She knew.

  • Donald Day

    Might I add, Jennifer Buchanan is one of the most delightful and intelligent women I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. My only regret is I didn’t have the opportunity to know her longer.

    Is that alright Jennifer? You can send my check for this at your convenience.

  • John Marshall Lee

    Article about McCarthy shows a shutout for Council President.
    Balance of commentary: Maria 7 Jennifer 3 (+ 9 supportive) Indiana resident wins over “local BOE member” who momentarily forgot “It’s all about the kids?” The City needs more people to echo that cry and act regularly in that manner. Time will tell.

  • John Marshall Lee

    Ron,
    By my count, Maria supported Maria with six entries in regards to her tiff with Jennifer Buchanan. The seventh entry was Maria finding humor (LOL) in Mary Filo’s question about McCarthy’s present.
    At one time or another each of us is taken to task by other readers. Responses range all over the place. Generally there is some support regarding the issue or the person, occasionally an issue dies a natural death.
    In this dialogue Maria pressed her case with volumes of information, to what effect? Readers seem unpersuaded and have no idea what Maria thinks about Tom McCarthy, Council leader who kept discussion of the BOE fiscal problem in the current year, $15 Million, from public discussion. There were certainly enough public “hearings,” only one of which was attended in force by education advocates, but there was no “responsiveness” allowed in Council meetings.
    This past week, when Board members signed up first without standing in line for a time as others have to, to speak first in public speaking time, I have learned it is not against any policy or rules, but it seems discourteous for starters, and over the top in terms of presentation and maneuvering. Ms. Pereira had support in the audience for finding a way to get paraprofessionals back into at least Kindergarten classrooms. In fact that was our reason for being there, which my wife spoke to, celebrating the person she has worked with for two years as an interventionist. But she takes away from the seriousness of her role in working with other Board members, it seems to me, when she uses her position at the head table to act as an “audience conductor,” hands raised to encourage cheering. What’s up there? Time will tell.

    • Frank Gyure

      I just want to be clear about this issue of board members (in this case, it was this one particular BOE meeting). Board member(s) signed up in the time that is allotted for the public to speak to the board. I also get the sense that took advantage of their ability to access the sign-in sheet before the public had a chance. I truly hope this is not true because, although the present rule may allow it, it is so obviously wrong. If that is the case, the Board should change the rules of public meeting so ONLY members of the public can speak at the public comments period. Lately we have had extensive review of Roberts Rules but Roberts does allow board members to speak at some length within the parameters of Roberts. NO BOARD MEMBER SHOULD TAKE TIME AWAY FROM THE PUBLIC SPEAKING TIME. In my mind, this is not even a close call. Unfortunately, the people of Bridgeport have far too little time to speak directly to city officials within a public meeting and to further lessen that time is an affront to the Bridgeport public. IT SHOULD STOP IMMEDIATELY. On a side note, no public comments at City Council subcommittee meetings is another travesty that needs to be changed.

      • Jennifer Buchanan

        You make excellent points, Frank.

      • Maria Pereira

        Frank, I want to be clear on this issue as well. A point of privilege does not give a member the authority to speak about anything they want to. It has to be a matter that directly impacts a member or the membership.

        The issue around bus transportation and the kindergarten paras was not listed on the agenda, therefore it is a violation to speak or take an action on any item not listed on the agenda. Any agenda item may be added by a two-thirds vote under the FOIA.

        Both Ben and I made it clear our intention was to make a motion to add it to the agenda to discuss and possibly take action and we let the public know we would need five votes. We also announced they should pay attention to how their BOE members vote on this item.

        I asked a BPS parent to sign me up to speak BEFORE a single member of the public lined up at the podium to sign up. I would have done it myself, however the person who brings the sign-up sheet was late. In addition, the parking lot was full. Ben Walker had to park on the street almost two blocks away.

        I will sign up to speak whenever I feel the need to because Board members are members of the “public.” A Policy change requires a two-thirds vote, which this proposal will not receive. Once again, I believe it would also easily be overturned in a court of law.

  • Maria Pereira

    Bowtie, it was so discourteous, 75% of the audience stood with me in support of me.

    The organizer of the event was completely on board with my speaking first. I have met, spoken with, and emailed with quite a few Kindergarten paraprofessionals over the last two months. They have shown up in full force at Finance Committee meetings and have repeatedly expressed their gratitude for our efforts to save their critical positions.

    I think what you don’t want to admit is I have quite a bit of support from staff and parents, but the reality is I absolutely do.

    • John Marshall Lee

      Ms. Pereira,
      The audience stood because they were there to support the concept that paraprofessional assistance in Bridgeport Kindergarten classes are a worthy and necessary expense to be included in the BOE budget somehow and someway. You happened to be one of many in he room in favor, but you see it as an endorsement of you. They stood with you in support of the idea, not as a Maria Pereira personal endorsement. This is where you stray from the track in my opinion. Remember the phrase you used to use: “It’s about the kids.” First and foremost that was true and still is even more true today. That banner needs lots of hands to keep it high. And if it is borne more humbly it may make more progress in places it gets stuck today. A thought.

      The week before perhaps 20 members of the paraprofessional union were present at the Special City Council meeting that is not structured to provide public speaking. Talking to some of those who were cut or expected to be I learned they seemed most disturbed by the way their Union leadership had neglected internal communication and honest voting. Certainly their sense was taking furlough days and being able to work within the school system to deciding no furlough days and having members, some with over 10 years service, lose their position.
      On July 5 when I asked Tom McCarthy to suspend the Council speaking rules to allow some of the 450 present that night to comment, he said we’re “going to stick with the rules, John.” By August, after his defeat, perhaps less sure of whatever mandate he serves, he allowed comments from the audience in a back and forth manner. Very interesting because the Labor Relations department was present in the room, and Tom clearly understood the dynamics. If the City had more public “conversation” there would likely be less need for the “confrontations” that show up and sap hope and energy from too many.

  • Maria Pereira

    This is exactly why I describe you as a condescending, pontificating blowhard.

    As you are fully aware, I spoke with every BBOE member and requested their support to extend public comment from 30 to 45 minutes, which was supported unanimously.

    I have been communicating with kindergarten paras by email, by phone, in person, and encouraged them to attend our community forums for weeks regarding the proposed transportation change so they could directly communicate with parents regarding how important their contributions are to early childhood education, but you want to speak for why they did or did not stand with me.

    Freedom of Speech is guaranteed to all in this country, and no member of the public may be targeted. I guess next someone will recommend no women can speak, no Muslims can speak, no children can speak, etc.

    Are you aware in our very own legislature, any member is allowed to speak before any committee in support or in opposition of a proposed bill, and when they enter the committee meeting they move ahead of every other speaker so they can go about their other duties?

    City Council members sign up to speak at public hearings.

    Targeting any individual or group to block them from public speaking is illegal.

    This is something a Trump supporter would suggest.

    P.S. Bowtie, it was I who rushed up to you at the podium and recommended you ask McCarthy to suspend the rules to allow more public speaking. I believed he would be arrogant enough to oppose it while seeking votes from the very Black Rock, Brooklawn, and North End residents whose support he was seeking for State Senate, and I was right. He responded by stating “we are going to follow the rules” and rejected your (my) suggestion.

    • Frank Gyure

      UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES should a board member take up the time for the public to speak to the board. Use your privilege as a board member to state your case.

      • Maria Pereira

        You are entitled to your opinion, however your opinion is a violation of our constitution, therefore your opinion will remain just that, an opinion.

        • John Marshall Lee

          I know you are not a Constitutional Law expert and believe you are referring to our right of free speech. That right can be limited as you point out by rules adopted for process, like Robert’s Rules. (Perhaps you can take a look at the video of a recent BOE meeting around 10pm in the evening when “rights to free speech” came into conflict with rules and any rational standards of community courtesy.)
          Do we need more rules, on which to become expert? Do we need more folks expressing their opinions, especially at the polls? Do we need you to keep reminding us (of the fact we each have a right to our opinion) and at the same time denigrating the opinion of others, in the same sentence? Just some things to ponder, maybe. Time will tell.

          • flubadub

            “Do we need more folks expressing their opinions, especially at the polls?” JML, the answer is unequivocally YES! The entrenched reprobates running (ruining?) our fair city depend on disinterested, uninformed citizens who do not take advantage of their right to vote to stay in power.

        • Frank Gyure

          Maria Pereira. Your interpretation of the US Constitution is wrong. Go back to school.

          • Maria Pereira

            No Frank, it is you who are wrong.

            The Board can set a policy no public speaking will be allowed, we can set a policy public comment can only be focused on agenda items, etc., however it is a violation of Freedom of Speech to limit the content of that speech or to target an individual or a group of individuals who may speak. The only limit that can be placed by a local board is public speakers must be members of the municipality, however that would mean many teachers, staff, grandparents, etc., could not speak before a local school board.

            When Ms. Rabinowitz and the former majority of the BOE orchestrated a coup of the Parent Advisory Council, we first heard rumors there was going to be an attempt to block the district PAC Executive Board members from speaking during public comment, therefore one of our initial conversations with our attorney, Norman Pattis; who by the way is an expert in constitutional law, was regarding this particular issue. It is illegal to target an individual or individuals from addressing a public board.

            We currently have a Board Policy that states no member of the public may make disparaging remarks regarding a BOE member or staff. That is an infringement of free speech, therefore I queried Attorney Brouchou at a Governance Committee Meeting where we were discussing this particular policy. Attorney Brouchou agreed it was a violation of Freedom of Speech and recommend the BOE delete it from our public comment policy.

            In fact, there are two cases in New England where members of the public sued local school boards for infringing on their right to free speech and won.

            You seem to be aggravated/agitated. “Why?”

          • Frank Gyure

            Maria Pereira. I am neither agitated nor aggravated. Once again, you try to undercut the validity of someone’s statement by personally attacking them (AGGRAVATED? AGITATED?). Won’t work. I am NOT going to go ON and ON and ON about this issue. Your interpretation of the Free Speech clause of the First Amendment is WRONG. It is settled law that an organization can set rules or parameters and those parameters may not NECESSARILY be an infringement of the Free Speech Clause. Free Speech is NOT a 100% unalloyed ability to say anything at any time. Freedom IMPLIES Responsibility. Freedom without Responsibility is Anarchy. Beyond that, I appreciate your explanation how the agenda for that night’s meeting may not have met what you really wanted to talk about and you felt you needed to use the time reserved for the “public” to raise the issues of kindergarten aides or whatever the issue was THAT PARTICULAR NIGHT. As a member of the BOE, I would think you play a role in setting and creating the agenda for the BOE meetings. How the agenda for that particular evening came about is beyond my capacity because I am not a member of the BOE. The issue of whether the time reserved for remarks reserved for the PUBLIC is a question of VALUES. The BOE still seems to be wrestling with the question of the budget that was decided by the Mayor and the CC back in May. The budget as set forth was BAD NEWS for the Education system in Bridgeport. In the budget wrangling, there will be winners and losers. I will not comment any further. As I have said, I admire your dedication, perseverance and tenacity in the causes you espouse but I will not engage, at least in this string of comments, to continue with an endless string of back and forth comments. I DO STILL HOPE TO MEET YOU ONE OF THESE DAYS. GOOD LUCK IN YOUR FUTURE ENDEAVORS.

  • Jimfox

    I like Jennifer B. a lot, I always rushed home after work to catch her on Bridgeport Now.
    She was the co-host with Rob what’s-his-face.
    I would turn off the volume and stare at her cleavage and goobers, most times.
    I had no clue what they were talking about, after a while I got pretty good at reading goobers, I mean lips!
    If she ever comes back to public TV, maybe she can team up with Jerry Jared or the new Tom McCarthy Show.

  • Bob Fredericks

    Good Lord, this city is doomed.

  • Frank Gyure

    BTW, did we determine if Thomas McCarthy has a political future? I will predict he will seek re-election to the CC in 2017.

    • Lisa Parziale

      Frank, at this point it’s the only office he many win. If he wants to remain relevant, he almost has to. Now I have a feeling some members of the council, assuming they’re reelected, might want a shot at the Council Presidency. I don’t recall him ever being challenged, but that could have been because Finch had his back, and none of the other members believed they had a chance. It could be different this time, there are some getting itchy for that position. We’ll see!

  • Frank the Cabana Boy

    I am no McCarthy advocate, but for CC President, who would be a decent alternative? Don’t see much to choose from. He should stay.

    • John Marshall Lee

      Frank,
      Your question about potential candidates for Council Presidency is worthy, in my opinion. What life experience, training (formal or informal), evidence of political skills and specific body of knowledge about municipal operations and finances might suggest a reasonable fit for Bridgeport? Perhaps OIB discussion might come up with a list that might guide CC voters in 2017 or CC members earlier if necessary. Time will tell.

    • Lisa Parziale

      Frank, I admit the pickings aren’t great, but then what has Tom done during his tenure? He may be articulate, have an understanding of some matters due to his educational background, but did he use any of it to steer or encourage the remaining members to any understanding? He played follow-the-leader and did nothing to oppose inequities. Just for the record, I was only a second-term council member when I was elected by my peers to the Council Presidency. I continued to be reelected to that position for ten terms; I left when I chose to. I didn’t have Tom’s legal education, but what I did have were leadership skills and independence, the rest came naturally to me. There just might be a diamond-in-the-rough waiting for a chance.

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