Lowell Weicker, now there’s a guy who did something for Bridgeport.
Check that, not something but a lot. Check that, not a lot but more than any pol on the planet. Weicker was elected governor in 1990, served one term and arguably is known as the governor that blasted the personal income tax through the state legislature. That revenue is just one thing he did for the state’s largest city. His slot compact with the Mashantucket Pequots wired more than $10 million to the city in the initial state distribution formula in 1993 and tens of millions more since. In addition, look at the things he did specifically for the city:
— A new Housatonic Community College downtown. Housy is now the highest trafficked community college in the state.
— Weicker relocated the regional state police barracks from Westport to downtown Bridgeport to create a sense of security at a time it was urgently needed.
— Weicker found $10 million to purchase from the city Beardsley Park and the state’s only zoo, now operated by the Connecticut Zoological Society.
— Weicker made maintenance of the city’s railroad station a state function, saving additional dollars.
Why does this matter? Now you may think Weicker’s a blowhard, a this and a that but for me the guy went out of his way to make sure the state’s largest city was well cared for by the state mother ship. He understood that a strong Bridgeport means a stronger Connecticut. He cared.
Good grief, what has Chris Dodd done for Bridgeport in 30 years in the U.S. Senate? Oh, I can hear my Dodd friends now, there goes whiny Lennie complaining about Dodd again. Well, I’m still waiting to hear about all the wonderful things he initiated on behalf of the city that weren’t started by someone else. Dodd should have a monument in his name by now. But hey, the senior senator can win me over. All he has to do is wire something for the city (well, it would be a start at least) like he has in the story below. C’mon Christopher, make me eat crow!!!
From The Hartford Courant
WASHINGTON — A $100 million item for construction of a university hospital was inserted in the Senate health care bill at the request of Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Conn., who faces a difficult re-election campaign, his office said Sunday night.
The legislation leaves it up to the Health and Human Services Department to decide where the money should be spent, although spokesman Bryan DeAngelis said Dodd hopes to claim it for the University of Connecticut.
The UConn Health Center has been trying for years to expand and upgrade a facility that hospital officials consider too small and outdated to be economically viable.
The latest proposal, a merger with Hartford Hospital, was scrapped in November.
The provision in the Senate legislation is included in a 383-page series of changes to the health care bill that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., outlined Saturday. Scattered throughout are numerous items sought by individual lawmakers, many of them directing money explicitly to programs or projects in their home states.
This should be fun. I’ll be joining Johnny Fabs today around 4:30 when the former mayor guest hosts Jim Buchanan’s time slot on WICC. We have a whole bunch of stuff to talk about so call in and feel free to harass us. The City Council showdown between Evette Brantley and Bob Walsh is starting to crater political relationships. The council Monday night referred the phone message blow-up to a full council committee for action in early 2010. Former Council President Lisa Parziale weighed in on behalf of Walsh during the speaking portion of the council meeting triggering a wide-open rift with Brantley whom Parziale promoted for her old West Side district seat. Yes indeed, smash-mouth OIB politics.
Good School Stuff
Check out OIB friend Jonathan Kantrowitz’s column regarding city school performance.
More From The Courant
House and Senate Vote To Delay Estate-Tax Cut; No Cuts in Stem Cell Research or Aid To Cities, Towns
The state House of Representatives and the Senate both voted Monday to postpone cuts in the estate tax that had been strongly favored by Gov. M. Jodi Rell and Republican legislators.
The Democratic-controlled House voted 97 to 39 to postpone two key changes for two years as seven moderate Democrats joined with Republicans to oppose the changes. The bill did not pass by a veto-proof margin, but 15 lawmakers were absent during the pre-Christmas special session.
The vote came on a day when legislators were trying to close a deficit that is projected at $337 million by the governor’s budget office and the legislature’s nonpartisan fiscal office.
Early Monday evening, the state Senate voted 22 to 12 – mainly along party lines – to postpone the estate tax changes. Sen. Andrew McDonald, who represents many affluent residents in Stamford and Darien, broke with the party and voted with the Republicans on the estate tax.
In addition, Democrats are rejecting Rell’s plans for reducing aid to cities and towns by $84 million, which has become highly controversial among municipal leaders. Republican legislators, too, have offered a separate plan with no cuts to municipalities.