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Will Bridgeport Generation Now’s Battle Cry Lead To Lasting Ideas?

February 9th, 2018 · 35 Comments · Analysis and Comment, City Council, City Politics, News and Events

Reform is in the air in the city. Will it stick in any lasting measure? Bridgeport Generation Now has launched an on-line petition, see here, in support of an “Anti-Corruption Resolution.” Monday night the social action group’s President Callie Heilmann urged the City Council to support its call to action. See video above.

Idealistic, or not, focused in its calling, or unclear, irrespective of that there’s a new breeze blowing in the city that could stick or dissipate, as has happened many times before. What matters in the end is a relentless focus on what they want to do and how they’re going to get there. What is it they want to accomplish in the larger picture? It takes time, endurance, patience and ideas. Ideas? Gee, what a novel thought. Because short-term passion gets you only so far. Ideas, and driving them into the consciousness of electors–with a message that sticks–is what matters in the long term. It’s a work in progress.

Heilmann’s remarks to the City Council:

As all of us know, the City of Bridgeport has a well-established history of public corruption, which has led to mistrust among and between citizens, residents, civic and community leaders, and elected and appointed officials.

But this is not just history. People in positions of public office–who work on behalf of all of the people of Bridgeport–are using the power of their positions for personal gain right now. Just recently, we learned through a Bridgeport Police Officer’s sworn testimony–given during the court case regarding the 133rd Primary election and upheld by the Supreme Court–that our Chief of Police AJ Perez told this officer–Officer Nikola (whose salary by the way is paid for by taxpayers of all political parties) to go and collect Absentee Ballots on behalf of the Democratic Party Town Chairman, Mario Testa.

This speaks directly to the public corruption that we know is pervasive and happening around us, all the time. But have no fear! Bridgeport Generation Now is spearheading an anti-corruption campaign and movement, and we need YOU to be a part of it! Bridgeport United Against Corruption ​is bringing together ordinary citizens, community leaders, public servants and business owners who believe in Bridgeport’s political, social and economic growth and who know it’s time, once and for all, to commit us to good governance and rid our city of the stain of public corruption!

We’re coming together to …

1. Return true power to Bridgeport’s 147,000 residents.

2. Establish trust between citizens and our elected officials.

3. Stamp out abuse and conflicts of interest that betray the public trust.

4. Create a level playing field for Bridgeport residents.

5. Make certain Bridgeport has open and fair elections.

6. Support elected and public officials who say NO to corruption.

7. Lead the Anti-Corruption movement first in our city, then in our state and country.

So what can you do–to join our fight against corruption–as Bridgeport residents and our City Council representatives? You can sign our petition!​ We have collected over 100 signatures so far, but are launching it online tomorrow and will be asking each of you to sign on! You can join our coalition!​

We are not the only ones in this fight. We have a strong network of community & civic leaders, organizations, and residents who are leading this work across our city, state, and country too! Represent.Us–a national organization leading the anti-corruption campaign at the federal level–just recognized our coalition as their official Connecticut headquarters! You can support our “Anti-Corruption Resolution” ​which we will be introducing to you–our City Council–at the March 6th City Council Meeting. We’d love to have as many of you as possible support the resolution when it is introduced! We couldn’t be more excited to stand and work together with you to restore public trust in our beloved Bridgeport!

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35 Comments so far ↓

  • The Bridgeport Kid

    I signed the petition. I believe in Bob Halstead and Lisa Parziale and the work they are doing.

  • Ethan Book

    With respect to the anti-corruption campaign, Bridgeport Generation Now is on the right track !!

  • Local Eyes

    Early is good and late is bad.
    I placed Bridgeport Generation Now on my Bridgeport-themed website before the petition existed.

  • Grin Ripper

    Another Domino Effect with Snappy Fingers!

  • Tom White

    I hope that the good intentions of Callie and the Bridgeport Generation Now advocates are not diminished as they become more aware of the depth and breadth of corruption in Bridgeport city government.

    Sadly, the city council, to whom the resolution is presented to for support, is a part of the corruption in Bridgeport city government. Having members who are woefully unprepared or unwilling to carry out their duties in recent years has contributed to an environment of low expectations.

    I doubt that most current city council members or Bridgeport Generation Now advocates are aware of efforts in past years to address corruption in Bridgeport city government. I hope that this well-intended effort includes delving into specific examples of concerns and is not limited to feel-good statements.

  • The Bridgeport Kid

    God bless Bob Keeley for putting his money where his mouth is. His lawsuit uncovered Mario Testa’s AB operation and A.J. Perez’s complicity.   It would behoove the State’s Attorney to follow up on Judge Bellis’s recommendations. 

    Before that there was the seizure of motor vehicles for delinquent taxes. 

    Now there’s the WPCA’s involvement in a scam to foreclose on homeowners for delinquent sewer fees. The City Council, with the assistance of Judge Carmen Lopez, and a private attorney are scrutinizing the business practices of attorney Juda Epstein including gouging homeowners with “additional” legal fees. 

    The laundry basket is tipping over. Th dirty drawers with skid marks are there for ll to see.

  • Ron Mackey

    Bridgeport’s Burdens

    “Is the city’s problem bad election choices–or something deeper?”

    by Alan Greenblatt | November 2007

    The last two mayors of Bridgeport, Connecticut, brought disgrace to the office in a rather serious way. Next month, the city gets to start over again with a new chief executive, and this offers at least the potential for optimism that things will get better. They could hardly get worse. But Bridgeport citizens might be forgiven for wondering whether the city’s problems are really the result of a couple of bad actors–or whether there is something in the entrenched political system that is at the root of the trouble.

    John Fabrizi, the outgoing mayor, admitted last year that he had abused cocaine and alcohol while in office. Then he created further embarrassment by testifying as a character witness on behalf of a convicted sex offender. Fabrizi himself took office back in 2003 after the previous mayor, Joseph Ganim, was sent to federal prison on corruption charges. A local state senator was sent to the same prison in a related bribery case.

    All of these humiliations led state Representative Chris Caruso to base his mayoral campaign in 2007, logically enough, on the theme of cleaning up city hall. But it didn’t work.

    While Caruso talked non-stop about corruption, his opponent, state Senator Bill Finch, who had no apparent skeletons in his past, ran on education and development issues and promised residents a $600 break on their property taxes.

    Finch won the September primary by a margin of 270 votes. This did not end Caruso’s complaints that Finch was tied to a corrupt party machine. Caruso filed suit seeking to overturn the election results, citing numerous irregularities. An unsuccessful city council candidate who also lost narrowly to a party-backed candidate filed a nearly identical suit.
    Bridgeport, an industrial city in long decline, currently stands on the cusp of finalizing some major redevelopment projects. Some residents are concerned that Finch, as part of the local machine, will continue the city’s long cycle of patronage abuse and corruption. But even some Caruso backers note that their man never really made the case against Finch, and are urging him to get over the fact that he lost.

    “People perceived that Finch was more specific and more positive,” says Donald Greenberg, a politics professor at Fairfield University who ran on Caruso’s ticket for the Board of Education. “They did not seem to associate him with the old guard.”

    Alan Greenblatt | Staff Writer

    Think about this, Bill Finch won the September primary by a margin of 270 votes over Chris Caruso, what a big mistake.

    • The Bridgeport Kid

      Bill Finch won the primary because Mario Testa and the rest of the old boys on the DTC were terrified at the prospect of a Caruso Mayoralty. If I remember right Caruso was all bellicose, bellowing about voting machines floating in the surf off Seaside Oark.

      • Ron Mackey

        Derek, you got that right, Mario Testa and the rest of the old boys on the DTC and Paul Timpanelli and his gang were scare to death of Chris Caruso becoming mayor plus Bill Finch didn’t want to be mayor but he was drafted by these guys.

  • Ron Mackey

    Here is a goods history of Mario Testa for everyone who truly wants change with the Democratic Town Committee. This is a MUST read especially for Bridgeport Generation Now and any other group or voter in Bridgeport.

    Mariocracy: a force to be reckoned with in Bridgeport politics

    At lunchtime on St. Patrick’s Day, Mario Testa steps into his restaurant kitchen to find the water already boiling. [...] he ladles in his secret sauce — or “gravy,” he said — and stirs a meal for someone he’s met several times from Washington. Barring forces outside Testa’s control, the meal would land on the vice president’s desk for dinner. Toiling in his Madison Avenue restaurant, 64-year-old Democratic Town Chairman Mario Testa has made a career serving up Italian fares, political fo…

    https://www.ctpost.com/local/article/Mariocracy-a-force-to-be-reckoned-with-in-1340518.php

  • Andrew C Fardy

    The answer is NO

  • Andrew C Fardy

    Total unmitigated pie in the sky Bullshit. Here is an example from their 7 points “6. Support elected and public officials who say NO to corruption.” Well what politician running for office is going to say they favor corruption. Pie in the sky bullshit. You need people to come forward that have knowledge of corruption. examples $400,000 driveway out at the airport, foreclosures for WPCA the entire city attorneys office and the list goes on. I know people
    that have what it takes(evidence) and the wont come forward (you know who you are) .They say they have a strong network of people and leaders doing this work Where are they and what have they done.

  • John Marshall Lee

    Generation Now,
    Thank you for your continuing campaign to educate and inform local citizens on the bones, vessels, organs, and tissues of the “governance system” operating at this time. Compared to many towns and committees in CT we have a weak system of fiscal representation for the taxpayer and an even weaker force of elected and appointed officials, for the reason that many of them wear more than one hat in the system and don’t understand all of their duties in one or more of the roles and therefore underperform.
    The will of the people is not carried out, because it is not sought by those in office at the grass roots, but at the tables of the high and mights. Self interest too frequently replaces the common good. Short term decision making is the rule of the day. We can kick the can down the road for the tough choices. The taxpayer will pay now and later. Corruption is present with many faces. Like eating mushrooms, you need some expertise to choose those which are edible, and identify those that may sicken or cause death. Time will tell.

  • Ron Mackey

    Generation Now, I’m glad that the group has been form and they you are trying to make a difference here in Bridgeport. I would like to make a few suggestions, first you just can’t say corruption and expect the voters to agree with you, in fact they might not except what you are talking about if you have no background and facts about corruption. Second, just saying Mario Testa is bad without anything to bad up what you are saying. Your video and questions above to me is not effective. That’s why I post two news article to provide a little history to support your position.

    • The Bridgeport Kid

      I think they are undeafeatable, Ron. People engaged out of personal belief, out of FAITH, are following a higher calling, a purpose.

  • Jeff Kohut

    Once they get their political “street cred” from their “lofty” efforts in downtown B-PORT, it will be back to the Gold Coast to start their real careers and re-establish residency in Muffy Town as heirs to the Kingdom — where their Bridgeport experience will prepare them to more fully profit and exploit Bridgeport and its real residents for political/business gains…

    Go home, Generation Later… You are phony — if not totally clueless And certainly ineffectual… (But Mummy and Daddy are surely proud of their little Biffs and Muffys as they brave the badlands of Bridgeport in pursuit of their ultimate careers and entitled, lofty positions…)

  • John Marshall Lee

    Jeff,
    Did you have some stomach upset as you wrote the above??

    Bridgeport has had some folks move to town over the years, older, down-sizers from the burbs, happy to be closer to the water or neighborhoods where people walk dogs or have children in evidence (not 2-3acre zoning). Those folks of the past 2-3 decades are older.
    Gen-Now seems different to me in the way they are organized, what they have agreed to pursue, as well as what they have decided not to follow. There are enough who are serious and committed to have false starts, or gaps in coverage. They are tech savvy and use it. They have generated enough funds to support their actions and are having fun generating research and study of how the City works and sharing it….Tom Friedman in his most recent book THANK YOU FOR BEING LATE: An Optimist’s Guide to Thriving in the Age of Accelerations shared that going into journalism for him was to pursue “explanatory journalism”. He “went into journalism” to be ” a translator from English to English”. I see the individuals who are operating under the banner of Generation Now to be similar.

    They are serious about the City and what it may become. They are serious about their careers and families. They are used to TEAM Work where people are expected to perform an assigned or agreed to responsibility and they are having fun.
    THAT IS A POWERFUL COMBINATION OF FACTORS. Plus the City has a large housing stock at lower prices than surrounding. And if you have children, there are serious alternatives for schooling if the public choices continue to disappoint. Instead of projecting self-interest, defeat, and a dystopian outcome, can you provide some facts to support your viewpoint? Time will tell.

  • Jeff Kohut

    John: I have come to accept the fact that, more often than not, even really intelligent people, such as yourself, simply won’t allow themselves to consciously perceive realities that are dissonant with their hopes and expectations… All of the information that you need to understand my post is right under your nose… Don’t be afraid to sniff; olfaction is a legitimate way to garner important environmental information — even for humans… (Sometimes, if you position your head appropriately, you can even pick up the scent of corruption coming into Bridgeport from the southwest breeze coming off of I-95 and the Sound…)

    • The Bridgeport Kid

      If you have a better operation by ll means share it with the class, Jeff. Bridgeport Generation Now is working to change things here. Sure a few of them are building résumés. So what? What fucking difference does it make? You were young and idealistic at one point in life. I’m sure if it.

  • Jeff Kohut

    I still am Kid…

    This city doesn’t need another “operation”… It needs some independent, critical thinking focusing on three dimensions — local, state, federal (elected officials/policy). Dogs explore in two dimensions (ground level). Wolves explore in three… Right now, we’re so focused on the “power” of our minor operations in our single, local dimension, we can’t get out of our own way… Right “Now”; we’re not even (2-dimensional)”dogs,” with respect to our self-advocacy… We need to be wolves… Very little will be accomplished by trying to win the Battle for Bridgeport by beating ourselves up and otherwise pissing into the wind… We need to make noise in Hartford and DC — and hold our state and federal representation accountable (at election time). Once the big boys get interested in helping us — and bring some money, and jobs (respectfully) to Bridgeport — everything will right itself… Our house will clean and repair itself (we’ll have the economic “tools”)… Right now we’re just soiling our own nest and tearing it down… You’re a musician and word-smith — I know that you can appreciate my metaphorical manner of thinking/speaking in regard to Bridgeport’s political/socioeconomic situation and the remediation thereof…

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