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Will Large Crowds Continue At City Council Meetings?

September 5th, 2016 · 50 Comments · City Budget, City Council, News and Events

The last two full monthly meetings of the City Council were packed courtesy of noisy homeowners, predominantly from Black Rock, West Side and North End, cranky about their July 1 tax bills. Affiliates of Citizens Working For A Better Bridgeport helped drive the turnout. They’re trying to keep up the heat asserting in a Facebook post “No, Mayor Ganim, we are not going away until we hear from you with some answers and a concrete plan to address the fiscal health of our city.”

The council reconvenes from summer session for a full meeting on Tuesday. See full agenda here. Public speaking starts at 6:30 p.m. followed by the meeting at 7.

Come out to the City Council meeting to show them that you care and you won’t be silenced until REAL CHANGE comes to Bridgeport.

With poor schools, limited employment opportunities, spiking gun violence, ever increasing taxes, and no plan to create a better future, Bridgeport is headed in the wrong direction.

STAND UP, Bridgeport!

See you next Tuesday.

It’s been a long, long time since large packs of citizens crammed council meetings. Citizen fiscal scrutineer John Marshall Lee and a few others have been regulars for years trying to cut through the tinny council chamber acoustics. Lately, they’ve had plenty of company.

How long will it continue?

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50 Comments so far ↓

  • Frank Gyure

    The “crowd” needs to expand through all parts of the city and needs to work on the everyday hard work of building coalitions to change things. Social media is helpful but the door-to-door street-to-street work cannot be replaced. We have LOCAL elections in November, Committee (especially DTC) elections in the Spring and City council Primaries and Elections in LATE 2017. THAT SHOULD BE THE GOAL.

    • Ron Mackey

      Frank, I agree with you. I don’t see CW4BB expanding to other areas of Bridgeport outside of Black Rock and parts of the North End. Maintaining large crowds is hard to do. CW4BB is presumed to be a Republican-led organization and that’s one reason they will not expand. Mayor Ganim has no need to react until they can show their action will hurt him and as you have pointed out Frank, that can be done by the election process you have listed.

      • Lisa Parziale

        Ron, I was invited to attend a meeting of CW4BB, and I did. I was then invited to come back to another meeting held the following week, I did. I knew a few people, there was attendance from other districts, and I especially felt optimistic with Pete Spain facilitating the agenda. I believe this vehicle could be effective addressing not only issues of finances, but concerns of the average person in every district. The group I met were sincere, professional and committed to do the work necessary to bring all areas of Bridgeport residents together to talk, vent and give input. It’s a lot of work, but it can be done. With the cooperation of seasoned like-minded people who will give this effort a chance, I see it as a real beginning for change. If we don’t get involved and show the same old, same old, politicians change will come despite their pushback and efforts to buy off the followers, we may not see it in our lifetime. Short story, and I don’t know how many are still around when we pulled this off, but about six of us young, energetic, future politicians started an organization called “The North End Democratic Club.” It was in the early ’70s. The club eventually had well over 250 citywide members, and we elected Mayor John Mandanici. The rest is history, and I don’t know how many of the original founders are still with us. CW4BB is a non-partisan group of dedicated people who could be onto something. With the lack of an alternative because of laziness, I’m going to play this out. I don’t know yet where I fit in, but I’ll figure it out with the help of Pete.

        • Ron Mackey

          Lisa, organizing and keeping a movement together is very hard. I’m really glad to hear Pete Spain is facilitating the meetings, it is people like Pete who need to step forward, again that’s a great move with Pete. Time will tell (JML).

          • Lisa Parziale

            Ron, good morning, I’m up with the roosters, I have a dog who gets up early. Thank you for responding to me because you know how much your advice and opinions mean to me. What caught my attention at these two meeting was the authentic involvement of those I observed. There were no politicians, didn’t appear to me anyone wanted anything other than a start to help with change. I think it’s the first time I attended a meeting without politics and self-serving agendas. I hope this can be a way to change the mindset of our people. Sometimes I get the feeling they don’t think they deserve better. I know it’s a gradual process and it won’t be successful unless people like you, me, and other experienced, politically minded people with integrity who have lived through the unfairness of a few calling the shots. I will be open to any effort where participants have integrity. I adjust easily to different personalities, so long as the endgame is the same.

      • Mary Filo

        Ron, there are only three Republicans on the executive board for CW4BB. So people are “presuming” wrong. I will also go door-knocking with you anytime. I actually enjoy doing it. It’s always nice to talk to my fellow Bridgeport residents.

        • Ron Mackey

          Mary, I’m talking about Dave Walker and the fact he ran for Lieutenant Governor as a Republican. Dave’s face seems to be the face of CW4BB and people will think he is using CW4BB as his support to run again. It doesn’t matter if it’s true or not, that’s what’s out there, that’s why it’s better to have Pete Spain more out front and Dave to back off. You’re trying to bring people in.

          • Zena Lu

            Not everyone sees things as you do, Mr. Mackey. You speak from your vantage point, which is fine. There is nothing wrong with Dave Walker being the face of CW4BB from my vantage point. I do not live in Black Rock.

          • Ron Mackey

            Zena Lu, you don’t have to believe me just ask people in other districts who are not white and tell me if they know about CW4BB and do they know who Walker is. Hey there’s nothing wrong with Dave Walker being the face of CW4BB but I tell you what, it won’t attract people of color to make this group and their message expand.

          • Lisa Parziale

            Ron, I understand what you’re saying. I think that’s one of the reasons I went. I also agree with you that perception is powerful, but it’s not that way. As a matter of fact, Dave Walker wasn’t at the first meeting I attended. I don’t want to give the impression Dave Walker is a bad word to me. We’re cordial when we see each other, and other than positive change, I doubt we have anything in common. He didn’t appear to have any more to say than anyone else, as a matter of fact I thought it was politically naive of him to think Ganim would appoint a non-partisan task force to identify and make recommendations for the betterment of Bridgeport. I wanted to tell Dave that will happen when hell freezes over, but I don’t know him that well and there were a few I did know who just smirked. If you have some reservations, and they turn out to be true, I’ll be gone with the wind.

          • Ron Mackey

            Lisa, you make some good points. I understand Dave was very important in putting this group together and getting it running and that’s a good thing. Lisa, you know Joe looks at CW4BB as a Dave Walker Republican-run organization. So there is nothing wrong with changing the players around and still keeping their eyes on their objective.

          • Dave Walker

            Ron,
            It is truly sad and disappointing to see a person like you make false assertions about a person they have not met and don’t really know, namely me. I have made it clear on multiple occasions, including on this blog, that I have no plans to ever run for elective office
            again, especially Lt. Governor. Politics is not a merit, integrity and results-based business. I will, however, continue to do
            what I can to make a difference and effectuate positive change. In that regard, I cannot be at the City Council meeting tomorrow night. I am currently helping two states, two countries and a major federal agency transform their operations and finances. While I can’t be there, I encourage other people to go tomorrow night. Will you be there? Will you work to help create a better future in Bridgeport?
            Actions speak louder than words. Postings to this blog are just words.

          • Lisa Parziale

            Zena Lu, there was nothing helpful in your post. We all speak from our vantage points. I didn’t hear Dave being personally disparaged, and as far as the face of CW4BB goes, we need a lot of faces throughout the City. I don’t live in Black Rock either, but I’m giving my time to figure things out.

          • Zena Lu

            Well, sometimes opinions are not always constructive from every point of view. Mr. Walker is an active voice in Bridgeport, and we don’t have enough. His activity should not be diminished. My opinion.

    • Maria Pereira

      The 138th DTC is holding a Community Forum on a variety of topics on Sunday, September 11th. Citizens for a Better Bridgeport is on the agenda to discuss Taxes and Financial Health. We also have the BPD coming to speak about the 13 people who were shot, break-ins, thefts, ATVs/Dirt Bikes, an alleged rape in Nob Hill, etc.

      Anyone who resides or votes in the Thomas Hooker/JFK School Community is welcome to attend.

      • Phil Smith

        Maria,
        When and where is this event?

        • Maria Pereira

          The 138th Community Forum is Sunday, September 11, 2016 from 3:00 to 5:30pm at the German Club located on 416 Horace Street.

          Our Captain is on vacation so a lieutenant is coming to speak about the significant crime the 138th District experienced in August. CW4BB is speaking on Taxes/Finances, we will be introducing our new Facebook page called “138th DISTRICT In the Know.” We also have an 11-unit apartment building being proposed on Evers St. that we are organizing against.

          The only politician invited, besides the 138th DTC members who are organizing this, is Ed Gomes who we are hoping will lead us in a remembrance of the 9/11 victims.

          NO other politicians are welcome.

      • Lisa Parziale

        Zena, it’s evident you don’t get around much anymore. First of all an opinion is an opinion. Secondly, while I find Dave Walker interesting, that’s not the case of the majority. I haven’t heard of anyone suggest he or his activities should be dismissed. What I’m getting is there’s not much confidence in Dave being the Face of this initiative. Could be Dave doesn’t want to either, Pete is doing a great job, and is highly admired and respected. The end result is what matters, I’m sure Dave would agree.

    • Mary Filo

      Frank, let me know when you have time to go “door to door.” I am available to do this Monday through Friday after 6:00pm and can squeeze time in on the weekends. You have my number. I will work around your schedule. Thank you.

      • Maria Pereira

        Mary, we would love some help phone banking and going door to door to deliver fliers about our forum. We are working on it Wednesday, Friday and Saturday.

    • Lisa Parziale

      You’re right Frank, if enough people commit to building coalitions to address concerns and challenges they face because of poor financial planning, along the way candidates will be identified by their interest and understanding of how we got to this point and may begin to get politically involved, and I’ll be there to help, I’ll go to district if I’m needed, and to hell with the district leaders. All the woes of our City are directly connected to shoddy practices by the politicians who can get away with it. Then they begin blaming each other, when in fact I can attest to those Mayors who served in the past 12 years. They did nothing to encourage participation. God forbid they should be exposed for how little they knew. Has anyone really seen the financial carnage? Ganim knew what he was getting into, but was obsessed with a comeback he was not prepared handle. Andy said it best, he was smart enough the first time around to surround himself with a staff that made him look good. He’s on his own now, the right hand doesn’t know what the left hand is doing, and while he’s claiming preoccupation from the get-go, we’d better get it together, put aside conceptions, personalities and build an army of concerned citizens.

  • Bob Walsh

    Firstly, I agree with Mackey. This is Black Rockers Fighting for a Better Black Rock. There is nothing wrong with that. This is a serious problem but is primarily impacting one geographic area. And you cannot make it a citywide issue simply by saying it is.
    To my friends in Black Rock, what you need is a victory whatever you decide to define that victory to be. Something as simple as Mayor Ganim agreeing to meet with your group on your turf. No Department Heads. No advisors.
    If the mayor refuses then he has added fuel to the fire. If he agrees and shows up with Dept Heads demand that they leave or end the meeting. Make him listen and make him act.
    Come up with demands. If you want some sort of cap on elderly taxes, have a written proposal ready. If the mayor says that is a state issue, he MUST make this a priority with the state delegation AND the city lobbyists.
    But whatever those demands are they cannot be negotiable. It cannot be TRY to reduce spending by XX%.
    That is where you start.

    • Ron Mackey

      Bob, I’m in total agreement with you and you have given them a plan to use. Asking Mayor Ganim is a real good move and with no aides or department heads and advisors. Joe can handle that with no problem, he’s not Bill Finch who needed others to help him. Let’s be real here, he knows most of those are from Black Rock and who supported him during G1. Bob, they must have their talking points and follow-up questions. Everybody can’t talk, there must a few speakers and notes of everything written down and they must ask for a follow-up meeting. Don’t trust but verify. Don’t expect the issue to be resolved right away, take small victories to keep the group involved as you try to reach out to others. Bob, great advice.

      • Lisa Parziale

        Ron, I know you well enough to say Ganim will meet with them when hell freezes over. I don’t think he goes to the bathroom alone. He acts like a man who’s seriously neurotic, and quite frankly they’re way over his head, they’re honest and smart.

  • Bob Walsh

    But you need victories. Measurable, concrete victories. Without that your efforts will slowly lose momentum. All the mayor has to do is do nothing and he will survive.

    • Lisa Parziale

      Good advice, Bubba! It’s my feeling this initiative began in Black Rock, with Black Rock people. Every idea starts somewhere and this one shouldn’t be stigmatized as a one-area issue. In order to gain momentum, advice from someone like you should not be taken lightly, even though I’m prejudiced where you’re concerned, it’s because you’re smarter than the average bear. This group could grow to include residents from every part of the City with a range of different needs. There’s the potential to bring sincere people together, and it may then become a vehicle to identify appropriate individuals who may have an interest in serving in one capacity or another. The well of unrecycled characters is running dry, in order to infuse this City with new blood, not controlled by the status quo, it will take involvement, advice and a willingness to give it a chance. What do we have to lose!

  • Mary Filo

    Mr. Mackey, with all due respect, one should always first stop to ask themselves some questions, that’s what I try to do. I ask myself, “what am I doing to help the current situation at hand? Have I added to the problem or taken steps towards resolution? Have I really studied the situation at hand and explored all my options to understand how things are being done? Have I engaged and asked or taken part when asked to help solve the problem? Like JML feels, questions are important, especially the ones we ask about ourselves. Now, I haven’t met you yet Mr. Mackey, I sure won’t give up, but it might serve you well to get to know, for yourself, the hard-working members of CW4BB before you let others decide for you. We welcome all who believe Bridgeport can be and deserves better. Maria, I will get in touch. Frank, let me know if any of the dates Maria posted work for you. HAPPY LABOR DAY, OIB!

    • Ron Mackey

      Mary, Mary, Mary, thank you for your reply. I think what CW4BB is doing is good, I’m just pointing things out from my viewpoint. Mary, it’s okay for people to not like what I’m saying but if you pull back and just read and not put a face or a name to my comments you will see I’m trying to guide things in a positive direction.

      Mary, I know how to do things behind the scenes and to advise and to expand the direction. The perception of something can become the reality of what people see and are saying, CW4BB needs to change that in order to expand. You must remember who your audience is and how to get them to support you and in Bridgeport you are talking about blacks and Hispanics because those are the voters who put Ganim into office and will have no problem in taking him out of office but CW4BB needs to find that answer, attacking me won’t help anything.

      • Lisa Parziale

        Every word Ron said is true. He’s generous with his experience and advice, but you’ll never know if you don’t reach out.

      • Mary Filo

        Ron, it’s not that I don’t like what you are saying. It’s that I don’t believe you think people are listening. You seem to cast doubt before you give things a chance. You are still doubting Walker’s intentions. I have seen him and several others on here correct you about it. You seem to be under the impression CW4BB has no idea life in Bridgeport goes beyond Black Rock. I can tell you, we are moving as fast as people will accept us. We could always use help making this move faster, jump in whenever you’re ready. You are correct, this will take the entire city. That includes you, Frank and Bob. Personally, I take offense to the fact you keep referring to CW4BB as a Black Rock elite group. My feet walk this entire city and on a regular basis I spend more time outside of the Rock than in it. I have lived in three different districts in Bridgeport and my social network goes across the city. You told Citizens we need to stop and listen to people, we are doing exactly that. You cannot “listen” in a hurry. My hope is every Bpt resident on this blog finds HOPE again. Right now, that is what is needed most. I am hoping to see you, Frank and Bob tonight. I think Bob thinks I am about 24 by the reaction to my having school-aged children. He needs to see me close up and we need to talk for more than 30 seconds. I do not mean to come across as attacking, but your help is needed also and you keep holding out. Peace!

        • Ron Mackey

          Mary, good morning, let me start with your comment, “Ron, it’s not that I don’t like what you are saying. It’s that I don’t believe you think people are listening. You seem to cast doubt before you give things a chance.” Mary, allow me to use Lisa Parziale’s reply to me as my answer to you. Lisa said, “I hope this can be a way to change the mindset of our people. Sometimes I get the feeling they don’t think they deserve better. I know it’s a gradual process and it won’t be successful unless people like you, me, and other experienced, politically minded people with integrity who have lived through the unfairness of a few calling the shots.”

          Mary, you said, “We could always use help making this move faster, jump in whenever you’re ready.” Mary, I’m not fully in but I’m trying to help in my own way but I will not say what on OIB.
          Remember this, youtu.be/DfHJDLoGInM

          • Lisa Parziale

            Mary, Ron is more invested in this City than most people know. I go back with him, I know his approach to matters, he’s good!

          • Mary Filo

            Thank you Ron. I trust your word.

  • Frank Gyure

    We do have a little bit of time. Not EVERYTHING has to be done tomorrow. TIME IS OUR ALLY. Person by person, street by street, block by block, neighborhood by neighborhood, district by district, from one city line to the other.

  • Bob Walsh

    Frank,
    I disagree with you 100%. Time is Ganim’s ally. He will wait until hell freezes over and your group loses momentum. How many times do you think you can gets hundreds of people showing up at a council meeting with nothing getting accomplished?
    Ganim wins the longer this goes on.

  • Ron Mackey

    Bob, you’ve got that right, Ganim and the City Council will wait them out because people will get tired so go with what you’ve got as you try to expand. What is the position of the two Council members in the 130th district? You have to start at home first.

  • Jimfox

    Will someone please go over to Mackey’s house and remove the battery from his Life Alert button hanging from his neck?

  • Andrew C Fardy

    You can have all the people you want at this meeting and nothing will change. The people in Black Rock had two chances to change things and they FAILED. They could have elected a new town committee but Danny Roach won. They could have won two council seats when JML and Ms. Toms ran and again they FAILED, they elected Roach’s relative and some other yes man. These meetings are a waste of time and actually an insult to everyone that goes because the council doesn’t listen and most stay in the back room during public speaking.

    • Frank Gyure

      ALL of that is in the past. All of that was before the reval “bomb,” the property tax increase and, most importantly, we are seeing a flailing and failing Ganim Administration. We have elections this November. Most importantly, City Council Elections in November 2017. The main issues: a puppet City Council that blindly supports an ineffective Ganim Administration.

      • Lisa Parziale

        Frank, I went to the Council meeting tonight and made sure I was there to hear the public speakers. My jaw dropped when I observed one of the Black Rock council members texting through the entire public speaking portion. It was blatant and disrespectful. The fact most of the audience were from Black Rock didn’t seem to faze this Black Rock council person.

        • Frank Gyure

          Lisa, I was there myself and saw Kathryn Bukovsky, CC person from the 130 (and sister of Dan Roach) texting through much of the public speeches. McBride-Lee was also looking as if she were texting as well.

          • Lisa Parziale

            Frank, why didn’t you come say hi? I haven’t met you yet (I don’t think). On another observation, since McCarthy wasn’t present, another Council member chaired the public speaking portion. She never said “good evening,” she never thanked the speakers after they spoke, her only remarks were akin to a Hitler loyalist, in a loud voice she commanded the public speakers not to exceed five minutes, she repeated this and only this at least four times. The only thing she didn’t do was bang the gavel as she was giving orders. The people in the audience looked as if they were watching a player in a bad horror movie. I feel petty with my remarks, but they’re true and you almost had to witness it to get the true picture. The council members who were in attendance, barely a quorum, for this speaking portion, sat staring into space as if they weren’t quite sure why they were there. It was like a shock to my system remembering the Council members and Council etiquette just ten years ago.

    • Ron Mackey

      Andy, sad but true. I’ve said the same thing over and over again just like you and others. This is a very heavy lift.

  • Andrew C Fardy

    Everyone living in Black Rock knew an assessment was coming. Thy knew the taxes were going up yet they voted for status quo. Black Rock is the most up-to-date group in the city when it involves issues but voting-wise not so good.

  • John Marshall Lee

    Ganim had a TRANSITION GROUP that filed a report. You can download from the City site. Page 12 carries a suggestion for “Open Forums for Constituent Involvement.” The Task Force recommends these OPEN FORUMS “continue on a regular basis and be spearheaded by City Council Members. (Have CC members read the Report and seen the recommendation?)

    And in item 3 it suggests the “City Council use these meetings for bi-directional communication (two-way conversation? what a concept?) both as updates from City Council to constituents and feedback from Constituents.”

    Now there was a meeting last week with PT Barnum residents at Crooks Center. Maria is holding such a meeting in the 138th. There are more planned and they are not in the Rock, whether you consider it Black Rock or White Rock. CW4BB has met in downtown for its initial assemblies. There is movement. There are many folks who lost too much value as well as those whose valuations cannot be realized when they put their homes on the market. Thank Finch’s first pass at 2013 valuation and cowardice. Thank Ganim for deflating some revenues of the 2016-17 budget just showing up and putting out a phony Police Department budget report. Be ready for more speaking of Truth to Power, as well as Power ignoring it until it is too late. Time will tell.

  • Andrew C Fardy

    These meetings with the police chief or his representative are a waste of time. I will never attend another one of these dog and pony shows. We have had a number of these meetings here in the 138th and they were sad. The police brass that showed up lied and just bullshitted us to death. The 138th went from no crime to a little crime and now we have had shootings a murder and many other crimes. What do we get? Lip Service.
    I have lived in the 138th for 73 years and have watched it deteriorate beyond belief. The downfall of this neighborhood started after Mandanici left office and continues to this day.

    • Frank Gyure

      Perfect timing. Mandanici left, and by that time the departure of industry and factories left Bridgeport in the ditch. The question NOW is can we climb back out.

      • Ron Mackey

        Frank, let’s not forget the federal scandal that rocked his administration with some people going to jail during that same timeframe. Public housing in Bridgeport were true drug markets with drugs being sold out in the open. Bridgeport police wouldn’t go in there to make arrests because Bridgeport PD said federal money was being used to pay the Housing Police under BHA. The Housing Police wore the same uniforms as the Bridgeport PD but they didn’t have the same arrest power.

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