… And For The Good News, Plus: The State Of School Kids

Mayor Bill Finch delivers his state of the city address to the Bridgeport City Council tonight.

I’ve written my share of these speeches for mayors. (Glad I’m not writing this one.) It’s hard to put a bright face on city tax increases, red ink, layoffs, low police morale, stagnant development and state government deficits threatening less aid to the state’s largest city. Governing in this atmosphere is a toothache. Everyone’s hurting. Pass the whiskey bottle.

Finch’s nature is to wax dreamily. Hizzoner will talk about the mess he inherited, the hard-hitting decisions he’s made his first 10 months, and the singles and doubles in economic development that will pay off.

The mayor wants the cleanest, greenest, most affordable city with schools that improve each year. Maybe next year.

Can you believe just four weeks left until the election? Time to load up the OIB countdown clock. What are you hearing? What’s your sense of the Chris Shays-Jim Himes race?

We learned over the weekend why Sarah Palin’s a poop. She kicked off Mac’s sleazy attack machine claiming that Barack associates with known domestic terrorists. Here’s a scary thought: with Halloween on the horizon, it could be worse for Barack — he could associate with the Snow Queen.

The Ice Lady pulled out her verbal ice pick as polls show Barack’s lead hardening. Here’s a suggestion: plant the ice pick in your “you betcha.”

This is the start of the surrogate ugliness with four weeks to go and we’ll see if McCain, 72, his last chance at being president, fans the flames of push-polling social puke. Paging Karl Rove.

McCain’s handlers are telling him we have to drive a hatchet into Barack’s head. Play the race card, play the socially unfit card, dust off Willie Horton. McCain will disassociate himself from that type of tactic while winking to his hit squad. Or will Sarah do all the winking?

News release from Bridgeport Child Advocacy Coalition

Bridgeport Children are Losing Ground

BRIDGEPORT, CT, 10/06/08 – In today’s uncertain times, Bridgeport children are barely keeping their heads above water.

Every year, the Bridgeport Child Advocacy Coalition (BCAC) reports the “State of the Child in Bridgeport.” This thoroughly-researched and well-documented report looks at key indicators of child well-being. The report compares Bridgeport’s children to children statewide. It also shows progress made from one year to the next.

This year’s report sadly shows that Bridgeport has not been able to sustain the gains it made last year. “Our 2007 report gave Bridgeport five A+’s, for achieving reductions in infant mortality, school dropout rate, child homelessness, child abuse and neglect and air pollution,” reports Barbara Edinberg, Assistant Director, BCAC. “Regrettably, three of those indicators received an “F” this year – infant mortality 50% worse; dropout rate 18% worse; children abused and neglected 12% worse. In addition, we saw an increase of more than 20% in births to teens under the age of 18 and a 15% increase in the percent of low birthweight babies.”

Edith Cassidy, BCAC Board Chair, says, “We are deeply concerned about the impact of unemployment, rising energy and food costs, and lack of affordable health coverage on Bridgeport’s children.” She adds, “How will parents manage to get their medical care and prescriptions? Will parents be forced to cut back on food purchases? Will more families fall behind on their rent and lose their housing? Bridgeport’s children already lag far behind on so many measures.”

Where is Bridgeport Failing?
• Over 10,200 Bridgeport children lived in poverty in 2006, nearly 30% of all Bridgeport children, and an increase of 575 more children than in 2005.
• Bridgeport’s rate of child poverty is more than twice the statewide rate and 50% higher than the national rate.
• More than 95% of Bridgeport public school students were economically disadvantaged or lived in families earning less than $32,560 for a family of three. Statewide, 27% of the public school students are economically disadvantaged.
• Of the 3rd – 8th grade students in Bridgeport public schools who took the Connecticut Mastery Test in spring 2008, 45% met federal standards of proficiency in reading, compared to 74% of students statewide.
• The Class of 2006 had a dropout rate of 22.4%, compared to 19% for the Class of 2005.
• In 2005, nearly 10% of all Bridgeport newborns weighed less than 5.5 pounds at birth. The number is an increase of 15% from the previous year. These babies are at risk for developmental delays and long-term disabilities.

Where is Bridgeport Improving?
• Juvenile arrests for violent crimes decreased by nearly 20%, although they were still double the statewide rate.
• The number of lead poisoned children decreased by 15%.

“More than ever, we need to be strong advocates for Bridgeport’s children,” urges Cassidy. “Our children cannot afford to lose more ground. We must continue to put the pressure on our local and state officials to achieve real change. All Bridgeport’s children deserve to be healthy, get a good education, be safe and have a roof over their heads. Their parents deserve jobs that move them out of poverty.”

The Bridgeport Child Advocacy Coalition (BCAC) is a coalition of nearly 80 local agencies and community organizations committed to improving the well-being of local children. For over 20 years BCAC has combined research, advocacy, community education and mobilization to ensure health, safety, and education for all of Bridgeport’s children.

The 2008 State of the Child in Bridgeport report can also be found on our website, www.bcacct.org



  1. Hey Lennie your liberal bent is showing. You sound like a lot of the left-wing liberal press.
    What are we supposed to do, ignore his association with Bill Ayers? Are we supposed to forget that he started his political carer with a fundraiser at the home of Bill Ayers? Lennie in case you forgot Ayers is an admitted bomber of the Pentagon and other federal Buildings. You forgot or were too young to remember how violent the weathermen were.
    Yoy can bet your ass that if McCain were associated with this terrorist you would be filling this blog with words about that association.
    You also forgot that Obama was a community organizer for Acorn, a group that has been widely associated with voter fraud and intimidation. In fact they are still involved in voter fraud as we speak.
    You also forgot about his association with Tony R and some shady land deal involving his purchase of a home.
    I won’t get into the Rev. Wright and his anti-american speeches. Obama attended that church twice a month for 20 years and never heard any of these anti-USA rants? Yeah right.
    You forgot his association with Rev. Pfleger and Louis Farrakhan.
    Lennie by the way you are a jerk for associating Sarah Palin with the losers Obama has been known to associate with. Shame on You.
    You have been like the rest of the left-leaning press ignoring Obama’s past. I know you would not ignore this stuff if it were associated with McCain. Did you forget Fair & Balanced?

  2. FAIR & BALANCED is a term used by a major news network to disguise its true feelings. It’s meant to distract viewers from their intentional and all-too-obvious political viewpoint: “we’re arch conservative and once we get your eyeballs, your hearts and minds will follow”.

    Some people reject that form of logic, oftentimes they’re OIB readers (wink).

  3. While I am at it let me state the following. Many on this blog have called for Fabrizi to be removed from his job because he admitted to using cocaine and abusing alcohol. The same people calling for his head speak glowingly of Obama. Lets put this in perspective:
    Obama has admitted to Cocaine, marijuana and alcohol use. Now granted he alleges the drug use was when he was young but it’s still drug use. The same people calling for Fabrizi’s head are singing the praises of Obama. Go figure.

  4. #1. WONDERING is an uninformed asshole who makes up the bullshit he posts.

    #2. It’s true. Charley Carroll is spending a fortune renovating his office. It’s not $100,000 as previously reported, but it is likely to be a lot of money. Mike Daly thinks that the amount of money used in these office renovations is equivalent to the salaries and costs of at least three of the people Finch fired.

  5. Wondering – With all due respect. Nobody cares!

    People are concerned with real issues, particularly the collapse of the Bush/McCain economy. Over the last month McCain has demonstrated poor judgement and little regard for competence at the highest levels of government in his choice of a running mate and that he is erratic in a time of crisis in his impulsive and incoherent responses to the current economic disaster.

    The American people are not stupid and this time around they are not going to be distracted by the mudslinging and innuendo tactics of the McCain campaign.

    As proof of the intelligence of the American voter, here is today’s Rasmusen daily tracking poll:

    Monday, October 06, 2008
    The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Monday shows Barack Obama attracting 52% of the vote while John McCain earns 44%. This is the highest level of support ever recorded for Obama and is his largest lead of the year. It also continues a remarkable twenty-five days in a row where the Democrat’s support has never declined by even a single point. The Democratic candidate has gained six full percentage points of support since Lehman Brothers collapsed to start the Wall Street mess.

  6. According to this morning’s Joe Scarborough, the negative campaigning is coming out of both sides.

    Wondering makes a very valid point … when you do not have any record of political achievement other than being elected in a push-over election, no evidence of political courage, you have to judge the character of the candidate.

    That makes Ayers, Rev. Pfleger, Rezko, 93 present votes, etc. all legitimate topics … As is Keating for McCain.

    I think that the national media to a very large degree have given Obama a pass on these issues because they like the narrative. And the same is true with the more conservative news outlets and pundits regarding Palin, for the exact same reason.

    What drives me crazy is McCain being so passive on this Wall St. meltdown and letting Biden and Obama hang everything around Bush. Fight back if you want to be president!

    Between Chris Dodd, Barney Frank and a large number of Democratic Congresspeople, they shut down any attempt at regulating this Fmae/Fmac debacle. Not to mention where the political contributions went. That should be grist for McCain’s mill.

    Frankly I am amazed that McCain has not aggressively attacked Obama on the entire Fannie Mae/FreddieMac debacle.

    (As to the Keating scandal, according to the History Channel, McCain should not have been included in the Keating 5. But since the other four defendants were Democrats, the Democratic leadership that controlled both houses insisted that McCain be included. They needed a Republican for cover. Democratic powerhouse lawyer Bill Bennet who headed up the investigation stated that McCain should not have been included.)

  7. Lennie that was a dark period for McCain and yes Keating was an economic terrorist.
    The difference between McCain and Obama is that McCain admitted he made a mistake.
    Obama stated that he went to Rev. Wright’s church twice a month for 20 years. That’s 480 sermons and not once did he hear an anti-american sermon. Amazing.

  8. John From BR: John you are right nobody cares. They think that electing a democrat is going to change their lifestyle. The same thing happened when Clinton was elected to his first term. He promised the middle class and the poor the world just like Obama is now and what happened; the largest tax increase for the middle class in history (at that time). I have asked repeatedly how Obama is going to pay for his pie-in-the-sky proposals which total over $800 Billion and no one answers. I can tell you it won’t be by just taxing the rich. John I will bet you lunch that not one thing that Obama is promising will happen in his first 4 years. In fact under his tax plan there will be more layoffs by small and medium companies.

  9. I can’t help but feel voters who are responding to polls are reluctant to say they would not vote for a black candidate and falsely state they are considering or will vote for Obama. I think the numbers are much closer than they appear to be.

  10. flubadub–You may be right. But the numbers are all moving in Obama’s direction and the margin is widening.

    Wondering–I’ll take that bet and I don’t believe we’ll have to wait the entire four years to have that lunch.

  11. Does anyone on this blog really believe that Obama will not carry Connecticut? So why all the bull crap? It’s a done deal for this state. Let’s concentrate on spelling out the differences between Shays and Himes and put Chris back in Washington where he will do more for Bpt than Obama will as prez. Himes can then look for a job on Wall St .again … maybe Dodd can help him bail him out.

  12. I’ve received two pieces of PAC mail from the National Assoc. of Realtors endorsing Shays. Gee, wasn’t Chris Shays a realtor? I betcha his brother, Tony, Shays Real Estate in Stamford and Bridgeport, made a bundle on subprime sales and steering mortgages to unscrupulous mortgage brokers.

    Shays is a phoney baloney.

  13. School Police Officer Jeff Babey earns $42,000. He is about to be laid off in the latest round of well thought out cost cutting measures taken by Finch. Charley Carroll is spending close to $100,000 to renovate his office. I don’t think it is right that we can terminate a valued asset such as Officer Babey while we allow Charley Carroll to lavish is his expensively redecorated office.

  14. Grin Reaper:

    You have everyone with half a brain grinning over your comment re: Shays Realty. I dare you to name me one realtor who wouldn’t sell his mother to make a deal. And exactly how do you get from Shays Realty to Chris directly? Wanna talk about the role of Dodd, Rangel, and Barney Frank? Chris is on record for wanting more regs, while the others like Rangel just wanted more property!

  15. Whatever happened to holier than thou Shays regarding PAC’s? Follow the money and Shays probably has a kicker in every referral to his bro. He’s a MAD Christian Scientist. Oh yeah, I forgot 2 years ago he disavowed his religion. Shays has taken the hypocritic oath.

    How’s that Palin thing working out? Christopher Shays on Palin: “She’s Awesome!” Kind of like the “fundamentals of the economy are very strong” quote. No one could disagree on that! Shays is going to take a licking like the Congressional Postal scandal. You’ve got mail!

    Speaking of property I’d like to see Chris’ love shack up in Vermont. I hear he has a sign on his gas-guzzling RV saying. “If you see this RV rockin’ don’t come a knockin’!”

    To Ayers is human. To forgive is divine.

  16. That market is down 620 points. No one can disagree with that. Does the Shays It Ain’t So Kid still believe in his plan for Social Security to be invested into the market?

  17. Warren – baked Alaska … you are toooo funny! Shays is a big phony and he is overdone, so stick a fork in him too! Obama and Himes are a sure winner here! Sorry wondering, but McCain doesn’t have a chance here. All the ugly stuff will be coming out about him just like he’s trying to dish out on Obama. McCain has plenty of skeletons in his closet too.

  18. Yahooy, Carroll’s office isn’t the only renovation going on. Gomes’ office is getting a total rehab with 3 flat screens (sounds like he is wasting money not saving!) and I hear the IT dept is also getting renovated. Where is this money coming from? Oh yeah, from the laid-off employees.

  19. One of the lead news stories in Syracuse, NY newspaper, The Post-Standard, Monday October 06, 2008, is title “McCain’s friendship with SU’s radical student leader,” David Michael Ifshin.

    Here is a small portion of that article:

    The story of Ifshin’s part in the American turbulence of 1970 – taking over the SU Administration Building, marching on Washington, organizing the trip to Hanoi – is told through files kept by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The cross references that mention Ifshin’s activities number 684 pages.

    “The Justice Department asked the FBI to obtain evidence that the group would be violating the Logan Act, a 1798 law that prohibited citizens from influencing a foreign government in its disputes with the United States.

    Ifshin’s group of 15 students spent two weeks in Vietnam, returning Dec. 21, 1970, with “joint declarations of peace” from North and South Vietnamese student groups.

    During his stay in Hanoi, the Vietnamese persuaded Ifshin to record a message for broadcast to U.S. soldiers in South Vietnam. The FBI file includes a full transcript. The following are excerpts:

    “My name is DAVID IFSHIN … The U.S. government does not go to South Vietnam to fight for democracy or to defend the right of the people, but they go there and send us to murder the people of Vietnam in order to make South Vietnam into one large U.S. military base. …

    “We call on GIs to strengthen their anti-war movement … to demand an end to all U.S. involvement in Vietnam … and the securing of Vietnam as an independent country, giving the Vietnamese people their rights to independence, freedom and unity. All power to the people!”

    When Ifshin made his recording, John McCain was “an involuntary guest of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam, ” the senator recalled in 1993. “At that time, I would have been reluctant to call David my friend.”

    McCain and Ifshin joined forces to establish the Institute for Democracy in Vietnam. They became good friends united in their dedication to human rights and democracy for the Vietnamese people.

    They were still friends when Ifshin was diagnosed with cancer in November 1995. “When I heard about it, ” McCain told Lewis, “it did pass through my mind: Suppose I had told David Ifshin to get the hell out of my office. How would I feel about myself now?”

  20. Ron you might want to for once tell the whole story. BTW David Ifshin was council to Clinton during his campaigns. Here is an excerpt from a column written by David Broder on 6/25/05:

    McCain himself served in Vietnam and endured 5 1/2 years of captivity and torture in a Hanoi prison camp. But unlike many others who fought in that war or protested against it, such as John Kerry, McCain has always insisted that Vietnam was not the defining experience of his life. Long before he undertook this act of reconciliation within the Senate, he had made peace in his own life with the antiwar protesters of his generation.

    Twenty years ago McCain accepted apologies from an activist named David Ifshin when they met at a Washington forum. They formed a friendship. Ifshin, who had gone to Hanoi in 1970 and made an antiwar radio broadcast that was piped into McCain’s prison, later became a close friend of and campaign counsel to President Bill Clinton.

    When Ifshin died of cancer in 1996, McCain delivered a eulogy at the funeral, saying of Ifshin, “He always felt passionate about his country. He always tried to do justice to others … I learned about courage from David, learned to look for virtue and I learned the futility of looking back in anger.”

    McCain himself served in Vietnam and endured 5 1/2 years of captivity and torture in a Hanoi prison camp. But unlike many others who fought in that war or protested against it, such as John Kerry, McCain has always insisted that Vietnam was not the defining experience of his life. Long before he undertook this act of reconciliation within the Senate, he had made peace in his own life with the antiwar protesters of his generation.

    Ron next time tell the whole story and not a gotcha story like you tried to do here.

  21. Hey guys I was around the Black Rock area today and I noticed they are very politically active in some parts and not in others. The lower Brewster, Wilson St, Benet St and Fox street are the only places being neglected by the candidates. I suggest the Himes and Musto campaign go on these streets and put yard signs on them too and talk to voters because every vote counts. And Musto has to start getting some name recognition around my part of town Longfellow because Moore beat him 2 to 1 there. So if any one from the Himes campaign or Musto campaign is listening you must cover the lower half of Black Rock: Brewster, Wilson, Benet, Fox streets and cover the PT section of Black Rock.

  22. wondering, you sure seem to know your history. For sure you are supporting McCain and most on here are definitely voting for Obama, but still I respect your point of view. That’s what’s so good about our country; freedom of choice and to vote and not have to worry about getting thrown in jail or killed because you did. We take a lot for granted. My point is that everyone should vote for who they want, even if other people don’t agree with your choice.

  23. “Wondering,” thank you for making my point. McCain can forgive someone who hated America like David Michael Ifshin and who changed his life to do positive things but then wants to condemn Obama for his past relationship with Bill Ayers.

    Ayers was a founder of the violent Weather Underground group during the Vietnam era. Its members were blamed for several bombings when Obama was a child. Ifshin and Ayers were of the same mindset during the same time frame when Obama was just a child.

    Although Obama has denounced Ayers’ radical views and activities, McCain can forgive Ifshin radical views and activities but Obama is friends with a terrorist Bill Ayers. It seems that McCain had a friend who was a radical terrorist.

    McCain wants to play guilt-by-association, OK, let`s try Charles Keating.

  24. The feds are in the process of tying the loose ends in their probe (Operation Board Games) of Chicago politicians. As Lennie mentioned above, “four weeks ’til election day.”

    I’m estimating and predict that in Two (2) to Three (3) weeks we will see the climax of ‘Operation Board Games’ and how high it will go in the Chicago political establishment. Will it reach beyond the Governor of Illinois (Ron Blagojevich) and his wife Patti? Will America’s favorite, fluffy and huggable brown teddy bear go down? Will the Syrian – Antoin (Tony) Rezko, keep quiet like Syrian Joseph P. Ganim? I’ll keep you informed!

  25. Ron you are a great spin doctor. First Ayers never apologized for his bombings and in fact after 911 he stated that was not enough. Just saw a recent photo of him standing on the American flag.
    David Michael Ifshin apologized for his actions and apologized to McCain. Now in my opinion if a guy who spent over 5 years in a POW camp can forgive this person then who am I or for that matter who are you to be critical?
    Keating 5 investigation was run by the Democratic majority. They had 4 Dems under review and needed a republican. The committee exonerated McCain of any wrong doing.
    By the way Ron a protestor of the Vietnam war can not be put in the same class as Ayers and the weathermen.


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