Bridgeport Rising? The New G.I. Joe?

Incorrigible policy wonk Jeff Kohut asserts in this commentary Bridgeport will rise under Joe Ganim. Kohut, 2011 petitioning candidate for mayor, was one of Ganim’s many campaign soldiers. Kohut maintains this time around Ganim will be a different Government Issued Joe.

Most people of normal intellect and emotions love a come-back story–unless it involves murderers, war criminals, sex predators, or the like. That is why I believe the story of Joe Ganim’s comeback–as the redeemed, fallen Golden-boy mayor of Bridgeport–will, by itself, provide a tailwind for the come-back story of Bridgeport.

What everyone has to realize in order dispel the dissonant ideas concerning the unlikely comeback stories of Joe Ganim and the City of Bridgeport–especially the marriage of the two–is both Joe Ganim and Bridgeport were channeled into situations of despair and degradation by the same set of destructive forces that have been operating on the latter for nearly six decades.

Indeed, the inductive presence of parasitic opportunism that has caused Bridgeport’s vitality and regenerative wherewithal to be transformed into the prosperity and comfort of suburban Fairfield County, were the self-same inductive forces operating on the vulnerable appetites and egos of the young, powerful leading players of Bridgeport politics during the greed-driven, freewheeling atmosphere of 1990s American society.

With the powerful forces representing the burgeoning economies and affluent populations of 1990s suburban Fairfield County (seeking to exploit the benefits of cheap, Bridgeport labor and devalued, exploitable Bridgeport land and infrastructure) competing, and at cross-purposes with the young, Bridgeport leadership attempting to navigate the hazards of piles of “easy” ’90s money seeking optimal conditions for safe, “guaranteed” growth opportunities (a la casinos, affordable housing development, suburb-serving box store locations, etc.), there were bound to be legal/moral/ethical casualties among those unprepared to swim in the political riptide created by the collision of these forces.

While these conditions/situations describe the regional and larger conditions of the world in which Bridgeport was cannibalistically exploited in the course of the “globalization” process during the latter half of the last century, they also describe the political conditions/situations that inductively seduced the young Joe Ganim and his inner circle during the time of his ill-fated ascension to political prominence.

Bridgeport, our country and the world have finally begun to assimilate the painful lessons of the aforementioned period. Joe Ganim has also begun to assimilate these lessons. But full appreciation of the pitfalls of ambition, greed, and ostentation are slow to come, and easily lost, which is why history so often repeats itself.

Will history keep repeating itself in Bridgeport? Will Joe Ganim once again fall prey to the competing forces that will be involved in the attempt to resurrect the Bridgeport economy?

This longtime observer and Bridgeport activist does not believe history will repeat itself in the emerging political era of the New Bridgeport led by the New Joe Ganim. Joe Ganim has been placed on a trajectory that is highly unlikely to be coincident with that of the nefarious forces that would seek to bring his administration into their orbit, and the New Bridgeport has been driven into Joe Ganim’s new trajectory via the electoral process that has given Joe Ganim access to redemption.

So this lifelong Bridgeporter and Ganim supporter, someone who clashed with the Old Joe Ganim, sees a new Joe Ganim who has embraced the process of assimilating the painful lessons learned in the Old Bridgeport and who will pursue redemption for himself, his city, and its people with a vengeance. The new Joe Ganim is far too intelligent and humbled by his post-Golden Boy travails to deny himself, his city and its people a second chance to shine and have a long-overdue “day in the sun.”

So I would say to all the disparate political camps in Bridgeport: let’s all stop vilifying each other. We have nothing to gain by maintaining anger and antipathy toward each other. We are all Bridgeporters, with homes and friends and families that depend upon our mutual concern, vigilance, and assistance in regard to each other’s well-being. In a related vein, we must do everything in our power to provide oversight, encouragement and assistance, with respect to resonating with the prescribed, legitimate functions of our leadership (whether we voted for them or not).

And, in regard to our newly-elected city leadership, in particular, in regard to Mayor-elect Joseph P. Ganim, I would say you must not forget (for even one second!) you have pursued and assumed the sacred duty of leading, and advocating on the behalf of the populace of a socioeconomically besieged city. You must never allow our best interests to be undermined by the powerful, wealthy communities that surround us, and you must fight to make Bridgeport “first among equals” in regard to Fairfield County/Connecticut municipalities. You must show the utmost gratitude to the people of Bridgeport (and the Almighty) for your most unlikely “second chance.”

Bridgeport Rising!



  1. I am a lover of the people of Bridgeport today as well as many of those who came here to seek out their fortune in the variety of ways life journeys unfold. That has been my motivation in seeking to learn as much as time, curiosity and diligence have permitted for more than five years. My path has been lit by other writers on this site, as well as by readers, especially when they are willing to do some research and engage in discussion, often bringing new facts or viewpoints for consideration.

    Public trust was sorely abused but a clear majority of the voters have declared, NO MATTER. Batter up. And most of us are happy the election is over, and anxious to see the face of the new administration. Will they be genuine Bridgeport residents and taxpayers? Will they suffer the conflicts of interest often found in recent administrations, not merely on the City Council? Will they practice OPEN, ACCOUNTABLE, TRANSPARENT and HONEST governance regularly? Or will FOI continue to be the order of the day? Will the IT department that has been overbudgeted or underserving the public for several years, rise to the occasion and treat the entire public equally? If it is in electronic form, can the public access it that way (and also modernize City Clerk and other City Hall offices to serve the public better, faster and with more lasting comprehension? Will the public have tables and charts in dashboard format to reveal accurate and timely info on the Net Taxable Grand List, Department goals and results, and instructions for the variety of Departments where info is sought? Will the City Council get some staffing to bring its members up to speed? Will questions be answered by the New Ganim Administration? Would that be a step in a positive direction to build bridges and confirm a change? Time will tell.

  2. Joe Ganim as mayor needs to clean house of certain people but the top of that list is the City Attorney Mark Anastasi. Yes, Mark did everything he could to protect Joe from having his phone records given out during the court case but times have changed and Anastasi must go. Police and the fire chief need to go and changes in the Labor Relation Office and David Dunn, this is just a start and yes some may be friends but change must be done.

    1. Anastasi should move on. He has been a stalwart blocker of information and has at the least given the appearance the city government and administrators had a right or privilege to guard information from the public and the council. Perhaps he is ready for a change also. One clear sign of a new city government will be a new beginning in the city attorneys department. For too long, people assume a certain continuity is needed and experience and knowledge of specific issues in city government is reason enough to keep the old crew time and again. Let’s see some new pathways charted in Bridgeport. First order of business is to create a more citizen-friendly environment, on the streets and in the halls of government.

  3. Well, I will stick to my word. I believe Joe is going to be outstanding. The Hartford Courant did a great article. Although not very flattering to Ganim, Finch or Foster and suggested the city should have rallied behind Torres, I thought it addressed the obvious. I refuse to spend any energy being critical of Ganim. The campaign is over. The city will not lose a beat. Somebody mentioned Steelpointe has only three tenants. That is not true. There is also the luxury cineplex and the hotel. Joe Ganim is a very smart and personable guy. He has the opportunity of a lifetime. The people of Bridgeport put him there. I totally believe he will make us proud. I believe he will do it for his children above all else. I have seen Joe with his 14-year-old son on many occasions. I see a young man who believes in his dad. I do also. I have spoken to many developers when I was supporting Mayor Finch. They seemed very concerned and although I totally agreed, I still believed Joe Ganim could and would work twice as hard to change the narrative.
    If Bill Finch won the election the city would have continued moving forward. If Foster decided not to run or was not supported by Mayor Finch, I would have supported Joe Ganim. Fate took a different turn. I will not spend one moment bashing Ganim. He will be excellent. Why? Because he has the city standing behind him. A landslide. Personally, if the Republican party’s intention is to make Joe Ganim the poster child of corruption for all of their candidates across the state, think again. Bridgeporters will not allow it.

    I am glad Mayor Bill Finch will still be in office to enjoy the grand opening of Bass Pro. This will be a milestone for our city. I know within the next four years Joe Ganim will be enjoying many exciting milestones. I never believed in the mantra anyone but Ganim. He will be an inspiration to many who feel hopeless.

    Good Luck Mayor-Elect Joe Ganim. The city is behind you (unless of course you are a Republican).

  4. Here’s Bridgeport’s full employment program:

    No factories needed, just the brainpower that made them work. What Joe Ganim needs is a former enthusiastic volunteer who wants an assignment and not a job. Bridgeport could become a global center of manufacturing prowess without building a single factory–no pollution and no time clocks. Just upside without any downside.


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