I just don’t know what all the fuss is about with IL Guv Blago demanding grease for appointing Barack’s U.S. senate replacement. I mean the guy wanted to get paid. So? It’s as if the governor was saying Okay, boys, line up, I’m a whore but what pol isn’t? No time to waste, step right up and slime me good and hard.
In the end, it was probably nothing compared to those blood-sucking jackals on Wall Street, right. What’s a little supplemental income among friends?
Besides, selling jobs, contracts and appointments in Bridgeport has been going on for decades. Now, Leonard, those days are over, right? This is a new era of transparency. No double-dipping, no short cuts, no jobs wired in exchange for political support or fundraising. No phony selection committee to provide cover for the inevitable.
Isn’t it just better to say, he supported me, he raised money for me, he’s qualified, of course I want his law firm as bond counsel?
No slimy squid pro quo in Bridgeport. Hey, pass the calamari!
I recall the night of Tom Bucci’s inauguration as mayor in 1985. I was Bucci’s press secretary for the campaign and the indomitable (future state representative) Chris Caruso served as campaign manager. (Yes, Chris was just the same then as he is today.)
Chris’ political godfather Richard Pinto, the North End district leader that had demanded Chris be campaign manager, had never actually stepped foot in the mayor’s office on Lyon Terrace because he’d been fighting with so many mayors through the years.
Bucci managed to secure Pinto’s support by guaranteeing a bunch of jobs for his peeps and promising Caruso’s selection as Common Council president, as the legislative body was then known. That did not work out, but that’s another story.
On the night of Bucci’s swearing in I had a key to the mayor’s office because Bucci had announced me as one of his administrative aides. Pinto said to me, I’d like to see the office. Sure, follow me. As we’re walking up to the second floor following the swearing-in ceremonies in council chambers, Pinto queried: “How did you get a job? You don’t have any votes.”
Pinto was right. I hadn’t one stinking vote. I was just a schmuck who joined a campaign, ended up on the winning team and was offered a $23,500 a year city job for the privilege of dealing with the media, helping constituents, scheduling the mayor, attending night meetings and serving as the mayor’s whipping boy (every mayor needs one of those). My, how times have changed, some municipal flacks now approach $100K.
After offering me a full-time paid campaign job for all of $200 per week, Bucci never actually paid me over the course of the election because he was terrified what the district leaders would think–examining campaign finance reports–of Bucci paying $200 to someone with no actual votes. Those days you needed a magnifying glass to find Bucci’s balls. So, the way Bucci looked at it, offering me a city job was a big deal because he knew the political whining that would follow.
Funny thing about my encounter with Pinto–who’d die tragically just a few months later when a car ran him over–his youngest eager son Paul, some 10 years later, would be the beginning of the end for Mayor Joe Ganim. Talk about grease–the kind Paulie larded was more than goose, duck and chicken fat combined.
Eight years ago today the federal government knocked on my door in its case Operation Hardball.
Since that time in Connecticut there’s been Joe Ganim, Phil Giordano, John Rowland, Ernie Newton and a whole lotta elected/public officials yet to come locally and nationally.
I’m much happier writing about them all.
Hey snowbirds, if you’re out and about tonight Cougar Rodgerson’s The Chinese Restaurants and more are playing at Two Boots for a Devo Tribute.
Congratulations to Harding Principal Carol Birks. I’ve met her a few times and she’s impressive. See school system release below. For more info www.bridgeportedu.org.
The Connecticut Association of Schools is pleased to announce that Carol D. Birks, principal of Warren Harding High School in Bridgeport has been selected as the recipient of the William Cieslukowski Outstanding First-Year High School Principal Award. Other recipients include: Bruce Lazar, (elementary school) principal of Chalk Hill School in Monroe, Susan Homrok, (middle school) principal of Henry James Memorial Middle School in Simsbury. These awards recognize first-year school principals from the high school, middle school and elementary school levels who have had a positive impact on their school and/or district and have demonstrated exemplary instructional and organizational leadership, a willingness to take risks, and the ability to overcome adversity.
High School Award Recipient Warren Harding High School Principal Carol D. Birks was nominated for the William Cieslukowski Outstanding First-Year Principal Award by mathematics teacher Garfield Pilliner. A visionary instructional leader, she established the Learning and Teaching Institute to support both faculty and students. She also created the school slogan “Learning Happens Here” and has worked with the entire school community to make the slogan a reality. In his nomination, Garfield stated that Carol’s “dedication, creativity, and leading by example have had a positive impact on all the members of the Warren Harding High School learning community.”
In her first year, Ms. Birks created a vision for the school that included four primary goals: (1) establishing a core curriculum; (2) fostering student engagement; (3) building capacity among the staff and community; and (4) increasing student learning for all students in all classrooms.
Ms. Birks has been a leader in strengthening relationships with the Bridgeport community, forging critical alliances with local businesses, youth agencies and civic organizations. She helped to launch the Youth Leadership Council and secure a grant to reduce violence and adolescent pregnancy.