It’s Your Fault; No, It’s Your Fault

New week. What are you hearing? Will mayor Bill Finch unleash a new round of layoffs to close the budget gap? Some boards and commissions, for lack of appointments, are having trouble organizing quorums. I’m hearing the city’s engineering department is a staffing mess. How’s police overtime coming along? Can Steelpointe be saved?

The Bush administration is taking control of mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Democratic Congressional candidate Jim Himes says it’s Chris Shays’ fault.

“Chris Shays didn’t speak out in Washington while serving on the Financial Services committee,” said Himes. “Chris Shays failed to do his job. In Congress, I’ll insist that Congress do it’s job and closely watch the financial services industry so that we can prevent these failures that result in taxpayers spending billions on last minute bailouts.”

This is the challenge of new Himes campaign top dog Dana Houle, former congressional staffer and Daily Kos contributor, who will try to poise his candidate with two months left: how to reposition him?

Himes is a good guy, bright, intelligent. But he doesn’t tell you clearly what he will do. Every day I get press releases of Himes kicking Shays. Okay, what’s Jim gonna do? You cannot take out a 21-year incumbent like Shays by jabbing him for every national problem. Himes’ rationale for running has to be something better than it’s all Shays fault. The good news is they have time.

See Shays’ response to the mortgage crisis below:

Shays Reiterates Call for Increased Transparency and Oversight of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac

Washington , D.C. – In the wake of the government takeover of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, Congressman Christopher Shays (CT-4), a long-time advocate for stronger regulation of these government sponsored enterprises (GSEs), expressed concern that improved oversight and transparency of these GSEs could have helped avoid the need for the takeover.

“It seems to me, a stronger regulator of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac might have seen today’s challenges coming,” Shays stated. “At the very least they would have made certain these enterprises that buy, hold, guarantee, package and sell mortgages avoided the kinds of exotic mortgage products or questionable loans that have contributed to the current crisis in the mortgage markets.”

“The current challenges facing Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac underscore the need for stronger oversight of the GSEs,” said Shays continued. “I am grateful the House finally passed legislation to increase the oversight and transparency of these two companies.”

Shays authored the bipartisan Leave No Securities Behind Act, which would bring Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in line with all other publicly-traded companies. His bill would have increased transparency of the companies, thereby reducing systemic risk and enhancing investor protection — without compromising the housing mission of these two GSEs.

Significant portions of Shays’ proposal are included in H.R. 3221, the Foreclosure Prevention Act, which strengthens regulation of Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the Federal Home Loan Bank system. Shays also supported Chairman Frank’s amendment, which would create a new regulator with enhanced oversight authority over the GSEs.

Fannie and Freddie, which buy more than 50 percent of all home loans originated in the U.S. , currently, have a combined $5.2 trillion of housing market exposure. The proposed new regulatory agency, which would be advised by the secretaries of HUD and Treasury, would also oversee the Federal Home Loan Bank system.

 Let’s Party

Don’t forget, mark your calendars for the next OIB party, Sept. 25, 5:30 p.m., Captain’s Cove Seaport. Come one, come all, watch a stampede of elephants and donkeys move through the crowd. Yes, all candidates are invited for a schmooze session. No canned responses required. First cocktail, mocktail on OIB, plus munchies. Might be the only party on the planet whose participants will turn out to vote 100 percent. We’re auctioning leftovers of Sarah Palin’s lipstick. Apply it and you too can become a pit bull.



  1. The recently annouced bailout of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac amounts to a HUGE tax increase that obliterates Bush’s reputation as a tax cutter. Long after the gains have been privatized, the losses are being socialized at the expense of – gasp – the American taxpayer.

  2. Is the blog opening comment too boring to discuss, or have all the hot-air bloggers finally drifted off, or is it just Monday!

    So Mayor Finch plans more layoffs…keep getting rid of the indians and the chiefs may have to do some work! There probably are more of them anyway.

    I believe in the old adage that “all politics is local”. With that I don’t think much of this crowd cares about fannie and freddie. If this sad mess of an economy doesn’t improve soon, Finch may be calling Mary Moran for advice on how to file bankruptcy. AND YES, let’s hear specifics from all the candidates on what they would do for us.

  3. In response to the person who asked about the bulk trash bidding:

    Bid No. MNB6273
    Bid Name: Bulk Trash Pick-Up
    Bid Date: March 22, 2007
    # of Bids: 3

    D.C. Waste Management $ 1,029,920.00
    Coastal Waste $ 701,920.00
    Associated Carting $ 1,636,320.00

    Two (2) separate, sealed bids for the Citywide collection of bulky waste materials, will be received by the
    Department of Public Purchases, 45 Lyon Terrace , Room 324, Bridgeport, CT 06604 until 2:00 p.m., Thursday, March 22, 2007 and then, at said office, be publicly opened.

    “We then conducted a “summary” bid process per the purchasing ordinance. The summary bid requested rates for individual crews and equipment. At the time and date of the summary bid NO bids had been received. It was agreed that Public Facilities would negotiate with the original bidders and contract with them.”

  4. Maybe Finch should ask Nick Panuzio, the mayor that sold his soul to police and fire for the 20 and out pension fund, for advice too. That should get the city a new financial review board right quick. We’re down wind from red ink.

  5. “Summer Wind”

    Republican Mayor Nick Panuzio, understood that fire and police were well underpaid in their weekly pay. Pension funds would paid years away. The City of Bridgeport took the 8% of the fire and police weekly pay check towards their pension payment. The City of Bridgeport took that money and placed it in the Cit’s general fund. This money was NEVER invested, instead it was used to run the city. Just do the math, imagine if that money was placed in a regular saving account how much money would be in that account.

  6. Himes sounds desperate. I’m surprised Himes hasn’t blamed the creation of the past and current Hurricanes on Shays. Below are the names of three (3) key Democrats who fell asleep at the wheel for the last two (2) years while this crisis was taking shape. There seems to have been a failure in Oversight and Investigation — the chairman of the committee responsible for these duties is not Chris Shays, let alone a Republican.

    House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank (D-MA).

    Financial Services Subcommittee on Housing and Community Opportunity Chairwoman Maxine Waters (D-MA).

    Financial Services Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Chairman Melvin L. Watt (D-NC).

  7. Joel another name you can add to the list of people sleeping while the banks were throwing money around was The Chairmen of the Banking Committee Chris Dodd. He was busy running for president while the banks were burying themselves. Here is an example of the financing a couple received when I sold a house.
    They received 100% financing for this house. The 78% covered their closing costs and I guess a few other items.
    Both the husband and wife work full time in factories. I often wonder about them and hope they are making it because they are a nice couple. How do you make it when you have to mortgage so much?

  8. Just an aside. I worked as a volunteer for the motorcylce rally to raise funds for the widows of Police Officers and Firefighters killed in 911. There were approximately 1800-2000 bikers that registered for this rally. All told with passengers there must have been 3,000 people. Shays was there pressing the flesh and gave a short speech. Where was Himes? It’s things like this that lose elections.

  9. Quiet day today. The 1,500 pageviews were the pro and con Tony people checking to see who is posting. Hopefully they called a truce and will not come back.

    I heard some news today about Johnny Gomes who is the new director of Citystat. He and his crew are starting to review the efficiencies and inefficiencies at Public Works. Johnny is interviewing everyone for input. Charlie Carroll got involved and pitched a fit. He told Johnny not to talk to any of his employees. Johnny said he would talk to anyone he wanted to. Big beef there. Employees very uncomfortable. I say give Johnny a chance. Maybe employees have good suggestions but no one ever asks them.

  10. wondering – that motorcycle rally must have been a good time for a good cause. Was Himes invited? I bet he would have attended if he was. Shays is good at all the handshakes at this kind of event, but where is he when we need him – Iraq?

  11. Joel – Even though you are not a Himes fan, if he really did that, I’m glad somebody gave pencils to school kids. My teacher friend went out and bought some school supplies with her own money to give out to her class. You would think the BOE would be supplying the kids.

  12. city hall smoker:

    Dont’ you think that Gomes should have contacted Carroll first and then contacted the unions before speaking to city employees regarding job-related matters?
    If Carroll reacted in such a way, I can imagine what the union’s reaction will be.

  13. I think most parents buy stuff for their kids, but in some cases maybe they can’t afford to buy everything they need. My teacher friend says its sad to see that some kids don’t have hardly anything. She also buys little treats for them at Halloween and Christmas just because she has a good heart.

  14. Jim Himes is just throwing everything against the wall and hoping that something will stick against Shays. It looks like the only change with his new campaign manager is that he’s going to throw things more often, but not necessarily make any intelligent arguments throughout this entire season.

  15. More & more media info. on things Palin has taken credit for but did “not” do, seems to be coming out on the news! Also a clip of S.P. @ her church, speaking in “tongues” & saying that prayer has paved the way for her to be Gov. and that prayer can help many Gays find their way to becoming “straight” again & stop their carpet munching, baloney pony sucking ways! Then there was a short story on McCain’s obsessive behavior when he was chasing the #17yr.-old Rodeo Queen all over the country, while still married to his first wife in the wheelchair! Nice morals; however he’s changing his ways & the GOP as well??? As an American patriot that served his country above & beyond the call of duty, I respect McCain. And it’s part of why I was thinking of voting for him! As a man that’s been a loyal republican party member, that finally now has the reach of the Presidency for the party in his sights after a past failed attempt, I believe he would say anything & stop at nothing within reason to get there! And if “change” is the word the voters want to hear, then hear it they will. But make no mistake, both are loyal republicans that subcribe to the Bush & GOP way of life! That spells another #4yrs. of the same old, “Good Ol’ Boys” way of doing things, not change! There are only a few GOP’s & others that have proven to be able to work in a bipartisan way with Dems, “etc.” Shays & Lieberman are two that come to mind right now and in Conn., hopefully Russo will do the same. The debates should tell us a lot if the right questions are asked!

  16. City Kitty; I don’t know if Himes was invited. I do know that Shays was there as was Attorney General Bluementhal so both parties were represented. It was a great time.

  17. THE INTERNET was invented so people could answer their own questions. Today, Google’s success is based upon the value of “search”, which is the story of how people answer their own questions.
    There are only two things we can say: we can ask questions or make statements. I encourage all OIB bloggers to stop asking questions and start making statements. You’ll be glad you did.

  18. Joel Gonzalez you made a good point about Gomes. I do not know if he spoke to Charlie Carroll or the unions before questioning the employees. That certainly would be the right protocol. However, I certainly hope that there are no efforts to prevent him from doing his job. Many of us are watching to see if he can overcome the thick politics that exist in City hall and beyond.

    I heard Mayor Finch on WICC yesterday and he spoke about upwards of 100 layoffs. I honestly don’t see where you can eliminate that many people and still keep the city functioning. And the big question is whether or not some of the political sacred cows will be on the layoff list. That’s the million dollar question. We will soon find out.

  19. Smoker I will bet you a pack of butts that there are no sacred cows on this layoff list. They are still hiring political cronies to newly invented or to jobs they are reinventing. The most recent being council liaison. This position will pay between $38k and $48k. Rumor has it that this job will go to Don Clemons’ girlfriend or a Robles relative.


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