June 2015: Following Historic Shootings, Candidates Spar Over Crime, Ganim Places Finch On Defensive

Ganim, shooting victim
Ganim with Trumbull Gardens shooting victim.

Joe Ganim left his mark in many ways in 2015, but where he gained the most traction in his historic comeback was public safety taking Bill Finch to task, particularly the incumbent’s response to an uptick in violent crime. Instead of showing compassion to victims in the face of tragedy Finch dubiously defended lower crime rates. Ganim countered the last thing victims want to hear following a tragedy is their mayor trotting out crime statistics.

Nowhere was this more evident June 11 when a horrific shooting in Trumbull Gardens became a flashpoint for the mayoral campaign. Ganim organized vigils. Finch said me too. Ganim called for more cops. Finch said me too. Ganim called for a multi-pronged strategy to address crime. Finch said me too. Ganim led on crime. Finch followed. Ganim had Finch on the defensive. But in just about every situation following another shooting Finch cited lower crime stats. Ganim came across as caring, Finch as obtuse. And come the September Democratic primary the Wilbur Cross precinct, where Trumbull Gardens residents vote, took notice: Ganim clobbered Finch there.

News highlights from June 2015:

Nine people were shot and one of them died early Thursday morning at the Trumbull Gardens housing complex in the North End, according to police. Six adult males including the one deceased, Savonie McNeil, 37, of Shelton, and three females were shot.

On a day Mayor Bill Finch announced new public safety initiatives including additional patrols at public housing projects, Democratic mayoral candidate Mary-Jane Foster asserts the public was shut out of the news conference and has issued her own policy suggestions such as a mobile substation, community policing and a makeover of the civilian police board.

Mounted patrol, Trumbull Gardens
Mounted patrols in Trumbull Gardens.

Mayor Bill Finch today announced the Police Department is instituting walking beats in the city’s four public housing complexes and expanding its Safe Corridors program in the area of Trumbull Gardens to enhance safety for kids and families.

Blumenthal, Finch, Martinez
U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal, left, was a constant presence on the campaign trail with Bill Finch.

Calling Mayor Bill Finch’s Monday morning gun violence roundtable with U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal “political theater,” former Mayor Joe Ganim asserts Finch should stop “engaging in PR stunts and take specific steps to improve public safety in Trumbull Gardens and throughout the rest of Bridgeport.” Finch’s campaign manager responded that Ganim is politicizing a tragedy.

Walker, Pereira, Bradley
Ben Walker, Maria Pereira and Dennis Bradley formed Democratic school board slate.

Former school board member Maria Pereira, attorney Dennis Bradley and Greenwich music teacher Ben Walker announced Friday night at a fundraiser for Joe Ganim they will be Democratic candidates for the Board of Education.

2011 petitioning candidate for mayor Jeff Kohut issues this blistering commentary against the city’s political establishment following the attack of an elderly woman in Lake Forest.

It’s not a royal flush, but better than nothing. After years of negotiations, Trumbull First Selectman Tim Herbst announced today a tentative 10-year agreement between Trumbull and Bridgeport to allow Bridgeport to continue processing its neighbor’s wastewater through the city’s Water Pollution Control Authority.

The foundation for Green Energy Park that will include 9,000 solar panels on the closed municipal landfill in the West End of Seaside Park has been installed. City Communications Director Brett Broesder says the project will power an additional 5,000 homes and create roughly 90 jobs.

In this surreal campaign season that pits former Mayor Joe Ganim against current Mayor Bill Finch, another mayor, Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, is receiving hugs and kisses from the Finch campaign on her birthday in this news release that serenades her for upholding Ganim’s federal conviction.

In his nearly 18 months on the City Council, Republican Rick Torres, also a mayoral candidate, has railed about the lack of city information flow to the budget and legislative body. Bridgeport City Attorney Mark Anastasi tells Torres to file a freedom of information request.

Sad week and weekend for Barnum Festival Ringmaster Fred Hall. His life partner Pauline Mize, who served for nearly two years as manager of Sikorsky Memorial Airport, passed away Wednesday night in Long Island suffering from cancer. She was 59.

Ganim, Foster, Finch
It was a frustrating campaign season for Mary-Jane Foster.

Mary-Jane Foster, candidate for mayor in the Democratic Primary, today called for an independent operational and financial audit of the city’s Tax Collector Department. “We are seeing very serious management deficiencies in this department, which is putting our precious tax dollars at risk,” the candidate said.

City Councilman Enrique Torres, a Republican mayoral candidate, has authored three resolutions “to slow or block the city from aggressive collection practices” for motor vehicles, property taxes and Water Pollution Control Authority fees.

A CNN report highlights the value of Bridgeport’s breakfast program in classrooms and why that’s important for low-income children’s development. The report follows students at Wilbur Cross School so close to the recent shootings at Trumbull Gardens housing project that wounded eight and took a man’s life.

City fiscal watchdog John Marshall Lee, a candidate for City Council, examines the skills required to be an effective leader. One of them is to avoid conflicts of interest.

Democratic mayoral candidate Mary-Jane Foster is calling on Mayor Bill Finch “to stop dragging his feet and begin to implement a video surveillance program in Trumbull Gardens” following the shooting that wounded eight and left a man dead. Finch’s campaign manager says the mayor is proud of his record on crime.

Citing a lack of leadership, former City Council President Lisa “Honey” Parziale says she will be a candidate for the budget and legislative body in the West Side 132nd District she represented for about 20 years. She served as council president for about 10 of those years.

Former Mayor Joe Ganim accuses Mayor Bill Finch of concealing a “ticking tax hike” by not disclosing information from a revaluation of city property that was delayed last year. The revaluation company that conducted the initial work is now undergoing the exercise again for the budget year starting July 1, 2016.

Joe Ganim: “Let’s build a future for Bridgeport that works for everyone.” Bill Finch: “Together, we’re making Bridgeport a city that works for everyone.” Who’s on the side of the angels for the soul of campaign slogans?

About 400 people on Thursday attended the funeral of Savonie McNeil, father of six, shot dead at the Trumbull Gardens housing project last week. What can be done to prevent more carnage?

A responsive rather than reactionary police department was one of the sentiments shared Wednesday night at a forum at Bethel AME Church on Grove Street.

Will it be a long, hot violent summer? Or relatively peaceful? Last week’s historic shootings at Trumbull Gardens housing project that wounded eight and killed a man placed public safety at the center of the mayoral election. How Mayor Bill Finch responds and his opponents react can dictate voter movement in the race.

This is a good time for Maria Pinheiro to watch the Netflix series Orange Is the New Black. Chief U.S. District Judge Janet Hall on Monday sentenced the Dolphin’s Cove Marina owner to two months of imprisonment followed by one year of supervised release for filing false tax returns. Dolphin’s Cove is a popular seafood restaurant.

Days after the horrific shooting that wounded nine and left one dead at Trumbull Gardens housing project, Mayor Bill Finch on Sunday urged the business community to help raise $100,000 with a goal to get 1,000 firearms off the streets in a gun buyback program. Finch said the city will start the fund with $25,000.

Virgina Keeley, mother of former State Rep. Bob Keeley, who was long active in city Democratic politics has passed away. She was 88.

Bridgeport’s lightning rod mayoral race is being documented in real time by filmmaker Don Sikorski who’s launching the series City Wars that chronicles the issues and personalities that “drive the engine of any city.” OIB is premiering the first episode here.

Statement from mayoral candidate Mary-Jane Foster: “We, as a community, must take our streets back. The events of last night at Trumbull Gardens are tragic for the victims, their families and everyone in this city. This is an administration, this is a mayor, who has been asleep at the switch.

Finch, Ganim
Finch and Ganim dueled over public safety. CT Post photo.

Former Mayor Joe Ganim, seeking to win back his old job, will participate in a candlelight vigil with community leaders today at 5:30 on Trumbull Avenue, in the wake of Thursday’s shooting at Trumbull Gardens.

Former Mayor Joe Ganim, responding to critics who wonder what will be different if he’s elected mayor again, says he will “create an independent Office of Public Integrity–and select someone from outside of city government to create the toughest ethical laws of any municipality in Connecticut.”

With equal lashings for her chief opponents Mayor Bill Finch and former Mayor Joe Ganim, Democrat Mary-Jane Foster made her official announcement Thursday night at the Holiday Inn Downtown pledging  to reform and clean up city government.

As the City Council considers a revised tax incentive package for a developer it initially rejected, former Mayor Joe Ganim is calling on the legislative body to torpedo the latest proposed abatement for the East Side Housing development of JHM Financial Group, asserting “It is a slap in the face to Bridgeport taxpayers.”

Sikorsky Aircraft announced on Tuesday it is “exiting its current facility in Bridgeport, Connecticut, and relocating employees to the Stratford, Connecticut facility.


One comment

  1. “he gain the most traction in his historic comeback was public safety taking Bill Finch to task”
    YEAH, JOE, public safety. During your campaign, how important was this to you! LMAO. You showed up at every shooting, at every homicide, you really gave the impression you cared.
    Once again you fooled us. Two homicides in two weeks, home invasions every other night, two people shot last night at Marina Village. People getting robbed walking on the streets.
    Why don’t you release those stats since you took office?
    You where requesting Finch to make them public almost on the daily basis. Why not now?! What is your great plan to reduce crime? Whatever you or your people are doing is not working. We already know you are going to raise our taxes thanks to Finch, right?
    But you can’t blame Finch for the constant spike on crime anymore. YOU ARE IN CHARGE NOW.
    You took off the streets all the extra cops Finch put in place due to your constant crying of not enough cops on the streets.
    This is how you plan to suppress crime? The excuse given to the cops is there’s no money for overtime. Joe, you are cutting from the wrong place. How about laying off the FOUR USELESS Deputy Chiefs and the more USELESS Assistant Chief? In a year you’ll save over ONE MILLION dollars. Money you can put to good use by keeping the real cops who keep us safe on the streets. We want to hear from you JOE, you’re silence on the public safety issue now is disturbing. And like someone in this blog always says, time will tell.


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