From John Marshall Lee:
On November 3, 2020, 145 million votes were cast for the two major presidential contenders. We are nearly three months past this date with President Joseph Biden inaugurated almost two weeks ago. Despite posting a plurality of 7 million votes over his challenger, an attack on the Capitol by homegrown disbelievers, and more than 60 legal challenges in courts with judges of all political persuasions, no evidence or proof for their allegations has been presented to the judicial system, our check and balance on pure opinion or false accusations.
Open your eyes to a local focus where perhaps 180 slots can be filled by Bridgeport residents who are registered voters willing to serve the public. If they are selected by the Mayor and approved by City Council to set terms, “serving the public” as volunteers. The City website provides info on mission and purpose, numbers of members, requirements, and limitations for many of the groups but not some who have been more recently commissioned. When I last reviewed the site, I counted almost 72 vacant positions and about the same number of members who were reported as active but whose terms had expired. A legal failsafe that seems to ameliorate this understaffing is a clause declaring “that once appointed, members serve until a successor is appointed and qualified.”
Currently it appears that only 13 members of the citizenry are serving unexpired terms as of 2021. Has Mayor Ganim appointed one or more of his political appointees to remedy this abject failure to fulfill one of his Charter duties? Yes. Then why are some of the groups not meeting the ‘balance of party appointees’ requirement? Where are meeting agenda and reporting of minutes provided in timely and consistent fashion? Where can the public find documents and info on the origin and reasons for forming each group? Where is the detail on the Ethics Commission specifically? (I have called the posted number and left messages with full name and number three times in recent months. No response.) Why is there serious reason to assert that recent Mayors have allowed Fair Housing and Fair Rent groups to die on the ‘civic battlefield’ when housing of all types generates much upset and many disputes in Bridgeport? With the FBI continuing on duty, is the Ethics Commission fading into darkness as Rent and Housing have in the past, “in plain sight”? Isn’t that a group where the fairness and equity of the City administration using City funds to defend criminal expenses can be discussed?
Is it time for Mayor Ganim to open his mind and his mouth to explain the roles of both political appointees and his instructions to them? And then to share with taxpayers and voters his degree of satisfaction with their results? Is it just one more barrier to citizen learning and wishing participation in government process? Another step to autocratic governance? It may likely appear as woefully incomplete in which case perhaps he is content with the lack of results? Perhaps keeping such a multi-year project as it is, with fewer than 10% of all such potential appointees serving in a current term his goal? Time will tell.
Jon Marshall Lee