Lee Weighs In On Fair Rent, Pizza And Columbus Statue

Resident fiscal observer John Marshall Lee touched on a number of subjects Monday night in his public address to the City Council:

Ladies and gentlemen of the Council, I have read the Agenda for this evening and approve the crafting of Ordinances regarding official Bridgeport Fair Rent and Fair Housing commissions and placing them on the record. There are still elderly homeowners with mortgages fully paid running into problems with WPCA and property tax affairs in arrears, ultimately losing property and significant equity in a court system not understood by the owner to predators who know the law but do not care to make the ‘Port a healthier place for fair, timely, and accurate responses.

Let’s see what enough Council members decide is fair for all Bridgeport citizens and property-owning taxpayers by your sub-committee comments. One or more of you have been listening to the embarrassing case of Bridgeport completely ignoring State Statutes. Is this ordinance proposal a work-around for a Mayor who has not cared to act?

It is Hispanic Heritage Month and some of you were at Klein Auditorium on Saturday for a professional presentation of La Gringa. What recent cultural event has brought out an audience like this at the Klein?

Cultural question: If I asked what culture popularized pizza or apizza, New Haven approach, locally? Of course, we would say Italian American. And the Christopher Columbus narrative will no doubt be reprised in October. So instead of keeping the statue, removed from Seaside Park two years ago and placed in a barn that formerly housed horses (that one former member of this assembly finds disrespectful, though I call everyone to remember that those calling themselves Christians know that their humble leader was born in a stable among other living animals, more than 2,000 years ago).

Can we gather Hispanic, Black, and brown residents together with others who have built the Bridgeport of today over the past 200 years, to discuss A Port Trail, a walking, historically supported, educational and entertaining pathway by existing City museums, statues, memorials, buildings, fountains, and other sites portraying the variety of history, heritages, and cultures that have gotten us to where we are today? Is there room at this table? Does it cost anything? Time will tell.



    1. RT,
      Let’s link good history about individuals, groups, associations and businesses came to prosper and had a role in developing the culture of the City. With technology and great history contributed, the sites in the City can be connected on internet, mapping out walks to parts of the City of various lengths. No new building required. Just thoughtful representation that will educate the young and indeed the community and beyond at-large to the relatively recent history of the past 200 years. Enough folks interested in such a “feel good” and reasonable way of getting a great narrative out to the public? Time will tell.

  1. Lennie, thank you for posting this.
    At one time there were video cameras to keep track of what goes on at CC meetings. No longer. Why not? Expense? Keep City processes relatively secret? Force everyone to follow the City actions in the Post or OIB?
    Not only are there no video cameras that will catch the action , so to speak, that sometimes happened in the past and still does, but also the substantive issues or policy criticisms that occur at a hearing like Berlinetta.

    Pre- COVID, Council Committee meetings were in person and the citizen could attend and with the permission of a Chair ask a question or make a comment on an issue addressed by their agenda. No longer. If I can only see and hear what goes on at a subcommittee meeting, but not participate, and then face a hearing a week later where an issue can be voted on by the CC, how do I secure adequate info and clarify an understanding of what is transpiring. Last night I signed on to the list for the Lease of City land to Berlinetta for a year, with renewal rights, on downtown property for a Beer Garden at a business expense of $1 per year. No rent to speak of. And I raised a question of other property put under lease without real revenue. After all the City had legal expenses in drafting or proofing the lease in question. How often have we put City land, to a private party under contract with such insignificant revenue? I was not the only person questioning this as at least five Council members voted against when the question was called. Did the City request this proposition or did it come to them? What is the value, short or long term, of acreage, even undeveloped on which a private owner can generate revenues with rent payments or taxes? Time will tell.

    1. Video Surveillance is the norm in Bridgeport — why exclude CC meetings?
      WE need instant replay to promote transparency and ensure progress.
      Others might disagree, but what’s good for JML is good for Bridgeport!


Leave a Reply