Mud Slides, Plus: How’s Your Health?

Decisions. Decisions. Several Bridgeport City Council members have more on their plate than examining Mayor Bill Finch’s proposed budget that starts July 1. Along with scrutinizing a budget that includes a major tax increase, layoffs, deep cuts to libraries and school nursing services, a handful on the legislative body must weigh their prospects for election to state office.

Party endorsements for state legislative seats take place next month with party primaries on Aug. 12. Balancing the demands of the budget with potential fallout of voting for a tax increase creates a sticky situation.

Let’s start with City Council President Tom McCarthy who’s weighing a challenge to Republican State Sen. Rob Russo who won the seat vacated by Finch. McCarthy has a dilemma. How to run for state senate with a full-time job in the city’s labor relations office while serving as council president with a nasty budget on the horizon. Basically the months of April and May are shot from active campaigning. And what if a Democrat from Trumbull in the three-town senate district steps up to wage a primary?

If McCarthy says no to a run, the council’s budget chairman Bob Curwen must decide if he wants to challenge Russo. Curwen, as budget chair, will have more council-related meetings to attend in the next two months than McCarthy. Curwen, no fan of former Democratic leader John Stafstrom, is an ally of new party chair Mario Testa. Major Mario, no doubt, is balancing all the match-up possibilities.

Michelle Lyons, who represents the North End, is contemplating a run against State Rep. Jack Hennessy. In chatting with Lyons last week I did not sense that she has made a final decision. She’s still sorting through family considerations, council matters and the time required to wage a competitive race against an incumbent. East Side council member Rich Paoletto is contemplating a run against State Rep. Chris Caruso who is popular in his legislative district.

Council candidates could come out of the budget mess tainted or elevated. Can they replace Finch’s cuts to the library, health clinics and dental programs–services that help the needy–with reductions to departments less public? Finch’s library staff cuts represent $1,155,356, school nursing $964,967 and dental hygiene $341,027. Where do they make up more than $2 million?

One high-profile legislative race that seems certain is former council member Auden Grogins’–the blonde banshee from Black Rock–-challenge of State Rep. Bob Keeley, the longest serving legislator in city history. Keeley’s district takes in the lower North End, West Side and Black Rock. That will be a riot to cover. Two strong personalities.

I asked Keeley about challenging Grogins to a mud-wrestling match at Ellsworth Field in Black Rock. “I’m not afraid of the mud!”

How’s Your Health?
City Hall news release

City of Bridgeport and Housatonic Community College Offer Community Health Fair in Bridgeport
The City of Bridgeport’s Department of Health and Social Services, together with Housatonic Community College, will sponsor the Fifth Annual Community Health Fair on Monday, April 7th from 10:00am to 4:00pm at Housatonic Community College at 900 Lafayette Boulevard in Bridgeport.

The health fair is free and open to the public. The theme of the fair is “Living Green: Our Health and Our Environment.”

Mayor Bill Finch (D-Bridgeport) and the Housatonic Community College’s Dean of Student Affairs Dr. Avis Hendrickson will host a short program beginning at 10:30am in the main atrium of the college. The winners of the “Living Green” poster contest will be announced and students from Central High School ’s Profiles Theatre Group will perform in the Performing Arts Center.

Mayor Finch said, “I urge all residents to take advantage of this free and informative health fair and learn more about what we can each do to lead healthier lives. Part of my administration’s mission is to create a healthier Bridgeport, and I am happy that our Department of Health and Social Services is spearheading this effort.”

Over 70 vendors will offer information, screening and testing in areas such as bone density; blood pressure; cholesterol; body max index (BMI); HIV; postural analysis; sickle cell disease; dental hygiene; nutrition; lead poisoning; breast cancer and glaucoma. Environmental booths include exhibits by MetroPool and the Garbage Museum of Connecticut. Free massages, raffles and giveaways will also be offered.

The health fair is sponsored by Healthnet and radio station WVOF. The radio station will be airing live throughout the day with music and interviews. For more information call the Health Department at 203-576-7680 or Housatonic Community College at 203-332-5062.



  1. “Mayor Finch said, “I urge all residents to take advantage of this free and informative health fair and learn more about what we can each do to lead healthier lives. Part of my administration’s mission is to create a healthier Bridgeport.”

    Mr. Finch. Perhaps you forgot that you are cutting away the core of the public health services by firing most of the citiy’s health workers who provide these services.

    I’ve got it!!! You can give your greeter a bottle of aspirins and a box of band aids. That should do it. Too bad, I had to think of the solution to this dilemma. Isn’t tha what you’re supposed to be doing?

  2. Bottom line: the Bridgeport budget is such a mess that it will infect everyone who has touched it. No Bridgeport Democrat will be able to mount a successful challenge against any of the folks at the state level. Certainly not Russo, not Caruso, not Hennessy. And what’s Auden’s platform against Keeley? She’s turned around the school system? Puhleez. Lennie, my man…there’s a lot of smoke here; give us some fire!

  3. Never mind the primaries for the legislative seat any person thinking of running for these offices that votes for the upcoming increases and lay offs will not stand a chance. What they really have to worry about is their own relelection in 1 1/2 years. i can tell you that i wont forget and will work against my alderman if they vote for this budget and the layoffs as thy are presently configured. I know people say the voters have short memories and for the most pat that is true however with this mayor it will be an ongoing thing. It is time for these silent alderman and women stand up and be counted.

  4. While I was on vacation did mayor Finch turn over our city
    administration to the boys or girl scouts for some kind of
    exercise in civics class ? because if he did someone please
    tell Moonbeam they didn’t leave, have them unpeg their tents
    and take off. We have serious adult problems here in Bpt.
    I admire and learn from the imput of such contributors as
    Hubler, Wondering, Yahooy, City Council, B. Walsh and
    especially the Filardi comment; it was on the last post and
    please read it.
    I was glad to hear we have a graffiti inspector who gets paid
    a nice buck along with pension, family health coverage, etc.
    yet we fire library staff those who really know what to read. I
    have nothing against this person(s), but mayor open your
    eyes, even you can see where the graffiti is, then you make
    a note as to location and have it removed and you save us
    thousands $$. Is that hard to understand?
    Save us. Save Bridgeport

  5. Happy to see that someone (Black Rockin in particular) other than myself has noticed the proliferation of graffiti. It’s getting worse by the day. Most of it is on privately owned buildings but I should think that there is local law punishing those property owners who don’t eliminate it within a certain number of days. – And if the law doesn’t exist where is the City Council and why hasn’t it acted.
    By the way, it’s time for a sign ordinance limiting the area of signs on the fronts of stores.
    And where is the enforcement of litter laws and why isn’t the City out there cleaning litter from the sidewalks and roads.
    And while were at it, when is the City going to condemn many buildings which are crumbling and unsightly. It looks like London after the Blitz. – Certainly not attractive to anyone seeking commercial property on which to re-locate.

  6. To Filardi thanks for waking me up. I have noticed that the city is getting dirtier and dirtier. Where are the people on the mad vacs that were out everyday vacuming up the debris from the streets. this keeps up and we will be known as liter city. What the hell is the acting director and note I said acting director of public facilities doing?
    There are laws governing the size of signs, there are also laws covering zoning violations unfortunately noone is enforcing them. maybe the layoffs are not a bad idea. Leave the librarians and medical people alone and layoff the bligth officer, the graffitti officer and the rest of the do nothings.What the numbnuts running this city dont realize is that quality of life issue are important such as clean streets and clean buildings.

  7. As a long-term city employee, I’ve had enough abuse from each incoming adminstration. The average public servant makes between $25,000 to $35,000 annually. Hardly enough to live a life of luxury. Last month, I paid over 500 dollars in medical copays. General City Employ is NOT riding a gravy train. I came in through a testing system, over 20 years ago, and just wanted to do a good job. I am not political. It was a job and I needed a job.

    I work hard to serve the public with my heart, as many of us do. We wade through every change of adminstration’s directives, however ludicrous they may be and continue to do our best to serve the taxpayers. We constantly and consistently have to fit square pegs into round holes due to new adminstrative changes and directives, in an attempt to maintain services. Many of us go out of our way to assist and help the taxpayers, always unrecognized by adminstrations, and mostly always admonished for going out of our way. (Hence the Civil Servant Attitude.) It’s always a double barrel for us, we get it from the taxpayers and the new adminstrations, but yet we continue.

    Repeatedly, when the city has troubles, it’s always the long-term employees they want to hit up first. The city gravy train never comes our way, as we do not have the proper gravy boat to ride on it. (Again, I reiterate, 500 dollars in copays just last month, which does not include the weekly copay amount deducted from my pay for the inadequate coverage). That boat only carries highly paid newly hired executives (from out of town mind you, there goes your tax dollars down the gravy river) and political favorites, as well as those who buy or do “other things” to maintain high status in the city budget.

    Civil Service is soon to be a thing of the past. And the city will have to live with the cleanout of city hall every 4 years, with no continuity of knowledge. The bad service you experience now is due to this, the even worse service you will experience in the future will be due to the inexperienced knowledge of all the new employees every 4 years.

    The salaries of these politicos will raise and raise, because rest assured, the politicos will not be satisfied with $25 to $35 k.
    I have seen political positions over the past 20-plus years raise and raise, and they cannot even do the job.
    And they will and do not know a single thing about serving the public.

    It’s a very sad situation in Bridgeport right now, too bad for such a beautiful and resource-rich city. Best of luck to the city, you’re going to need it.

  8. Yes it is too bad. The Unions are too blame also. The Union leaders are in bed with the administration. I personally know about a few liuna top management who have gotten HUGE raises and promotions to department heads which really means that they should be unaffilliated now or in the supervisors union. It is too bad that the Unions will sell out their members just to keep their cushy positions. I am so happy that I retired from the City of Bpt. But I am sad for many of my friends who still work their and have to endure this nonsense. Who do the faithful employees have to turn to if they cannot even count on union representation? It isnt only Liuna it is most of the unions. They will go along with whatever the admin wants as long as they keep their high salaries while the little members making nothing have to suffer.

  9. I own commercial property on the east side, and one rental in the north end. I’m not much into politics so I’m only going to address the comments above. First, to Mr / Mrs Black Rockin… In response to your dramatic call to “Save us, save Bridgeport.” Seriously??? How do you think vandalism / graffiti gets removed? Do you think it will remove itself? You advise the mayor to make a note of the graffiti, then simply “have it removed.” In your plan to “save thousands,” WHO, do you think, will remove the graffiti? It’s not going to magically disappear for free. Unfortunately, you contradict yourself. You want the graffiti removed, but you don’t want the city to pay for it. How does that work? Also, please explain the following sentence, “I was glad to hear we have a graffiti inspector who gets paid a nice buck along with pension, family health coverage, etc. yet we fire library staff those who really know what to read.”
    I am familiar with recent layoffs, but what does this statement mean? “those who really know what to read?” Some clarification please.
    As to “Wondering,” who refers to the “numbnuts running the city.” Do you have any idea of the state of our economy when you say, “maybe layoffs are not a bad idea?” Also, I’m not exactly sure how to interpret your last sentence, it’s very ambiguous. My guess is you would be the first person to complain if you happened to see graffiti on your way to the library, to read the book on “How to be Ignorant.” (Obviously you’ve read it before)
    I am partial, because I have seen the positive sides of what the city can provide. In all honesty, the graffiti crew has removed “tags” off of my property within 48 hrs, every time (without me complaining). The situation has improved drastically since the 90’s. I realize everyone has a gripe, so do I. But on this topic, I happen to have benefited by the city’s response. Any time my property was vandalized, it was addresses quickly by the city. I guess I’m rambling on a small topic, but it bothered me to see a department get bashed that actually DOES it’s job. Let’s focus on the positives. I’ll be happy to respond to any comments. Thomas McGee


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