Saturday Update: I’m thinking the pol who dodged a bullet this week more than any other–following Jodi’s Jail reversal–is State Senator Anthony Musto.
Anthony was flapping his wings, eager to kick out a press release when Governor Jodi Rell announced a $20 million juvenile detention center for girls in Anthony’s district on the Upper East Side. Anthony praised the governor for her vision to plant another prison in Bridgeport. Anthony’s political skills need a barber’s belt and razor.
I wonder if Anthony would have been as eager–maybe anxious–had Jodi proclaimed hey, let’s put this thing in Nichols, or Tashua or another residential neighborhood in Anthony’s home town Trumbull. See, what counts for residential in the state’s largest city pales in comparison to Trumbull. At least to pols with zero political skills. What makes the Park City’s neighborhoods any less valuable than Trumbull, or Monroe, or Easton or Brookfield where Jodi lives? Stupid, stupid, stupid.
What I like about Rell, in this episode at least, is that she’s not so stubborn to realize that the state’s social problems shouldn’t be dumped in the state’s largest city all the time. If the neighbors don’t scream, if State Rep. Chris Caruso doesn’t crank up his Big Wave opposition, if Mayor Bill Finch doesn’t recognize the residential anger and poise his lawyers, pols like Anthony say the prison is good for Bridgeport. Maybe Anthony learns a lesson that Bridgeport neighbors are no less valuable than his neighbors in Trumbull or constituents in Monroe in this three-community senate district.
Bottom line is Anthony, a freshman legislator, is still learning his district. Anthony did an about face when he realized OMG, my peeps don’t want this. It was Bridgeport, not Trumbull or Monroe that elected him. Of course, many city residents didn’t know they were voting for Anthony in 2008. They only knew Republicans as pariahs and voted largely the Dem line led by Barack. Anthony knocked out Republican Rob Russo.
Anthony, a sweetheart of a guy, good family man, is lucky Russo is running for Congress rather than State Senate. I don’t think Anthony beats Russo this year, in this voter environment wary of Democratic spending.
Anthony will have a competitive general election irrespective of the GOP candidate, but if Marilyn Moore, who lost a close primary to Anthony two years ago, decides to primary him in August, that will be fun. Moore is a pistol, smart, full of fire. Her problem in 2008 was no organization in Trumbull. Will M&M run? We’ll see.
Statement from Donna Fewell, President of P.T. Barnum Residents Association
MARCH 12, 2010
I AM SHOCKED AND APPALLED AT THE INDIFFERENCE DISPLAYED BY ALL OF THE PUBLIC AGENCIES INVOLVED IN THE TRAGEDY THAT CLAIMED THE LIVES OF OUR NEIGHBOR AND FRIEND, TIANA BLACK AND HER THREE YOUNG CHILDREN.
NOT ONE AGENCY IS ACCEPTING RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE LOSS OF LIFE, BUT RATHER THEY ARE BUSY POINTING FINGERS AT THE STATEMENT IN THE REPORT ASSERTING THAT “THE ELEVATED BLOOD ALCOHOL CONTENT OF THE DECEASED, LIKELY CONTRIBUTED TO HER DEATH.”
THE MAYOR OF THE CITY CLAIMS THE REPORT SPEAKS FOR ITSELF; AND YET NEITHER HE, NOR ANYONE MENTIONS THAT THE REPORT ALSO STATES THAT “THE DELAYED NOTIFICATION OF THE FIRE DEPARTMENT” LIKELY CONTRIBUTED TO THE DEATHS.
THAT IS WHAT WE, THE RESIDENTS OF PT BARNUM HAVE BEEN SAYING FROM THE VERY START. THAT IS WHY WE CIRCULATED PETITIONS ASKING FOR A 911 CENTRALIZED MONITORING SYSTEM WHICH WOULD BE ACTIVATED BY THE FIRE ALARMS. THESE PETITIONS HAVE BEEN PRESENTED TO BOTH MAYOR FINCH AND THE HOUSING AUTHORITY; BUT NOTHING HAS HAPPENED.
INSTEAD OF ATTACKING A VICTIM WHO CANNOT ANSWER BACK, WE WOULD HOPE THAT FIRE AND CITY OFFICIALS WOULD JOIN US IN SEEKING POSITIVE SOLUTIONS INSTEAD OF ENGAGING IN ATTACKS ON THE DEAD AND SUGGESTING THAT SOMEHOW, THE VICTIM WAS RESPONSIBLE FOR THIS TRAGEDY BECAUSE SHE MAY HAVE BEEN “IMPAIRED”.
IN MY OWN CASE, FOR EXAMPLE, I HAVE BEEN RECOVERING FROM AN INJURY SUSTAINED IN A HIT AND RUN ACCIDENT. I HAVE BEEN FORCED TO TAKE STRONG MEDICINE TO EASE THE PAIN; I AM WALKING WITH THE HELP OF CRUTCHES. IF A FIRE STARTED IN MY APARTMENT, WHICH IS THE SAME DESIGN AS THE APARTMENT OCCUPIED BY TIANA AND HER CHILDREN, I CAN ONLY ASSUME THAT I WOULD BE ACCUSED OF BEING ‘IMPAIRED’ IF A FIRE BROKE OUT.
MANY OF THE CHILDREN AND THEIR PARENTS IN THIS APARTMENT COMPLEX SUFFER FROM ALLERGIES, ASTHMA AND OTHER RESPIRATORY AILMENTS WHICH REQUIRE POTENT MEDICINE. WOULD THEY ALSO BE ACCUSED OF BEING IMPAIRED, IN THE EVENT OF A FIRE?
IT IS TIME FOR THE MAYOR, THE FIRE DEPARTMENT AND THE HOUSING AUTHORITY TO RECOGNIZE AND ADMIT WHAT THE PROBLEM IS: WE NEED A CENTRALIZED ALARM SYSTEM AND WE NEED AN EMERGENCY ESCAPE PLAN. STOP ATTACKING A DEAD WOMAN AND START LOOKING FOR SOLUTIONS.
From Dan Tepfer, CT Post
Alcohol consumption by a 22-year-old woman was a likely factor in her inability to escape a smoky fire in her apartment last November at the P.T. Barnum Apartments, where she perished along with her three young children, according to an investigation into the fatal blaze obtained Thursday by the Connecticut Post.
Although the specific blood-alcohol level of Tiana Black was deleted from the lengthy report, the investigation by state and local fire officials states in several places that Black’s blood-alcohol content “would likely have impaired her ability to respond appropriately to the initial alarm and to the fire itself.”
Fire Department sources, however, indicate that Black’s blood-alcohol level was above 0.08, the legal limit for driving in Connecticut.
The cause of the Nov. 13 blaze in Black’s apartment in the West End public housing complex is listed in the report as “the result of carelessness.” The Post had requested release of the months-long report under provisions of the state Freedom of Information Act.
The fire started when a rear burner on the apartment’s gas stove, which the report says had been left burning, ignited the kitchen counter and cabinets.
Although the chief state medical examiner had previously said that smoke inhalation caused the deaths of Black and her three children, Ny-shon Williams, 5, and 4-year-old twins, Nyaisja and Tyaisja Williams, the rest of the autopsy report was withheld from the report released Thursday.
News release from U.S. Attorney:
FORMER CAMPAIGN MANAGER PLEADS GUILTY TO EMBEZZLEMENT, TAX EVASION CHARGES
Nora R. Dannehy, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that MICHAEL IAN SOHN, 34, of Fairfield, pleaded guilty today before United States Magistrate Judge Donna F. Martinez in Hartford to charges related to his embezzlement of campaign funds from the Christopher Shays for Congress Committee.
According to court documents and statements made in court, SOHN was employed as the campaign manager for the Christopher Shays for Congress Committee from January 2003 through December 2008, and also was employed by the United States House of Representatives from January 2003 through May 2008. In pleading guilty today to one count of conversion of campaign funds, SOHN admitted that, from 2005 to 2008, he embezzled a total of $252,424.10 from the Campaign. SOHN admitted that he stole the money from the Campaign by writing himself checks and using the Campaign’s ATM/debit card to withdraw cash and make debit card purchases. SOHN did not have signature authority on the Campaign’s bank accounts, so he forged the signature of the Campaign Committee Treasurer on the checks that he wrote to himself.
SOHN also pleaded guilty today to one count of tax evasion stemming from his filing of a fraudulent federal tax return for the 2008 tax year. On the tax return, SOHN stated that his taxable income for 2008 was $75,860, and that the amount of tax due was $15,617. However, SOHN’s taxable income for 2008 was approximately $163,949 on which he owed approximately $43,468 in federal income tax.
SOHN has admitted that he failed to report a total of approximately $527,136 in taxable income for the calendar years 2005 through 2008, which resulted in a loss of $95,955 to the Internal Revenue Service.
SOHN is scheduled to be sentenced by U.S. District Judge Robert N. Chatigny on May 27, 2010, at which time SOHN faces a maximum term of imprisonment of 10 years and a fine of up to $350,000. SOHN also will be ordered to pay full restitution to the Shays Campaign Committee, and back taxes, penalties and interest to the Internal Revenue Service.
This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation Division. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Peter S. Jongbloed.
From Mayor Finch:
Steel Construction Begins on Discovery Interdistrict Magnet School
K-8 Science & Technology School Will Serve Bridgeport and Adjoining Districts
The first piece of steel was placed on Monday for the Discovery Interdistrict Magnet School located at 4510 Park Ave., next to the Discovery Museum. The new K-8 magnet school will emphasize a science and technology curriculum for around 500 students from Bridgeport and adjoining school districts. The 68,333 square-foot facility, designed by Svigals & Partners of New Haven, is expected to garner a Leadership in Energy Efficiency Design (LEED) Rating, the greenest school building in the district to date.
“The Discovery School is going to create new opportunities in the sciences and technology for Bridgeport students,” said Mayor Bill Finch. “It is also setting the standard for green building design, and for regional cooperation among our school districts.”
The Discovery Magnet School construction is being managed by the minority-owned McCloud Group of New Jersey – the first time a minority-owned firm has managed construction for the City of Bridgeport. Steel construction of the school began on Monday after four months of excavation, foundation building, and underground mechanical work. Construction crews expect to have one complete wing of two stories of steel installed by the end of the week.
“This is a momentous occasion,” said Deborah Caviness, Senior Administrator of the Bridgeport Small & Minority Business Resource Office. “It is the first time a minority-owned business has been awarded a major construction management contract with the City of Bridgeport. We’re very excited to be working with the McCloud Group on this important project.”
“We have been impressed with the caliber and commitment of everyone involved with this project,” added Robert McCloud, President of the McCloud Group. “From the initial support we received from Mayor Finch and Deborah Caviness, to the enthusiasm of the architects and engineers, everyone has committed to meeting our goals and getting this project finished in a timely manner.”
News release from Jim Himes:
Himes’ Earmark Reform Policy Adopted by U.S. House
Private Companies Are Now Banned from Earmarks
Washington, DC –The House Appropriations Committee announced yesterday that it will adopt a policy banning earmarks to for-profit entities that Congressman Jim Himes (CT-4) implemented in his own office last year. According to the House Appropriations Committee, if this rule had been in effect last year, it would have resulted in 1,000 fewer earmarks.
“I have always made it my official policy to not seek congressional earmarks for private companies,” said Himes. “While some of these requests may have merit, my office does not have the resources to determine if public spending could crowd out private investment in each individual earmark circumstance. Today’s announcement is long overdue, both in our efforts to increase transparency and reduce government spending.”
To assure compliance, the Appropriations Committee will also require agency Inspectors General to audit a percentage of all earmarks directed to non-profit entities. This new oversight measure will help ensure that earmarks go to their intended purposes and prevent for-profit companies from masquerading as non-profits.
Additionally, the Appropriations Committee will establish an online “one-stop” link to all House Members’ appropriations earmark requests to enable the public to easily view them. In the interests of full disclosure and promoting more open and transparent government, Himes has been posting his earmark requests online since joining Congress in 2009.
Click here to read Himes’ voluntary policy on earmarks. It includes this principle as well as a prohibition against campaign contributions from lobbyists for governmental entities and directors or executives of not-for-profit entities for which he has secured an appropriation.
Bridgeport Child Advocacy Coalition will hold its 25th Anniversary Breakfast on Tuesday, April 27, 2010, from 7:30 to 9:30 a.m. at the Bridgeport Holiday Inn. The Breakfast is a partnership with Casey Family Services. Lead sponsors are Kuchma Corporation, New Alliance Bank, and United Illuminating Company.
The Honorable Cory Booker, Mayor of Newark, New Jersey, is the keynote speaker, with the topic, Change the City with Your Bare Hands.
The cost of the Breakfast is $100. Register online at www.bcacct.org by April 14, 2010. A limited number of scholarships are available. For more information, to register by phone, or to request a scholarship, call Nicole at BCAC, 203-549-0075, ext. 10.
BCAC will honor its six former board chairs at the Breakfast.
Individual Bluefish Tickets On Sale March 27
The Bridgeport Bluefish today announced individual tickets for all 2010 Bluefish regular season home games will go on sale Saturday, March 27 starting at 10 a.m. Tickets may be purchased at The Ballpark at Harbor Yard box office and this will be the only place to get your Bluefish individual game tickets until 2 p.m. Fans are encouraged to arrive early to secure the best available seats.
A fun and fan-friendly atmosphere will encompass The Ballpark at Harbor Yard during this special event. All fans will have the opportunity to purchase exclusive Bluefish merchandise at the Gear Shop. The younger Bluefish fans are also encouraged to make their way to the ballpark to test their fastball at the speed pitch booth and spend some quality time with BB.
Tickets go on sale starting at 10 a.m.