Oh, What A Ride–10 Years Of OIB–And Still Going

Happy anniversary to our loyal and growing audience. Ten years ago March 12, 2008 OIB launched its first independent post after spending the prior year under the banner of the Tribune-owned (now deceased) Fairfield County Weekly. We took it independent, in part, for fear of being a corporate casualty. Glory be, the more things change the more they stay the same. That first post centered on Mario Testa’s effort to regain the Democratic Town Committee chairmanship. This Thursday night, at his Madison Avenue restaurant, he’s poised to do the same.

Ten years ago Joe Ganim and Ernie Newton endured the back end of their federal prison time. Now Joe is back as mayor and the self-proclaimed Moses of his people is back on the City Council. Who knew!

The genesis of OIB filled a void to provide political perspective and engagement. That also included a comments section that has emerged second to none for information, give and take and critical analysis. Yes, it’s edgy at times.

Behind the scenes, off line, I field dozens of daily emails challenging my sanity for the latitude OIB provides the comments section.

“Mackey and Day are killing me!”

“Why do you give that Maria Piranha a platform?!”

“Fardy goes down like a hard boiled egg, followed by dry tuna.”

The Bridgeport Kid this, Steve Auerbach that, Jim Fox is bananas.


Hey, I get beat up by my own people. It’s the nature of the beast.

OIB readers are the most active in their respective communities: engaged, thought-provoking critical thinkers.

Voices: good, bad, ugly add value to the conversation. Also, it took some time (Yes, I’m a slow learner) but we’ve found that the level of conversation is enhanced when folks post comments under their recognized names.

The reality is our comments section is tame compared to other sites where just about anything goes. We are far more complete with one of the highest proportion of posters who comment under their actual names. There’s been an evolution in that process. For instance handles have been grandfathered such as “The Bridgeport Kid” because he (Derek Brown) does not hide behind that handle. Same for someone like “Mojo,” former City Councilman Ralph Mojica.

We allow for some protected handles such as a city employee who fears retribution for expressing an opinion. But in that requested instance, I must know the identity of the person to gauge veracity. If they use it as a platform to blowtorch someone, they’re gone.

The notion that Bridgeport is a Democratic city, therefore a liberal OIB readership is a fallacy. Audience demographics tell a different story. Yes, we have plenty of liberal voices. Mighty conservative voices too (paging Gary Tobin, Tom White, Ethan Book, Barry Soitera and others). Throw all the readers into a bottle, shake it up and it ferments into centrist stew with diverse points of view.

As readership goes, Bridgeport is the single largest community audience, but the combined audiences including suburbs and politically centric readers from around the state are actually larger. It’s a good mix.

OIB has had the same design since its launch. It’s time for a new look to keep pace with the changing times. Hopefully, we’ll unveil an updated face within a few months.

When OIB launched 10 years ago it did not imbue some grand plan. It simply centered on an idea to fill a void with the hope an audience connected.

Much goes on behind the scenes to keep OIB alive, including webmaster Ray Fusci, designer Sue Katz, sales director Joy Haines. When I’m not writing, gabbing with sources, trolling for info, I’m pitching ads. It’s what keeps this place alive.

So with  gratitude, thank you to my audience, readers, posters, advertisers.

How long will this last? You keep coming, I’ll keep showing up.



  1. You’re the Ringmaster, Lennie! You keep a big, open tent, teeming with interesting “acts”! Without you and OIB, the circus just might have left town…

    Congratulations on 10 years! Give us at least another 10!

  2. Congrats Lennie,you run a great place for us to share our opinions,continued success!
    Wondering if you ever thought of a “message board”type place.That way topics don’t get lost as new things get posted..
    Either way,thanks again!

  3. Sure Lennie, 10 years of mostly insults. Where are those OIB bad asses from back then: yahooy // Mar 27, 2008 at 10:09 am
    Thank God that we don’t have to worry about Joel Gonzalez contributing to the baby boom he thinks will be attributed to Moonbeam’s shut off the lights initiative.
    Never mind.
    All that jerk cut off was his finger.
    If we’re lucky, maybe he’ll find a news “cause celeb” and go to the steps of the capitol and cut off his head.

    Or maybe this one Lennie:

    dogmanny // Mar 26, 2008 at 5:04 pm

    I have a problem with Lennie. I agree everyone deserves a second chance, but Lennie you were a key player in all this mess with Joe. I worked on his first campaign and thought this was the new wave. I live and breathe Bridgeport. Defended Bpt tooth and nail for years. Owned a business in Bpt and was hurt when my own family and mother moved to surrounding areas. I work in Bpt forever. How dare you not step up to the plate and say enough is enough? Mike Daly defends you and I personally know him, but I need to hear something from you. In my opinion you have no right or say-so about the city that you betrayed. Please set me right. I really need to hear from you. My regards.

    Lennie it’s beeen almost 10 years. Have you replied to dogmanny yet?

  4. Congratulations Lennie. As I got it right on my post 10 years ago,

    “With the Russo and Parziale wins things are not looking good for Stafstrom/King.”.

    I’m going to go out on a limb and predict a Testa win this coming Thursday.

  5. Let’s drink to the hard working people
    Let’s drink of the lowly of birth
    Raise your glass to the good and the evil
    Let’s drink to the salt of the earth.

    Say a prayer for our hard fighting soldiers
    Give some thought to their life-risking work
    How about a prayer for their spouses and children
    They keep the homefires burning and still till the earth.

    And when I search the faceless crowd
    A swirling mass of gray, black and white
    They don’t look real to me
    In fact, they look so strange.

    Raise your glass to the hard working people
    Let’s drink to the uncounted heads
    I wanna make a toast to the wavering millions
    We need leaders but get gamblers instead.

    Spare a thought for the stay-at-home voter
    Whose empty eyes gaze at reality shows
    And a stream of gray suited grafters
    Give you a choice of cancer, HIV or who knows.

    And when I look into the faceless crowd
    A swirling mass of grays, black and white
    They don’t even look real to me
    In fact they look so strange.

    Let’s drink to the hard working people
    Let’s drink to the salt of the earth
    I wanna give a toast to the millions of people
    Those who are born humble of birth.
    Let’s drink to the hard working people
    Let’s think about the lowly of birth
    Let’s spare some kind of thought for all homeles people
    Let’s drink to the salt of the earth.

  6. When I die bury me deep, place OIB beside my feet. Tell David & Joe I’ve gone to rest, but I’m still in their ASS if they don’t do their best.

    Congratulations Lenny on 10 years of open transparent dialogue. If it ain’t happening in Bridgeport it aint worth reading about.

  7. Personally, Lenny, I wish to congratulate you. Keeping something going in a positive direction, serving the public, and making a buck at the same time over a ten year period is not simple. And you have had fun and shared the same with the community while pursuing your own dream. Thank you.

    As a writer, I wish to thank you for regularly placing my written offerings of varying lengths on the site. My goal has been to inform fellow citizens of my own findings about fiscal and governance issues. You have printed, without editing, 98% of what I have sent you. I can’t fault you there.

    You are on occasion faulted, frequently in conversation, that you favor one side or another, and that would be natural had you no pre-existing history with Joe Ganim. But you did share history with him and were sanctioned for that. My own notion is that you pursued a second chance opportunity in public redemption without getting a blessing from any specific community, and that you are successful in that public service to your audiences….those who read….as well as those who write.

    OIB is not your only business. City of Bridgeport has paid taxpayer dollars to many businesses in the ten years OIB has been open as you may know. Have you been beneficiary through any business relationship of Bridgeport taxpayer dollars? Are you open to share the details, if any, of such assignments? In a CIty in which pay-to-play has been an active part, and in which it would be difficult to prove that such behavior is no longer, do you care to comment inasmuch as such payments might be a justification for naysayers about your objectivity? I wish you another ten or more years of OIB (or offspring of same) for what I have learned through your tutelage. Time will tell.

    1. John, thank you. On occasion the City of Bridgeport has advertised on OIB particularly in the Bill Finch mayoral years in promotion of marketing campaigns. As to my relationship with Joe Ganim I’d describe it as civil. Joe and I are in different places. The last time I served in any paid capacity for Ganim as a political consultant was 1999. I have not sought, or been offered, public relations work in conjunction with the City of Bridgeport. If the city decides it wants to advertise a marketing campaign on OIB we’d be a nice platform given our readership. I’ve had potential advertisers share they will not showcase their products on OIB because I allow a platform to individuals they don’t like. Goes with the territory. I will not silence those voices in exchange for advertising dollars. I must hustle ads to keep this place alive. It’s far from perfect, but, hey, it’s a job!


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