I wonder if George Bush writes political love letters to Laura. (See Sly Salcedo’s letter to his wife in comments below.) I mean, do you think the librarian First Lady requires a United Nations translator? “Laura, honey, I think I don’t remember when I thought I did remember when I thought I was doing what I was supposed to do.”
What I like about Sly as a candidate is that he gives a lot of himself and his background. Whether you agree with his position or not that the government’s war on drugs that Sly fought is a bank-breaking scam, he doesn’t thread needles on positions as so many careful pols do.
Sly’s hustling donations in an effort to qualify for the state’s public financing system that would bolster his chances against the Democratic endorsed candidate for state representative Eze Santiago, that nice, young City Councilman who supported Bill Finch’s tax increase. Sly is finding out what it’s like to run against established politicians familiar with their territory. Mitch Robles, the district power behind Eze, has made a lot of friends through the years. Eze’s papa Americo represented the 130th Assembly District. Salcedo’s trying to connect, and shake up, voters that have been disconnected from the process a long time. The other candidate in the mix Chico Rivera–backed by Charlie Coviello who ran for mayor, dropped out and supported Finch with the expectation of a job, then got shafted–is a decent man who also knows the district well.
Chico’s friends have been working on Sly to get him out of the race. They want Sly’s votes (and his money) and he will get some. The Fightin’ Filipino’s not budging.
Sly is looking at pockets in the district that includes downtown, South End and portions of the East Side and West Side that Mitch and Americo do not control. The pockets are there because city turnouts suck. It’s a question of inspiring, urging, and ripping folks out of their homes on primary day Aug. 12.
Sly’s unorthodox message has gained him some decent free media play. The bigger question: will he qualify for the public financing to share his message of building relationships in Hartford to get things done. He’s working on raising $5,000 from 150 donors to receive a 25K check from the state. This is the week many candidates for state office will begin to hear whether they’ve qualified for the free loot.
A message without money does not work, particularly when working against the establishment.
Beaching The Vig
U.S. District Judge Christopher Droney took the wind out of the sails of the Bridgeport Port Authority that had charged a wharfage fee for ferry passengers. The Port Jefferson Steamboat Company took the court action, claiming the Port Authority fee violated a number of state and federal statutes and unjustly enriched itself. Droney sided with the ferry company. Hey, let’s have an OIB party on the ferry boat! See a brief excerpt from Droney’s decision, issued July 3, below.
MEMORANDUM OF DECISION
This action was brought by the Bridgeport and Port Jefferson Steamboat Company (the “Ferry Company”), a corporation that provides a public ferry service for passengers and vehicles between Bridgeport, Connecticut and Port Jefferson, New York, and by two of its frequent passengers (collectively the “plaintiffs”), against the Bridgeport Port Authority (the “Port Authority”). The Ferry Company leases dock facilities in Bridgeport for its ferry boat operation from the Port Authority. The subject of this action is the validity of a passenger wharfage fee (“Passenger Fee”) that the Port Authority imposes on all ferry passengers. The Passenger Fee -which has been in effect since 1993 – is collected by the Ferry Company and then turned over to the Port Authority. The plaintiffs challenge the legality of the Passenger Fee, claiming it violates the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution, the right to travel under the U.S. Constitution, the Tonnage Clause of the U.S. Constitution, the Rivers and Harbors Appropriation Act of 1884, and several Connecticut statutes. The plaintiffs also asserted a claim for unjust enrichment. The basis for these claims by the Ferry Company is its contention that the Port Authority uses too small a portion of the Passenger Fee proceeds to support activities related to ferry operations, and spends most of such proceeds for purposes unrelated to the ferry…
The Court hereby enjoins the Port Authority from the further use of the revenues from the Passenger Fee to fund its activities that are unrelated to and do not benefit the ferry passengers or approximate their use of the Port. The Port Authority shall not be allowed to collect a Passenger Fee in an amount that exceeds what is necessary for their expenses that benefit ferry passengers and fairly approximate their use of the Port. The Court has made factual findings as to which of the Port Authority’s activities were properly funded by the Passenger Fee revenues and which were not properly funded by the Passenger Fee based on the benefit of these activities to the ferry passengers. These findings should serve as guidance to the Port Authority in its future in its future calculations of an appropriate Passenger Fee.
H. Affirmative Defenses
The Court finds the Port Authority’s affirmative defenses to be without merit for the reasons detailed above.
The plaintiff Bridgeport & Port Jefferson Steamboat Company is awarded nominal damages in the amount of one dollar. The plaintiff D&D Flowers is awarded damages in the amount of $494.63.
The Port Authority is enjoined from the further use of the revenues from the Passenger Fee to fund its activities that are unrelated to and do not benefit the ferry passengers or approximate their use of the Port, and the Passenger Fee shall be reduced accordingly. The Port Authority shall not be allowed to collect a Passenger Fee in an amount that exceeds what is necessary for their expenses that benefit ferry passengers and fairly approximate their use of the Port.
The defendant’s Oral Motion for Judgment as a Matter of Law [Dkt. # 163] is DENIED as moot in light of this decision.
SO ORDERED this 3rd day of July 2008, at Hartford, Connecticut.
News release from Mayor Finch on development deal
Sale of Two City-Owned Properties to Lead to Almost $14 Million in Development
BRIDGEPORT, CT (July 7, 2008) – Mayor Bill Finch is praising the sale of two city-owned properties that will lead to almost $14 million in investment consisting of new residential units as well as new office and retail space. Bridgeport had owned both buildings after taking them from their previous owners for non-payment of taxes.
“This is great day for Bridgeport . It is taking prime property and putting it back on the tax rolls, while giving our residents new places to live, shop and work,” said Mayor Finch. “It is projects like this that will help us make Bridgeport a cleaner, safer city while helping us to also stabilize city taxes.”
The properties, an 84,000 square foot building at 333 State St. , as well as the old American Fabrics property at 1069 and 1085 Connecticut Avenue , were both sold to developers last week.
It marks the first time since the early 1990s that 333 State St. is owned privately with no delinquent taxes. The new owner, First National Development, Inc., will have three years to complete the renovation of the building into 50 residential units and a minimum of 34,000 square feet of retail or office space. First National Development paid $550,000 for 333 State St. and plans to invest $12 million into the project.
First National Development is owned by Garfield and Rebecca Spencer, who developed the former Warnaco Building into the “Lofts on Lafayette.” The city originally took 333 State St. through foreclose from BENE Trader, LLC. in 2006. The previous owner owed the city more than $8 million in back taxes then.
The former American Fabrics property was sold to Westrock Development, LLC. Westrock is committed to investing $1.8 million in improvements to the building, which includes the clean-up of environmental problems and the demolition of obsolete buildings.
Westrock is currently negotiating next steps with the 35 business tenants currently located at the former American Fabrics property. The city took the property from the American Fabrics Co. in 2007 due to non-payment of more than $1 million in back taxes.
Westrock, based in Yonkers, NY, has substantial real estate holdings in New York , Connecticut and New Jersey.
“This is a continuation of our economic development efforts aimed at improving our city and stabilizing our tax rate,” said Mayor Finch. “We commit to continue to look for additional opportunities that will benefit all our taxpayers and residents.”