The Roosters Are Crowing, Plus: Cap The Tax, Cap The Tax And Mayor Goes Green

Could trouble be brewing between Mayor Bill Finch and South End District Leader Mitch Robles, one of the highest vote-producing pols in the city?

At issue is tension between John Gomes, director of the city’s government-efficiency CitiStat program, and his underling City Councilman Eze Santiago, the Democratic candidate for state representative, Mitch’s stepson. Gomes and Santiago, for whatever the reason, have some workplace productivity issues. Mitch feels Gomes is leaning too hard on his boy, and wants something done about it.

This is where the intersection of government and politics can explode into Armageddon. When does a mayor step in to arbitrate a dispute?

Robles’ production speaks for itself. He produced big time for Finch in his primary win over Chris Caruso and has repeatedly asserted vote control over the South End and West End. Finch can count on few district leaders to produce for him in part because only a few have actual votes and Finch’s standing with the electorate is, well, dicey.

Generally, what Mitch wants is what Mitch gets, as evidenced by his people scattered throughout the public payroll, including Santiago. This battle between Eze and Gomes is eating away at him. From what I hear Mitch wants to run Gomes through the salami slicer at Gomes’ Red Rooster deli. But at what point does a mayor tell a district leader: you’re not holding me hostage!

Stay tuned.

Penultimate weekend before November Neurosis. Republican State Senator Rob Russo and Democratic challenger Anthony Musto, with a little help from State Senator Ed Gomes, had a mostly cordial disagreement on issues Thursday night at the North End Library. I hear Gomes’ challenger city police officer Milton Johnson couldn’t make it because he was celebrating his birthday. Happy birthday, Uncle Milton! Actually, Milton had a prior commitment with his son Thursday night which prevented him from making the forum. And today is his birthday.

On the issue of taxes Musto disagreed with Russo’s proposal (backed by Governor Rell) to cap local property taxes at three percent, an initiative opposed by legislative Democrats, even though a Musto brochure states that he supports a workable tax cap. (Whatever that means.)

Musto said the tax cap wouldn’t work in the city because it interferes with local budget-making process. Not so. That’s why the legislation is meaningful. If a municipality must spend beyond the cap it can do so with a two-thirds vote of the budget-authorizing body. It forces the chief executive and council to work together closely to prioritize spending. A cap would not impact school construction and infrastructure costs. For instance, if the city (don’t hold your breath) could ever get around to replacing the Congress Street Bridge, the tax cap would not restrict the improvement.

So, let’s just let the bastards in Hartford continue to spend and spend and spend (often in all the wrong places) and price everyone out of the state. That’s what’s going to happen without some sanity back into the budget-making process both on a state and local level.

Democrats love spending money! They love playing Santa Claus! Wondering, you still think I’m showing a liberal bent?

News release from Mayor Finch

Mayor Finch Issues Executive Order Mandating City to Be Green

Order Calls for Efficiencies and Cost-Savings

Will appoint Advisory Committee, and partner with Bridgeport Regional Business Council to promote initiative throughout City

(BRIDGEPORT, CT – October 24, 2008) – In an effort to improve efficiency, save the city millions of dollars, attract state-of-the-art development and work toward national and local priorities to improve the environment, Mayor Bill Finch today announced a sweeping change in the way Bridgeport will do business.

By way of executive order, the Mayor announced a new directive to all city departments aimed at widespread changes to reduce energy costs and lower the city’s carbon footprint.

“My Executive Order and the sustainability planning effort we undertake will be the most comprehensive approach in our state, help reduce our carbon footprint and change the way our city is perceived by state leaders, investors and companies looking to do business in our community,” said Mayor Finch.

“We are changing the way we do business here in the City. ‘Doing more with less’ have become our watchwords, and if we are to maintain our jobs, our education and our government services, then we have to find ways to squeeze the most out of every public dollar,” said Mayor Finch.

“From a business perspective this makes perfect sense,” said Bridgeport Regional Business Council CEO Paul Timpanelli. “Turning Brownfields into ‘greenfields’ can help the city expand its tax base, inviting more business and commercial ventures, to make their home in Bridgeport, such as those that are flourishing on the old Bryant Electric site in the city’s West End.”

The Executive Order also calls for the formation of a Sustainability Community Advisory Committee. Made up of representatives from the public, private, nonprofit and education sectors, its members will recommend ways to educate the community in meeting the goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, as well as identifying opportunities to foster job growth in the “green technology” sector.

In addition, the city will partner with the Bridgeport Regional Business Council in establishing the framework for the initiative, which encompasses a wide range of points related to climate change and the environment. This partnership will tackle a number of short and long-range action items, including analysis of the City’s Brownfields, energy audits and green building standards, among others.

“Sustainability is not just an environmental planning process,” added Finch. “It is an economic and social planning process that will save the city significant amounts of money, improve the efficiency of public sector agencies, create a healthier environment for our children and our most fragile, and enhance the quality of life for all our citizens.”



  1. Maybe it’s in the democratic dna to play Santa Claus to the less well-off because they play on their need to get the vote to keep them in power to give more away to get more power … to corrupt absolutely! They forget that to get the money they need to tax those who have worked for what they have. Thus the cycle. Dems will have their day this political season but I predict the electorate will tire of the giveaways in a couple years. This only speaks to the state and federal level. Local B’port is just beyond hope. Greedy politicians exploiting the mindless electorate.

  2. Re. comment #21 in the last post.
    I think the public should be made completly aware of the fact Shays leased his own R.V. to himself for $10,000.00 during the 2006 campaign.
    How much does this stooge want to give himself in 2008?
    How about another trip to Iraq?
    I hope he stays there!

  3. I hear that Potatoes O’Brien, Bridgeport’s tax assessorizer, has put in his rolling papers and is hitting the road. He’s a smart guy but was a little too hard-boiled for most of us starch lovers. I prefer garlic mashed myself and don’t want any day-old spuds assessing my duds.

  4. Politics is the story of who-gets-what. The purpose of ANY GOVERNMENT is to produce a balanced budget – year in and year out. Period. But politicians like to spend money and overpromise and that’s why we have deficits. After all, credit is the ultimate drug.
    Book ’em, Dan-O.

  5. Lennie:

    Thanks for asking the question – I can’t always explain everything I want to in the brochures and I‘m glad to have the opportunity to do so on your blog.

    We need tax relief that actually lowers taxes – not a sound bite for newspapers. What I mean by a workable cap is a cap that will actually lower taxes and maintain service levels at this time here in Connecticut. Russo‘s plan won‘t, and it was Governor Rell, herself, that said so when she proposed it. She said:

    “A cap will not work without an accompanying commitment for increased state aid. In my budget I met that commitment by proposing to sharply increase levels of education aid to cities and towns.”

    Governor Rell’s comments were made last year. Here’s the link to her website:


    Do we really think the State will be increasing city funding this year? Right now, we are in the middle of a recession/depression. The state budget deficit is currently over $300 million and likely to approach $1 billion before the dust settles. The State is already under-funding education cost-sharing and PILOT payments to the municipalities.

    Any workable plan requires a reduction in spending, attracting businesses, increasing the grand list, lowering healthcare costs, establishing an energy plan, and receiving our full share of education cost sharing and PILOT payments. One of the reasons I am running is because I have the municipal finance, accounting and state tax law experience that is going to be essential in the next two years during this depression/recession fiasco. We are all making hard choices and government must do the same. These are the things I have been discussing this entire campaign and will continue to discuss in print and debate.

  6. Lennie your column today was good but I fear on a national level you still have leftist leanings. Just a couple of things: Will someone tell Mitch Robles he is not the mayor? Will someone tell Bill Finch he is the mayor? Please tell Robles that when you are making a salary in the area of $58,000 you are expected to show up at work and you are expected to show up on time. If Ezequiel Santiago does not like it I am sure there are many on this blog that would like that job and would do it better.

  7. Thank you Lennie, for calling it like it is. Musto’s mailer, which explains all his other issues besides the property tax cap, simply says “ready, workable property tax cap.” In other words, “I’m going to say I support a tax cap because it plays well in Trumbull and Monroe, but I’m not going to say how much because I still have to be a strong Democrat in Bridgeport.” Remember he’s part of the Baldwin administration that proposed an 11.6% property tax increase. That’s something we don’t need more of in Bridgeport.

  8. “Musto’s mailer, which explains all his other issues besides the property tax cap, simply says “ready, workable property tax cap.” In other words, ‘I’m going to say I support a tax cap because it plays well in Trumbull and Monroe, but I’m not going to say how much because I still have to be a strong democrat in Bridgeport.'”

    Dear Big City of Dreams:

    Might I remind you of Rob Russo’s anonymous robocall during his last campaign to Monroe and Trumbull voters ONLY:

    It stated “Bill Finch wants to raise taxes in Trumbull and Monroe to pay for property tax relief in Bridgeport”

    Truth hurts … doesn’t it. That little platinum-spoon-in-the-mouth spoiled brat loves to push the suburban fear factor.

    He’s a little shit and the same goes for you (funny how that works).

    I hope Musto takes away that State Senate seat Daddy Warbucks bought for little Robbie’s law school present.

  9. Anthony –

    Thank you for clarifying that you don’t agree with the Governor’s plan to cap local property taxes. However, you haven’t told us what your plan is for the workable property tax cap that you say you support. Please explain to us this alternative.

    You’ve proposed that we get more money from the state, but how do you propose we do that with a $300,000,000 deficit this year?


  10. Lennie

    I know it’s hard to see under $150,000 worth of Saks Fifth Avenue trousers … but it is there.

    I hear that she is hung like a sled dog.

    Speaking of cocks … where’s yahooy?

  11. Mayor Finch and John Gomes should not worry about Mitch Robles. Mitch only has control of two City Councilpersons while the mayor has an advantage with influence over at least 15 Councilpersons. If in the future Mitch with his weak supporters ends up going against Finch in a primary or election, Finch simply has to do the following: Remind (Hammer it in) the voters that it was a former (Ralph Mojica) and current City Councilwoman, both endorsed and supported by Mitch, who must be held accountable for the $16 Million deficit.

    Lennie, you give Mitch Robles too much damn credit for the voter turnout. Let’s give Stafstrom some credit for the financial support (soft money) to Mitch Robles. Mitch without Americo Santiago would have not gone too far in the district. Give Bill Finch his due credit for the turnout too. Bill Finch’s coattail dragged both Eze Santiago and Leticia Colon to victory. Lennie would like the readers to believe that it was Mitch’s coattail that dragged Finch, Eze and Leticia to victory. A Goya Bean could have been the district leader and the results would have been the same. In fact I dare say that the turnout would have been better — everyone knows who is Goya Bean.

  12. Lennie,
    Think of the irony of the Gomes-Santiago fight. The whole purpose of CitiStat is supposed to be to measure and enforce productivity among city workers. But as I told Tom Sherwood and John Gomes as long as there is political patronage in handing out the jobs, there will be no real measurable and enforceable productivity. The city is just wasting money making believe.

  13. If John Gomes feels that Eze is not productive enough, how productive is he going to be while spending most of his time in Hartford?
    The City administration needs to keep in mind what happened to Ernie Newton regarding his no-show job with Lennie’s former contractor (WPCA). Historically, there have been and still are elected officials (local and state) who work for the City and still get full-time pay despite the existence of records showing that they were elsewhere, performing other functions not related to their jobs with the city.

  14. Anna – glad you are back, your postings are really funny. Has anyone read about Palin and “troopergate”? She may not have a penis, but she has a lot of balls.

  15. Today’s topic shed some light on Mr. Gomes. Since I heard of his office renovations I figured that it was a crock that he was hired to save the city money. Finch is killing Bridgeport. He is getting rid of the experienced workers and trading them in for inexperienced do-nothings who happen to be connected. In the end he is going to look like the ass that he is. What about Ezequiel’s cousin who was recently hired into the same titled position as him? Do any of his political hires actually do any work? I hear he is going to ask employees to give up 5% of their pay. Why? To cover the 4.5 million of new hires and renovations. What has to transpire before the state steps in? When do the FEDS get involved?

  16. Assuming that the story about CitiStat is true, it really is too bad.

    The essence of the CitiStat approach is to get the numbers and follow them where they lead. Regardless of the politics involved. What made it successful in Baltimore was the leadership of Baltimore’s Mayor, who used the numbers to ask questions and improve the city’s management. If it is to be successful in Bridgeport’s environment, the numbers collected must be seen to be collected apolitically. Otherwise there will be no credibility for the numbers and no legitimacy for actions taken in response to them.

    You can count on Bridgeport politicians to take a simple, good idea, and screw it up. Too bad for Bridgeport.

  17. Pols are saying, “Cap the tax”. There are many ways to go about capping the tax. I’d like to do it the Colorado way, to use it as an example of a working tax cap measure. A taxpayers Bill of Rights is what Connecticut needs.

    Efforts to girdle government growth date back to at least 1978, when Proposition 13 cut California’s property taxes and inaugurated an antitax age. About 30 states now have tax or spending limits, though few have had much impact. Most are statutory, as opposed to constitutional, making them easy to override. And many permit considerable government expansion.

    The stricter (constitutional) Colorado cap does three things: it imposes firm spending caps (which grow only to reflect population and inflation), returns any excess revenues to taxpayers and allows only voters, not legislators, to override the caps.

    A cap must be firm in order to avoid any smoke and mirror presentation or bait and switch by the Democratic majority in Hartford.

    Have you ever heard of a State returning money to the taxpayers? A Constitutionally mandated tax or spending limit prohibits elected officials from spending excess funds and instead would force the money to go back to the taxpayers. The public benefit and fairness comes when only the voters, not the legislators, can override the cap. There are only a handful of elected officals talking about a tax cap. Most of them are only talking about it, after seeing the response that Rob Russo got when he campaigned on the issue. The Democratic leadership has always stood against tax and spending caps. Only when the voters have the final say as to what language they want in a Taxpayers Bill of Rights will we finally be able to girdle government growth and wasteful spending.

  18. anna is green with penis envy. I hear she is a real cougar.

    Finch’s “Green Initiative” has only taken a year to put together a committee. Did his 42-person transition committee ever file a report? Joint venture with BRBC will be a real cluster fuck. Can you spell ULI?

  19. MEATBALL said:
    “anna: I have one too. Maybe we could hook up and you could check it out!”

    MEATBALL: You might have one now, but are you sure you’d still have one after that meeting?

  20. I really feel Shays will lose this year. If he get 30% or more in Bridgeport Shays will lose. If Himes can pull off 71% to a 79% margin of victory in Bridgeport then Jim Himes will win. Someone told me there could be a 50k turnout this year in Bridgeport. If my math is correct that would be a 77% turnout in the city. And I think we could reach higher than that maybe up to 80%. What do you think Lennie???

  21. #20- The world acording to the way Joel “sees & explains” it! I for one remember #20 council-persons voting on the “’07-’08” city budget which ended July 1st. with #4 voting “no” on the actual budget. And it wasn’t ’til the economy went down & Finch took office that a $16 million budget deficit was anounced. I wish I had the crystal ball that you used when you did all those wonderful things you claim during your days on the council with Mayor Ganim! Notice the only person I ever read on this forum or hear from in general about all the great things he did for Bpt. & the 131st dist. is “YOU”! *** As far as Mitch & the Mayor are concerned, they both deserve each other because they’re very much alike; and Santiago & Gomes will just have to work out their differences like adults if they’re going to work together. But that’s the least of Bpt.’s problems not worth even blogging about on this forum. Because regardless of who’s district leader in certain districts, Bpt. is about, oh 85% Registered Dems. with the remaining 15% left to whomever? So it’s sort of an auto-pilot type of campaigning by many of the candidates in general, unless an opposing candidate is very popular & has the $ to spend towards the election. On the local level it’s more important who sits on the local district town committees & endorses some of these do-nothing, personal gain, nepotism-backed candidates that endorse themselves & their running partners, etc. Unfortunately the elections enforcement commission has no by-laws or guidelines that must be followed to oversee some of the problems that arise from these types of situations. This is why there’s so much political patronage, and you don’t see or hear any real campaigning in general on the local issues @ hand. Just the old sit back & warm a seat type of representation we’re used to getting! If voters start paying more attention to the individual candidates on the local level instead of what party they’re endorsed by, then maybe things might change! ‘Til then it’s pretty much the same old song & dance with a different conductor leading the band.

  22. Well it’s nine days to the election and sadly we appear well on the road to electing the same cast of characters to the State legislature and to the State Senate.
    There are 2 new candidates to the legislature and 1 new or almost new senator but none of them excite me and from their past history both Santiago & Grogins can be expected to do what they did when holding local elective office in Bridgeport and that is Exactly Nothing. Russo did get money from the state for an audit but that’s it.
    Bridgeport can look forward to another wasted year from our Hartford delegation.
    Memo to Chris Caruso stop trying to get Rowland’s pension and try just for once to help the city.
    Just a prediction there is going to be a ton of people who will claim they could not get into vote because of the long lines.

  23. Wondering, you forget the state loan Russo just got for Lacey Manufacturing that saved 250 jobs. I saw the thumbs up in the “The Best and Rest” section in the CT Post.

  24. Agreed Wondering. This country and this state especially need to start fighting to keep jobs here. Can’t imagine 250 people in this city losing their jobs during this economy.

  25. #44- *** Could not agree with you more about the state of chaos Bpt. & Conn. in general are in for, with our new & old state delegation headed to the state capitol! The only one that seems to be on the right track if he doesn’t get lazy & turns into a puppet is Russo. However time will tell, yet voters keep sending them up there; why? Is it that people in general don’t care about local politics, which affects them more or the (auto-pilot) party voters don’t care who’s running, as long as it’s their party’s candidate?

  26. #1- *** Or maybe it’s in the Republican (DNA) to play Grinch & take away “more” from the needy yet telling them that in the long run, enough $ will trickle down to them & keep taxes low. Just keep them in power another #4 more years after a recession, economic meltdown & rush to war & the spending that goes with it! With those that have less paying more than their fair share in taxes. The poor stripped more & more each day from the little handout benefits they get through programs which is a small fraction of what’s spent on foreign policy to non-Americans in general. While the rich get richer by sending their businesses & buying stocks in businesses that move to third-world countrys & use slave labor mentality to make money! All for the good ole boy way of doing things for flag, country, & the GOP way to corrupt power! But time will tell as always whether the coming change will be better, or just more of the same.

  27. #48 … Mojo … no, I’m still not the person using the name Cesar Batalla … but like the person using the name Cesar Batalla, I’m sure you forgot to add Ayala’s name to go along with Russo’s as doing good work in Hartford.

  28. Mojo you have to chill out a bit. All of those that we have sent to Washington both Democrats and Republicans have been screwing us for years. The last 2 years we have had a democratically controled congress and things have only gotten worse. The dems could have stopped the mortgage giveaways in 2005 and chose not to under the guise that everyone is entitled to own their own home. Nice in theory but when you are giving out 100%-plus mortgages something has to give. We are now reaping the benefits of this social experiment.
    Look 40% of the population does not pay taxes we are losing jobs because we tax business at 35% second highest in the world. Yeah we give big oil tax breaks and we probably should not do that.
    The price of oil and gas have been coming down and yet we are still paying $4.00-plus a gallon for milk. Are we getting gouged you bet. Are politician from either party doing anything about it NO.
    I think you should run your campaign on your record and what you think you could accomplish and leave the national politics out of it.
    Just an aside when is the last time you saw a democratic politician wearing a white cape and walking on water? Mojo no matter who gets in we are going to get screwed.
    Good luck on election day at least you are trying and doing more than talking.

  29. #54- My comments were directed to your #44-blog concerning the upcoming Conn. state delegation headed to our “state capitol”. Young & old, newly elected & re-elected Bpt. representing legislative officials, hopefully all working for the same cause! With Russo getting my personal support due to the positive output he’s shown after only being in office about #6 months or so! Again, time will tell exactly what the rest will bring or take away from the table. *** Blog #50, was in response to blog #1 concerning a comparison in same, on how to achieve the final outcome by different political means, maybe??? ***

  30. Jim Himes was campaigning at PT today and when I say PT I mean the heart of PT, he was knocking on doors at the PT houses today. So all of you who say Vote for Shays because he is from Bridgeport are nuts. You would never catch Shays knocking on doors at the PT project housing. I have to give Himes his props for this. You would never catch Shays doing that. He is going to win Bridgeport by a wide margin.

  31. Why do politicians prey on the political ignorance of some communities? I was walking with a particular candidate today, and as I heard him introduce himself to the person on the other side of the door, I heard him drive home the fact that he is the democrat’s candidate for that particular office. He didn’t offer many solutions to the problem of the people that he spoke to, but he mentioned 5 to 6 times that he is a democrat, just like them, and they must vote for democrats. He also spoke of Obama, more so than he did for himself. It really sickened me to hear this otherwise likeable individual participate in such a system. But I guess one has to do whatever it takes to win.
    Please stop encouraging the line vote. Some people do not possess the political savvy to see through the BS and vote conscientiously.

  32. Shays is like Bush? What are you smoking? 53% of the time Shays was with Bush … get the facts straight! And as far as Mr. Rich Guy Greenwich Himes knocking doors in PT? Who gives a shit? Wow big deal, please explain to me what Himes has done for Bridgeport, or for any town for that matter? This guy is a joke and an empty shirt, and prob scared out of his mind in BPT. Hey … why is NO ONE talking about how Himes gave himself a $200,000 gift to himself … check the FEC website, pretty expensive white flag huh? Too much money being spent on negative advertising? PS Shays got endorsed by the NY Times? That must be eating Himes alive.

  33. Anna is an idiot. Rob Russo works for everything he gets and makes this city a better place. Anna, do you suggest we bring in Musto and more taxes? Some change that would be … please don’t blog anymore, you make yourself look dumb.

  34. #51- For someone that keeps insisting that they’re “not” using another blogging handle on this forum, you tend to suck up to Mr. Ayala quite a bit like some of the others! Just to mention a few, C. Batalla, C. Cruz, E. Palmieri, etc. But when you’re young, many things that actually deal with the “real world” are not part of “your” lifestyle responsibilities yet. So in general, you’re still under the wing of an adult & hoping to someday soon understand that life is “not” a carnival after all!

  35. Sounds to me Mr. Mojo that you are quite jealous of Mr. Ayala … and I don’t suck up to anyone and in fact have been a close friend of Andres since we were children … so since he is pushing the big 4 0 … that would make me quite a bit older than a young’n.

  36. #63- Well if you’re not a youngster, you at times certainly blog like one! And, why would I be jealous of Mr. Ayala since you’re the one that keeps blogging about him? I don’t recall ever speaking about him in general terms, both negative or positive! So remember, since you’re claiming to be an adult, age is only a number, it does not reflect your I.Q! By the way, your blogs are actually getting much better between #1 & 8 am on weekends. ***


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