Time For A Good Fight And An Anniversary Party, Plus: Finch, Himes Announce Dough Flow

Are you sick of me harping about sludge, sewers, effluent, toilets, separation systems? I better stop before you all flush me into the Pequonnock River.

At some point the regional sewage proposal will reach the City Council and won’t that be fun. You know, the council meets Monday night and I’ve been thinking (yes, once in a while I’m capable of that) we haven’t had a decent battle royal at what former council member Tom Mulligan characterized as “The Monday Night Fights.”

Yeah, I’m talking the days when Chris Caruso called Ernie Newton a snake, and Ed Gomes called Caruso a fat slug and Lisa Parziale termed that characterization an insult to slugs. And every time the jobless Caruso railed about a new city position there was Bernie Katz, the master of the rejoinder, chiming hey Chris, that would be a good job for you!

Bob Troll Walsh frothed into City Council President Tom McCarthy’s face with a firm spray last year. But Big Mac isn’t the kind of guy that would roll around the floor with the Troll. Maybe Jim Holloway? Hide the whiskey bottles.

How about the Connecticut Legislature? Any good fights up there? Caruso and Gomes after all are now up there. Maybe we can persuade them to turn the clock back 20 years. That would be a pretty good belly-bumping match.

Speaking of the legislature what do you think about bringing back the tolls? In 1983 some guy named Klutz drove his tractor-trailer into the Stratford toll booth. What a mess and loss of life. Governor Bill O’Neill said that’s enough. No more tolls.

Now it appears they could be back. Where do you put them? Why don’t we threaten to stick them in front of the two casinos to reopen that slot compact. Aren’t you glad I’m not running the state? Countdown, please save me from myself.

Hey, did ya catch the moolah that Congressman Jim Himes announced for the city the other day: $2.85 million for the Bridgeport transportation center, $1.9 million for the Pleasure Beach water taxi service. (I want that job.) And $500K for the Lighthouse Program.

Party Time

Can you believe it? OIB will be one year old on March 12. Yeah, time for an anniversary party. We’re doing this the Bridgeport way, bypassing the bidding process. Danny Roach, proprietor of Matty’s Corner at Fairfield Avenue and Brewster Street in Black Rock, is throwing his doors open for us that Thursday night at 6 p.m. Tell your friends, neighbors, relatives (does this sound like a stump speech?) to join us March 12. We’ll spread some rumors, figure things out, lift a cocktail or two and Danny’s gonna throw us a spread. Yes, that’s right, free food. Don’t tell the Democratic Town Committee!

Everyone’s invited.  I’m gonna see if the mayor is free that night to join us. That scream you just heard was the mayor saying, Lennie, leave me alone. Okay, Cecil Young and his bullhorn are not invited.

Thanks to you, OIB enjoys thousands of visitors. When I started this thing who knew? Not me. Let’s try it and see what happens. Well, now you’re stuck with me. So thanks, everyone.

News release from  Mayor Finch and Congressman Himes

Himes, Finch Announce First Distribution of Recovery Funds

$7.9 M in grants address housing crisis, prevent homelessness

WASHINGTON, DC -Congressman Jim Himes and Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch today announced three grants totaling $7,933,312 will help prevent homelessness and provide affordable housing and economic opportunity in Bridgeport. This first influx of Recovery funding comes the week after President Obama signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act into law.

“These funds are vital to the City’s ongoing efforts to create affordable housing and provide the necessary public services to those who need it the most – those who have lost their homes or are on the brink, “said Mayor Finch. “We are very thankful for the attention paid to this extremely important funding stream by our Congressman, Jim Himes.”

Congressman Himes will be working with local government officials to ensure that this economic recovery funding gets to southwestern Connecticut.

“The Recovery Act is already addressing some of our most severe challenges,” said Congressman Himes. “Just two weeks after I voted for the Recovery Act, we’re already seeing investment in Stamford that will help keep families in their homes-one of the most important steps we must take to turn our economy around.”

Specifically, the grants for Bridgeport include $1,351,004 from the Homeless Prevention Fund (HPF), $883,094 for Community Development Block Grants (CDBG), and $5,699,214 in Section 9 funding. The CDBG will give priority to projects that will begin within 120 days of the grant award and will focus on projects to undertake a wide range of activities intended to create suitable living environments, provide decent affordable housing, and create economic opportunities. The HPF money will target individuals who are on the brink of homelessness with support for a range of assistance including help with security or utility deposits, moving costs, and short-term rental assistance. The Section 9 funding comes in the form of a capital fund award which will increase resources available for investment and management activities for public housing, including the modernization and development of new homes.

Earlier this week, President Obama announced that by April 1st, 95% of Americans will see their paychecks increase because of the Making Work Pay tax cut in the Recovery Act. Withholding taxes are set to decrease by April 1st



  1. I am in favor of putting tolls on all the highways leading into the state. This would be a one-way toll. Yes I know about the accident in Stratford. If memory serves me the southbound lane at this toll area was designed badly. You went from doing 55-65 miles an hour, rounded a curve and there was the toll.
    Every State in the northeast has tolls and no major accidents. Taxing people that come into the state is not a bad idea otherwise they use our roads for free and we pay the repair costs.
    I am sure someone mentioned federal highway funds that have been the Connecticut legislators’ rallying cry in the past. Are they saying that New Jersey that has tolls on all their highways gets no Federal Highway funds? That’s total BS they get millions.

  2. OB has planned for some stimulus money for “infrastructure” which includes roads and bridges. Connecticut already has the highest gasoline tax earmarked for this purpose. Implementing tolls will certainly not encourage commerce here. Bear in mind that our recovery in our city and in our state is dependent upon the stimulus providing opportunity for the small-business entrepreneur to create new jobs thereby generating new tax revenue that will pay our bills. Imagine 5000 small businesses each creating 10 to 25 jobs. The more this state attacks small business with fees and costs (tolls are a cost) the more the dreamer will seek his or her fortune elsewhere.

    Job, Jobs, Jobs and more jobs are what is needed to succeed. Any roadblocks to that objective will ruin us for good.

    We must think out of the box. We must think about how we can create new sources of tax revenue without increasing the already overburdened local taxpayer.

    The big question on everyone’s mind is how do we pay this stimulus package back? Simple. Use it effectively, put massive amounts of people back to work and the tax revenue coupled with the payback schedule puts the country in a position to, indeed, reduce by half the debt by the end of Ob’s first term.

    BTW … what was that guy’s name? You know … the one we hired to take care of economic development in our city? You know … the guy who is supposed to create an environment in Bridgeport that will encourage new business and new jobs? You know … the guy who was hand-picked by Finch based upon stellar recommendations from his last gig in Providence where that city saw the fastest decline in economic development since Roger Williams opened up a banana stand? Finch … how come you hired a guy with such a dismal record?

    Finch is a disaster of unparalleled proportions. He’s the worse possible thing that could have happened to this town given the economic collapse. Sorry, birdman. I won’t be at Testo’s supporting your reelection bid.

    1. Too bad you’re throwing the bash at Matty’s Corner. That precludes my attendance. If the owner got over his obstinance about draught beer I’d change my mind. But you know how mules are: stubborn.

  3. Yahooy: The economic guru hired by Finch was a late entry for the job. Finch got a call from Mayor Bloomberg from NYC asking Finch to interview this guy.
    Well Finch the ever-present ass kisser hired this guy Eversley.
    Eversley still lives in NYC and commutes by train every day. He has been known to doze off at meetings. He really was not the first choice.
    If you notice, the Finch team does not like strong women. They got rid of Nancy Hadley from Economic Development who I happen to think was doing a good job. They got rid of Michele Mount Legislative Liaison, another bright, strong woman. They got rid of Rina Bakalar Grants person. Seen any new grants lately? These dumb asses in the Finch administration are afraid of Bright strong women.

    1. I guess that proves why we still have the inefficient Ms. Alanna Kable on board. She has destroyed the grants office as well as the housing office. I guess she isn’t powerful and efficient enough to get rid of. But she kisses the right places, and has a take-home car to boot. To the wind with efficiency for sure. It’s good we have enough money to hire other people to do what she should be doing. Contracting out your work using CDBG and other grant funds whilst giving the appearance of heading a department is nice work if you can get it. It pays extremely well.

  4. Wondering, thank you for your kind comments. I left to run for State Representative. I hate the thought that anyone got rid of me. It was very hard because I did love my job, but I thought I could serve the area better in the Legislature. Unfortunately, 53% of the voters did not!

  5. Off topic but on point:

    Liquor sales bring in more revenue than sales taxes alone. The state of Connecticut and the federal government tax alcoholic beverages (and cigarettes) separately from sales taxes. So the revenue generated by Sunday liquor sales would benefit the state’s bottom line rather more handsomely than the estimated $300,000.00 in sales taxes. So-called sin taxes and tariffs would be generated as well, figures that would add up to several million dollars annually.

    The Connecticut Package Store Association, which represents less than half of the liquor retailers in the state, staged a protest against Sunday sales. They claimed that that they can’t afford to hire more help to handle the increased hours. Kevin Pinto, the owner of That’s The Spirit package store in Fairfield, claimed that the proposal (which would eliminate one of the last blue laws on the books) would give an unfair advantage to supermarkets and big-box stores like Walmart and Target.

    The proposed legislation was submitted by Rep. Kathleen M. Tallarita, D-Enfield, addressed the CTPSOA’s concerns, saying that they’d have the option of not opening, but that she sees many of her fellow Enfield residents driving over the state line into Long Meadow, West Springfield and Southwick Massachusetts on Sundays to purchase booze and cigarettes. (Revenue estimates range from $2.2 million to $15 million.) Legislators representing southwestern and southeastern Connecticut districts ought to get on board here: cross the state line into Rhode Island or Westchester County New York on any given Sunday and you’ll see more than a few cars with Connecticut ID tags parked in front of stores with neon beer signs in the windows.

  6. You know Wondering, I guess in the grand scheme of things it doesn’t matter, because I am in a place I love and can’t picture being happier. (Ok, happier if my company takes off.) Plus I can blog on the job, since I am the boss!

    As to the liquor stores, I am torn as I see both points. Do you think a compromise could be worked out by proximity to the border, perhaps a regionalism effort? I hate blue laws and think they are one of the last bastions of mixing church and state. The car dealers had to deal with this too. But still, I do feel for the Mom and Pop stores who will be hurting because they can’t afford the overhead of an extra day. Perhaps the little stores in the interior of the state won’t suffer so much if they decided to stay closed on Sunday. Especially, if the price of gas goes up. I guess I lean towards letting capitalism do its work. But the Democrat in me still wants to protect the little guy.

    1. Independent businesses built this country’s economy and continue to play a major role when it comes to providing jobs and stability to a community. The supermarkets and big-box stores tend to cater to the greatest demand (and the lowest common denominator). Stores of the mom-and-pop variety usually cater to localized and more discriminating clientele. Wine shops for example–stores like that always carry high-end booze like single-malt scotch, stuff you’re not likely to encounter in a corner grocery in Bridgeport. There should be more than enough business for everyone to make a few more bucks.

  7. As to tolls, electronic tolling doesn’t have the same type of safety concerns as the old tolls. It is interesting the Governor said no new taxes. It seems to me a fee for a service is a use tax and reduction in commission are still taking away revenue from people. I don’t think anyone thinks we can get out of this mess without new revenue coming from somewhere, and generally that place is our pockets, no secret. I just don’t like the ingenuousness of saying no new taxes; it is just semantics.

    1. “It seems to me a fee for a service is a use tax and reduction in commission are still taking away revenue from people. I don’t think anyone thinks we can get out of this mess without new revenue coming from somewhere, and generally that place is our pockets, no secret. I just don’t like the ingenuousness of saying no new taxes, it is just semantics.”

      Careful MCAT, the same can be said of a Monroe Sewage Treatment fee.

    2. I agree, it is a matter of semantics. No new taxes but plenty of jacked-up fees and service charges. With Barack Obama as President of the United States the middle class may actually get some relief from bearing the lion’s share of the tax burden (cue Aaron Copeland’s “Fanfare For The Common Man”).

  8. Lennie,
    Judith and I will be attending your party on the 12th.
    And why is MCAT picking on Trolls? That’s not right!
    And she want electronic trolls on top of it! The Bridge Troll Workers of America Local 666 won’t stand for that!

  9. Lennie, I’ll keep March 12th in mind and see if I can make it. I will be at Borders to buy Bow Tie Banker; after I read the book I will torch it until I get the Bank’s alarm code and the safe combination. BTW, hide all the Mary Higgins Clark novels before I buy them all and have no money left to buy your book.

  10. Bob, you made me laugh out loud. Is the troll from Three Billy Goats Gruff in local 666? Or this exclusive to Bridgeport Trolls? Do the trolls have wild-colored hair protruding from their heads too?

  11. After moving to Bpt. just a short time ago I had to dispose of a refrigerator. I could not believe that the City does not properly dispose of appliances containing CFCs and HCFCs in an efficient manner. It’s proven chloroflurocarbons and hydrochlorofluorocarbons contribute to global warming and depletion of the ozone layer.
    I found out that the City has a Federally funded truck to gather up refrigerators, air conditioners, freezers, dehumidifiers, etc. which are just dumped into a pit, smashed, run over with a loader. Then just scraped up and loaded into a trailer as they leak out into the air!
    These units should be processed which includes purging of freon gas, removal of compressors and capacitors, due to the possibility of PCB contamination!
    This is a Federal Violation of the E.P.A.’s Clean Air Act and subject to a $25,000 per day fine! Bridgeport should get its act together! And you people feel the City can handle a Regional Sewage authority. It can’t even run its own Transfer Station accordingly.

  12. Wingnut: After you planted a tree did you throw your refrigerator into that pit? They are not run over but they are picked up and dumped in a truck to be hauled away. Just who is going to pay to have this work done? We are on the balls of our ass and now we need to hire a ton of workers to do surgery on these refrigerators. When the Feds and Al Gore come up with the funds then maybe we can do it.
    I suggest you look at a couple of other transfer stations and you will see the same procedure. The POSSIBILITY of PCB contamination. What possibility?
    By the way Wingnut we do run the sewer plants already and yes we do dump sewage on occasion into the sound on stormy days. You want to know why? We don’t have the money to upgrade the sewer lines or the treatment plants. Do I like this? NO but where does the money come from? If I were you and had not totally unpacked I would move. You know what else gets dumped into the transfer station? Computers.
    BTW I don’t believe Al Gore and global warming is not proven. When the weather is colder it’s because of global warming; when the weather is warmer it’s global warming. So who knows?
    BTW where did you get your expertise from?

  13. I went on line and looked up Federal E.P.A. regulations. BTW as of July 1, 2009 all TVs, computer monitors and cell phones will be required by Federal Law (which means little in Bpt I hear) to be disposed of in a specific container; I guess to be recycled. Hope the city can get with the program.

  14. Wondering, while I was at your Transfer Station I noticed about 75 Propane tanks sitting down in the pit on some old ratty-looking trailer. No fence around them sort of exposed to the public and the elements. Is that how the other Stations store Haz Mat?

  15. All of this complaining will only get worse as the city rids itself of long-term experienced knowledgeable employees. The recent attack on the NAGE union is an example. So many departments are falling behind or not caring due to these cuts. All because the NAGE union wanted the city to honor a valid contract. Come June, negotiations could have commenced. It’s funny how the lowly paid NAGE worker-bees are expected to give up a valid contract, while the contracted executives are still driving city-funded vehicles because it is in their contract. Their contract is good, but the NAGE Contract cannot be honored. Hey, all you execs making over $100K, do you know this is not a rich city, do you think MAYBE you could afford to give up your contracted car and drive one of your own??? We all do on less than $40K a year. This is not a corporation. It is public service. Do all you highly paid over $100K feel good knowing that you got your contracted car as promised while some child goes to bed hungry? And you wonder why you get no respect from city employees. Many lowly paid NAGE workers gave furloughs of one or two weeks and still got laid off. It is very sickening to us residents how you out-of-town executives are sucking all you can off the poor people of Bridgeport. I try not to blog, but I have been really angry about this for a long time, and hope that someone understands the inequities here. NAGE workers are hard and knowledgeable workers for very little money. Most of us live here. You out-of-town executives taking every perk you can are really a thorn in our system. One of you should make a move, give up the cars people. Show you care.

  16. *** I may go March 12th but only if my “pals” Dewars on Cocks, Joely, Bpts Funniest, are there so we can all have a nice anniversary toast! I was going to mention someone else but he already made a lame excuse not to go. Also, is it okay if I bring my bail bondsmen too? Hey it’s B/Rock & one never knows do one? *** So far so good for Himes, I’m impressed with his continued drive to do as much as possible in his 1.6 yr. post before preparing for re-election. *** And do you really think Finch is considering running again for Mayor or maybe State Senate? ***

  17. Meatball if you read my post the WE refers to the city running the sewer treatment plant.
    Wingnut the propane tanks are stored outside and really are not accessible to the public. If I am not mistaken the valves and valve stems have been removed. If there are tanks with valve stems on them they still pose very little hazard to the general public.They are in an open area where there are no ignition sources and if the valve stems are still on or one breaks off there still is very little if any hazard to the general public.
    The computers and TVs are being salvaged for the small amount of precious metals they contain such as platinum.
    Remember the idiots in Washington pass laws that are unenforceable and make no sense all of the time. BTW there is only one city employee at the transfer station the rest are paid by Resco.
    Without this transfer station the vacant lots and streets of Bridgeport would be filled with the debris that is now dumped at the transfer station for FREE.

  18. When the state got rid of the tolls, it dramatically increased the gas tax so that the state transportation fund would have enough money to repair the bridges and roads and pay for the transportation department, motor vehicle department and state police.

    Then the gas stations at the state borders screamed that drivers were buying their gas in Mass, NY and RI and driving through Connecticut using and abusing the roads. So the State cut the gas taxes, severely depleted the state transportation fund and now the infrastructure is suffering from delayed maintenance and the cost of the trains and buses are going up.

    Of course the State must put back tolls, but they should be the E-Z Pass technology that is working very well in Mass, NY, NJ and across the country. We need to keep the bus fares down, keep the train fares reasonable and regularly maintain the bridges and roads. I don’t want a bunch of stupid taxes or raise the income taxes. Toll-type revenue is absolutely a no-brainer in my opinion.

    1. Reinstitute highway tolls but lower the gasoline tax, hmmm … We’re gonna have to pay for repairs to the transit infrastructure someway, somehow; even if the money is hardly ever spent on repairs to the transit infrastructure. E-Z Pass is the way to go. The E-Z Pass system also creates a few jobs, more than the system of toll booths.

  19. Lennie, during Weicker’s reign CDOT found an old Merritt Parkway toll booth and wanted to put it in front of the entrance to Foxwoods. A group of employees and their families even started to paint it and repair the windows. The Indians found out and the booth never made it on the truck. I bet the toll booth is still in the warehouse.

    When Weicker let Don Imus be Governor for the day, CDOT almost got away with putting that toll booth in front of the Capitol building to collect a toll from Imus on his way in to work. Ah, those were the days.

  20. I’ll be there for the book signing. Can’t afford to purchase the book (I’m so broke I can’t afford to pay attention) but I’ll show up to cheer on Lennie “Captain” Grimaldi as he autographs copies of his tome for the expected hordes of constant readers (wink-wink).

  21. *** I asked MCAT a question some Blogs ago but never got a response? If you don’t know, okay but a bit rude to leave someone in limbo, yet answering others! *** Also in an earlier blog, I gave praise to Himes for coming through for the 4th district; not even realizing that most of the “$” foundation for those perks were in fact due to “Shays”! A warm Thank You to C. Shays, who was always available to me with a warm smile & a “stand up straight son” you’re in the public’s eye advice, whenever we met. *** Rumor has it that Matty’s Corner has genuine Draft-Beer now? *** NICE! ***

    1. Ah Mojo bro … now if only we can see you blogging with a warm smile and throwing around some positive karma … what a wonderful world this would be!

  22. I stopped blogging for awhile because me and the employees all around me are so frustrated and disgusted and whatever we say doesn’t seem to matter.

    While I truly believe that Mayor Finch has good intentions, he has the absolute wrong people carrying them out. It’s all over the city. Central Grants, once a thriving dept bringing in millions of grant dollars each year is now virtually non-existent. The city is missing out on millions more in grant opportunities because Alanna decides not to apply. The city council sees it but no one says anything.

    Public Facilities is a joke. We keep the entire recreation staff yet we cut all the programs. Someone please tell me what these people are doing between now and the summer. They should have been laid off and called back with their programs. Instead they are hanging around tripping over each other. The same goes with the senior centers. Those who are not performing should be closed down. Take a lesson from New Haven. But Bpt has too many political sacred cows.

    Then there are those depts who are so short-staffed that they can’t properly function like the Police dept. records Room, Zoning and City Clerk’s. The mayor, in a vindictive move to get back at NAGE, laid off low-paid employees who actually had a real job. Now these depts can barely function and who is suffering? The public that we are supposed to serve.

    My point is that we are doing everything wrong. We threw away good depts and good employees and we kept the sacred cows and do-nothing employees. Us long-term employees see so clearly what is going wrong yet we are silenced. Those who dare to speak up are written up or threatened. The public and the media are not aware of how bad things are but the employees see it everyday.

    We desperately need someone to stop the chaos. Mayor Finch needs to see that Alanna, Sherwood, Nunn and Feeney are not helping, they are making things worse. They are destroying the city. Slowly but surely, everything is breaking down. There are no rules or processes anymore. It’s a free-for-all with unqualified people calling the shots. And when you have this dysfunction at the top, it poisons everyone. Good employees stop giving 100% and just try to get through each day. They stop pointing out mistakes or making good suggestions because no one cares or listens. And we sink deeper and deeper. It is bad, really bad.

    Joel, what is happening with the school clinics? I heard rumors last week but not sure what is true. This was a project given to Sherwood and Alanna and they seemed to have failed miserably. Now instead of the seamless transition the mayor promised, we have clinics closed and reduced services. This is a perfect example of what is wrong with the city. But these two won’t be disciplined; no they’ll find some lowly employee to blame for their incompetence.

    1. *** Sorry to say this but wait ’til city budget time, which is right around the corner! *** And for MCAT, I’m not repeating my question again, sorry! *** Hey Lennie, any way of getting the capitol’s Bpt. delegation’s attendance after their budget time is officially over? ***

  23. City Hall Smoker; You are right there are sacred cows all over the city. They are kept on at the expense of the career civil servant. Recreation has not been touched because you have Sherwood’s ex girl friend and Carroll’s girlfriend’s son working up there. I am not sure it’s in recreation but I do know it’s at the park department office.
    What you say is also true in zoning, Minor and Buckley don’t say a thing because they are afraid they will get cut by Finch and his team who are the most vindictive Bastards I have ever seen in city hall. This office along with the 2 boards are in a state of confusion. Any developer going into that office would surely have second thoughts.
    Nunn & Feeney are completely clueless; watch Feeney at meetings and you will see what I mean. These 2 are dumber than a box of rocks, and so it goes on and on.

  24. Greetings to all. I’m new to making comments, but not to reading this blog. Think of callers on sports radio who call in saying “First time, long time”.

    To continue on Wondering’s and City Hall Smoker’s comments, the day Alanna Kabel gets removed from the Finch administration is the same day that City Council President Tom McCarthy loses his political muscle.

    Oh yeah, did I mention that Kabel and McCarthy are cousins?

    Ah, nepotism.

  25. Last time we had 1-1/2″ of snow Public Works came in for 19 Hrs. On a weekend all O.T. Wonder how long those guys will be in if we do get hit with heavy snow? You can bet the person in charge of that O.T. is also working it. Guess John Gomes is not familiar with P.F.D. O.T.!

    1. If it takes 24 straight OT hours it’s better than someone getting hurt or worse on bad roads … you should leave your adresss meatyballs and hopefully the plow drivers will pass you by.


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