Torres, Blagys: We Support The City Charter, Honor Will Of The People

Blagys, Torres
Phil Blagys and Rick Torres support City Charter.

Republican candidates for City Council Rick Torres and Phil Blagys share this commentary about eliminating conflicts of interest such as enforcing the City Charter that prohibits city employees from serving on the city’s legislative and budget-making body. A dubious loophole in state law, cited by City Attorney Mark Anastasi, defies the charter mandate. Interestingly, Democratic incumbents in the 130th District Sue Brannelly and Steve Stafstrom are split on this issue. Brannelly says there’s no conflict for city employees to serve on the council even though they approve their own wages and benefits in violation of the City Charter. Stafstrom, an attorney, says he supports a bi-partisan state legislative bill to enforce the City Charter grandfathering in current city employees on the council. Moving forward, says Stafstrom, no city employees on the council. The 130th District covers Black Rock and the West End. Torres and Blagys’ commentary follows:

The City Council is apparently worried about “conflicts of interest” after they got hoodwinked into supporting a borrowing initiative that resulted in a politically connected developer getting a brand-new $400,000 driveway courtesy of Bridgeport’s taxpayers. City Council President Tom McCarthy is adamant that an ordinance be passed that would require city employees of these “emergency purchases” to fill out an affidavit swearing that they don’t have a relationship with the chosen contractor (see CT Post link below).

Brannelly, Stafstrom
Sue Brannelly and Steve Stafstrom disagree on City Charter provision.

This is the same Council President who serves on the Airport Commission and, as head of the City Council, oversaw the approval of this appropriation then had this whole mess (uncovered by the CT Post) referred to the Labor Relations Office where he works. Hey, no conflicts there. This stuff reads like a bad novel. And where is in this self-righteous indignation in support of State Representative Jack Hennessy’s bill, co-sponsored by State Representative Auden Grogins, which would close the loophole in state statute and allow Bridgeport’s Charter to be honored which precludes city employees from serving on the City Council. At last count, six City Council members had city jobs including (you guessed it) Tom McCarthy. And to the best of our knowledge, not one of our City Council members supported this legislation as originally written. I mean, you just can’t make this stuff up. Does the word “hypocrisy” come to mind?

As part of our commitment to better governance, we will fight to eliminate conflicts of interest at every level, but we’ll start by honoring the will of the people of Bridgeport who have already voted to revise our charter and not allow city employees to serve on the City Council. Unlike what appears to be at best indifference and at worst disdain by the City Council for what the people have supported through an honest and fair election process, we will consider the will of the people to be sacrosanct. To do otherwise threatens the very underpinnings of our democratic republic.;



    1. LE,
      David Walker, a self-described independent, let it be known CAI was a three-year run for him. That was the plan, and the plan was followed.

      What story a “hardcore Democrat” makes of the facts and how he makes it into a mine that contains “nuggets’ as you term it, is less interesting than the steady education Walker has offered those who have listened and looked.

      What was a resident of Trumbull doing this morning that would pique the interest of “executives in Stamford?” And did they tell you to dump it on the readers of OIB without explanation?

      There is more than meets the “eye” here, L.E. Do you think it is important enough to provide an explanation for this “message?” Time will tell.

      1. Sorry to keep you waiting …
        Amidst a sea of competition, it was my opinions on fiscal affairs that got their interest. Some people write books while others make phone calls. When they showed me the newspaper, they had no idea of my connection to this blog.
        There’s always more than meets the eye–that’s why my inquisitive mind never sleeps.
        While some people call themselves an independent, others see a convenient chameleon, capable of changing colors to meet current needs.

      2. UpData: We pontificate here, right?
        Maybe he had a three-year contract. He’s never said CAI was completely self-funded. He might have benefactors with this and/or his PAC. Am I starting to sound stupid?
        It’s not investigative reporting. It’s public info published by a downstate, sister paper/website of Bridgeport’s hometown paper/website.
        If I reinvent the wheel, I’ll tell you.
        In a related matter, specific events happening nationwide and in Bridgeport circa 1989-1991 made me receptive to the virtues of The Concord Coalition. David Walker had a long history with it and remains in contact with some of its originators. Am I sounding dumb?
        People misunderstand me. I’m not denigrating anyone. I’m trying to make a connection. David Walker has a lot to be proud of and after today’s postings, so do I.
        There, I said it.

      1. Are we living on the same planet?
        I do not think I’d be speculating if I said David Walker has had an instrumental impact on the current political careers of Rick Torres and Phil Blagys. Everything I’ve read here makes me feel that way.

      1. I wonder if Jennifer Buchanan is implying I am responsible for Connecticut’s unfunded pension liabilities because if she keeps this up, I might accept her invitation to appear on her cable show.

        1. Come on the show any time. I would enjoy having you and I am sure you would enjoy being had … and no, I am not implying you are responsible for the unfunded–but I am implying you started this by posting that opinion piece based on … let me see, what is that writer’s qualification?

        2. Just responding to the few interesting nuggets you refer to–should have asked what nuggets rather than push back–so what do you consider the nuggets?

  1. So long as spending continues, the debt limit will be reached, again and again. The debt is not falling enough to cover our increased spending.
    There is no such thing as a spending cap–just a debt limit. If we tax to get it, we can spend an infinite amount. If you make a dollar you can spend a dollar, right? The debt limit concerns only the money we borrow.
    While the annual deficit is important, my greater concern is the total debt, which still grows. That’s what causing trouble now.
    Here’s the only good news: this blog is all about pontification which means there are many others here who can dispute or agree with me.

    1. That opinion seems contrary to the article you posted. Did you read were Bill Gaston says ‘Indeed, in addition to plummeting deficits, CBO’s long-term budget projections don’t show crisis levels of debt, even looking out for the next 25 years.’? If you make a dollar and you owe your credit card $0.50 (principle + interest), you can only spend $0.50. You already spent the other $0.50. Regardless, if we are already spending too much, spending more on a war in Syria, Obamacare or anything else will not help. Spending less than that $0.50 would seem like the way to go.
      I think you meant to say ‘our spending is not falling enough to impact our increasing debt’ because you can’t reduce debt to cover increased spending. That does not really make sense. Reducing debt is part of your spending. Reduced spending does not become part of your debt.

    1. What did you mean by ‘The debt is not falling enough to cover our increased spending.’? There is one other problem. You said ‘If we tax to get it, we can spend an infinite amount.’ That is not true. Once your taxing equals your GNP, your tax rate would be 100%. Once your tax rate becomes a significant amount of your GNP, businesses do not want to run and people do not want to work. You do not ‘take home’ enough to make going to work worth the effort. This causes your GNP to drop. Also, the interest on your borrowing starts to rise because you would have a hard time paying the debt back. After a while, people just won’t loan you any more money, your GNP is dropping and your spending gets to 100% or more of GNP. That is called bankruptcy.


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