Transform Your Toilets

I had all the toilet discussion I could handle Thursday afternoon.

I attended the public forum sponsored by The Downtown Task Force at the Golden Hill United Methodist Church, across from City Hall, that focused on the tri-community regional proposal to connect a sewer line from Monroe to Trumbull that’s piped into the city’s sewage treatment plants.

Shelton-based developer Bob Scinto, born and raised in Bridgeport, wants to relocate the Jewish Home for the Elderly in Fairfield to a new construction site on property he owns in Monroe which does not have a sewage treatment system. For the privilege of connecting into the Trumbull system that’s connected to Bridgeport the city stands to garner an upfront tax payment of several million dollars with additional fees going to the city’s Water Pollution Control Authority.

The question on my mind and many others is: what’s an appropriate dollar figure for the city and what impact will this have on the city’s burdened–especially when it rains–sewage capacity.

Thursday afternoon Scinto was part of a panel, with a regional slant, that included Paul Timpanelli, chief of the Bridgeport Regional Business Council, George Estrada, former director of Public Facilities for the city, and Michael Feeney, chief financial officer for Bridgeport and chairman of the Water Pollution Control Authority. Anne Pappas-Phillips, a member of the city’s Planning and Zoning Commission, moderated the event.

Estrada, the lone city resident on the panel, did a a nice job in a slide show highlighting the city’s educational, cultural, judicial, medical, transportation (and, yes, sewage) assets that serve the region to the 75 in attendance that included members of the Bridgeport City Council such as Council President Tom McCarthy, James Holloway, Sue Brannelly, Michelle Lyons, Angel DePara and Leticia Colon.

Estrada shared that the city’s sewage treatment plants can currently handle the daily wastewater generated by Bridgeport and Trumbull except during major rain storms when sewage overflows discharge into Long Island Sound. He pointed out that 2.94 million gallons of sewage per day flows from Trumbull to Bridgeport. (Yeah, I know, this is not the kind of post you want to read downing breakfast or lunch.)

Timpanelli, a strong public speaker, provided the audience a quick description of the proposed tri-town tentative agreement without getting into revenue specifics worked out by the chief elected officials of the respective towns. Timpanelli brokered the deal between the communities.

This is where the afternoon went right in the toilet–not in a nasty sense–but Timpanelli offered that the 85,000 daily gallons of additional sewage that would flow from Monroe to Bridgeport would be offset by modernizing the toilets of all city-owned facilities such as schools. Basically, he said, the current toilet that now uses 4.5 gallons each flush can be reduced to 1.5 gallons per flush with correction, with roughly a $200,000 investment financed by the deal.

Scinto emphasized that this was the first time in the state that three towns worked together to create something positive for Bridgeport.

Feeney stressed that Bridgeport already has achieved regional cooperation through its Aquaculture School and emerging dispatch center.

The first question came from Roger Reynolds, an attorney representing a nonprpofit environmental group, that has put the city on notice that unless it makes improvements to its sewage treatment system it will haul the city into federal court. Actually it was more of a statement, as OIB reported in an interview with Reynolds a few days ago, in which he does not believe state statute allows sewage fees deposited into the city’s general fund.

Timpanelli pointed out the various fees associated with the deal, some that can go into the general fund and others that will go as a user fee to the WPCA.

Several from the audience had questions but things didn’t heat up until Andrew Fardy, a long time pol in the city, made it known that the city is always getting screwed by the ‘burbs and this is no different. Fardy was flushed by the notion that everything would be fine as long as the city modernized its toilets.

Sitting there, I wondered why Mayor Bill Finch’s Chief of Staff Adam Wood, who made an appearance at the event, allowed this public forum to go forward before all the ducks were lined up with full City Council support. What is it, a trial balloon before it gets to the City Council?

I had a quick question that I directed to Scinto, a good guy, who hasn’t had a lot of patience in recent years working with the Bridgeport political process: “Bob, what is your patience level to see this deal through?”

He explained calmly that he wanted to do this deal in Monroe to benefit Bridgeport, but that if he had to he could do it in Trumbull that’s already connected to the city sewer system, and Bridgeport would not receive the full financial benefit.

A few questioners after me, in fact the last one to speak, was OIB friend Phil Kuchma, a downtown developer, who launched into a heated three-minute jihad about why this proposed deal was crappy for the city.

“You insult people by saying we’ll do it in Trumbull,” Kuchma frothed.

Meanwhile, City Councilman Jim Holloway, sitting next to me, elbowed me in the ribs: “This is blood money. A bad deal for the city. I can’t support it.”

Scinto calmly responded to Kuchma, a city resident: “It’s your town. If you don’t want to see this here, it’s your call.”

We haven’t seen the last of this issue, and I’m not saying it’s bad for the city, but all this talk of toilets has given me a front row seat. Stay tuned.

If you want to see graphics that Estrada presented see this link:

The Impact of Regional Development on Downtown Bridgeport FINAL 012909.pdf

Speaking of sludge, news release from Mayor Finch

City Slated To Receive $4.8m for Sewer Overflow Work



  1. *** What’s in this for Timpanelli & the B.R.B.C. & why does Scinto want to look out for Bpt. so much? Sounds like he could have saved “$” and a lot of problems by putting the homes in Trumbull from the begining! *** Also the Aquaculture School is not a good example of Trumbull, Fairfield & Bpt. working together. At one time, they were having problems getting students in general to go there. Also, after the school’s construction committee voted yes to purchase 1 acre of property from Capt. Cove (which the land really belonged to Bpt. but was originally leased to C/C) and spend $1. million to plan an expansion @ Aquaculture. The expansion project had to be put on hold because the city never inspected the land before buying it back from C/C. It turned out that the 1-acre piece of property was so contaminated that it would cost too much money to get it cleaned up to state standards since it was going to be for school property! Neither Trumbull, Fairfield or any other neighboring town that sent their kids there wanted any part in helping Bpt. with any cost! *** The state’s going to fund money to Bpt. to help in our sewage overflow problems, so (care about Bpt.) Scinto, Timpanelli, Monroe and Trumbull can benefit from it and maybe screw things up! *** “Forget about it”! And if the council votes this up, they’re ignorant followers! ***

  2. Compliments to George Estrada on his presentation based upon “The Impact of Regional Development on Downtown Bridgeport”. These reports give us all the info available on a particular problem … but we sometimes find them too complicated to refer to.
    This report clearly states that Bridgeport’s two wastewater treatment facilities are currently adequate to serve sanitary flows generated by Bridgeport, Trumbull and Monroe in dry weather, but not during WET CONDITIONS.
    In 2008 there were 23 events when even the bypass system was overwhelmed and RAW SEWAGE was discharged directly into LONG ISLAND SOUND! In addition, it’s obvious to us that storm water flooding has been increasing.
    How hard should it be for those entrusted with the welfare and future of Bridgeport to come to the realization that at some future date it might be possible the DEP and EPA will MANDATE that the entire community may have to eventually tie into Bridgeport’s sanitary system?
    Now it becomes imperative that all agreements with these communities be re-worked to MANDATE funding based on pro-rata sharing of ALL COSTS! Sounds too simple???
    And if this report was completed under Nancy Hadley, former Economic Development Director, what was the reason for letting her go? Now she’s reduced to applying for the job of Downtown Special Services Director? What a waste … and how typical of Bridgeport political maneuvering.

  3. Scinto is offering snake oil. He’s got the elected officials of Monroe eating from the palm of his hand (in a figurative and literal sense: they can only use their mouths as their palms have been greased) so of course they’ll line up to offer unconditional support.

    The way the deal looks now, it would not be in Bridgeport’s interest to sign on. If it was rewritten to require Monroe to pony up the funds needed to increase the capacity of Bridgeport’s chronically overworked sewage treatment facility for the additional intake, that would be more acceptable. Trumbull, as their town is piggybacking onto Bridgeport’s system, ought to pay for the privilege as well.

  4. Kid

    I’m with you on this one. Good job by Andy Fardy with his appearance and letter to the editor yesterday. I don’t understand why the meeting was at four o’clock in the afternoon.

    1. I was just looking for Fardy’s letter on the Post’s web site. I read that too, and wanted to quote from it. Mr. Fardy was right on. When the residents of the lavender swamps (Trumbull, Monroe, Fairfield etc.) want to go slumming, where do they go? Bridgeport. When their children want to purchase narcotics, where do they go? Bridgeport. When the men with bored married lives want a little action, where do they go? To Bridgeport, to patronize the city’s prostitutes. When these suburbanites come into Bridgeport, do they have any respect for our streets? No. Their college-aged children pool rides into Bridgeport, get blind drunk at the bars downtown or in Black Rock, urinate, defecate and regurgitate on the street, and throw their empty liquor bottles out the car window. Thanks for all the broken glass. And what are we getting in return? 85,000 gallons of more of their shit.

    2. The meeting was held at four o’clock in the afternoon to limit attendance. Many people were still working at their jobs at that time. This is a sensitive issue. Bridgeport residents are becoming more politically savvy all the time; if the meeting were held at a later time, say seven or seven-thirty in the evening (when most folks have finished washing the supper dishes), attendance would’ve been much greater.

  5. There’s a good-sized chunk of federal economic stimulus money coming Bridgeport’s way. Let’s hope that it gets down to the people that really need the help. The politically well-connected businessmen in this town have shown plenty of greed, avarice and self-interest, but not much in the way of redeeming qualities. Earvin “Magic” Johnson’s investment group would’ve done wonders for an undeveloped area in downtown Bridgeport, but we’ll never know. He and his partners were scared off by something or someone. What or who? I wouldn’t ever suggest that Mayor Finch is engaging in some Joe Ganim-style free enterprise. He doesn’t strike me as that kind of player. No, I would venture to guess that a few of the well-connected and privileged few informed Mr. Johnson that he could do business in Bridgeport, but he would have to hire tradesmen from certain union locals and purchase materials from a select group of suppliers, or the project would be boondoggled by one snafu after another. (The Mafia had a lock on the concrete industry in New York City using similar strong-arm tactics, albeit with the threat of violence.)

  6. So the money, meant to stimulate the economy by relieving some of the financial stress on the working and middle classes, will probably end up improving the bank accounts of a few well-connected fat cats. How much you wanna bet that said fat cats are members of the Bridgeport Democratic Town Committee, or have a wife, son, daughter, brother, mother, uncle or maiden aunt that is?

  7. The time of the meeting sucked but there were still about 70 people there. There were good presentations but the one that insulted all in attendance and insulted Bridgeporters was the presentation of Paul Timpanelli.
    To suggest that the 87,000 gallons of water and waste from Monroe could be handled by the west side treatment plant if Bridgeport would change over all their toilets to the water-efficent type. He estimated that it would cost $200,000. We could save 3 gallons per flush that means that we would have to have 29,000 flushes per day. Thats a lot of crap. He failed to take into consideration the urinals. This was the proposal of a desperate man.
    Paul I think you had better start thinking of your own community Trumbull. What was REALLY INTERESTING was the fact that Trumbull is near their contracted capacity and will have to come before the council for an upgrade in their gallonage. I think there may be enough capacity left for one more project on the Bridgeport Border.
    Will someone please buy Mike Feeney a clue?

    1. I was wondering if someone was going to make note of Timpanelli’s suggestion. Spend $200,000.00 to purchase and install “modern” toilets. Why should WE have to make the compromises?! It’s OUR sewage system, Monroe wants to tap into it, and Timpanelli thinks the city of Bridgeport should make adjustments to accommodate Monroe’s usage. Who does this pendejo think he is?

  8. Why, if Paul Timpanelli says it’s a great deal, it must be true! Look at all the great things this selfless individual has done for the Park City already during his decades of dedicated service! If it weren’t for Paul Timpanelli, Bridgeport wouldn’t be the dynamic urban success story it is today!

  9. This whole thing, Monroe wanting to tap into Bridgeport’s sewer system so that Bob Scinto can move his old folks home from Fairifield, eh … Another example of a well-heeled and well-connected developer trying to get over on the people of the city of Bridgeport. Scinto, and Paul Timpanelli, apparently, could care less about the environmental impact this will have. All of that raw human waste flowing into Long Island Sound doesn’t seem to have any effect on either of them. (I have serious doubts that Timpanelli would’ve made the time to hawk Scinto’s proposal if there weren’t some material benefit. Maybe he was going to recieve some lovely portraits of dead presidents produced by the U.S. Mint. Ya think?)

  10. “It’s time that towns such as Trumbull and Monroe handle their own infrastructure problems and to stop relying on Bridgeport. If Stratford, Shelton and Fairfield, to name a few area municipalities, can handle their own sewage and its disposal, it’s time for Trumbull and Monroe to do the same. Trumbull has always stuck it to Bridgeport by building large projects on our borders. Just look at Trumbull shopping park, the new education building near Old Town Road and the elderly apartments on Huntington Turnpike.”

    So sayeth Andrew C. Fardy of Bridgeport.

  11. Lennie, you wrote “Sitting there, I wondered why Mayor Bill Finch’s Chief of Staff Adam Wood, who made an appearance at the event, allowed this public forum to go forward before all the ducks were lined up with full City Council support. What is it, a trial balloon before it gets to the City Council?”

    This was an informational event put on by the Downtown Informational Task Force. It wasn’t a situation of the Mayor’s office ‘allowing’ anything. The Task Force decided that it was in the taxpayers’ best interest to get as much information out into the public’s hands before anything was submitted to the City Council for official action. The Task Force wasn’t taking a position, just getting as much information out as possible. That is why George Estrada’s presentation was about 30 minutes or so. Isn’t that the smart way to do things? In the spirit of transparency and open government, issues that affect the Downtown should be aired and discussed before the pressure of an official decision is at hand. The most successful cities put the information out as early and as often as possible, especially when it affects their Downtown. I hope there will be more such informational forums.

    1. Fair enough, it was a well-organized forum put together outside of the mayor’s office, but Adam was interested enough to show up, obviously because the mayor needs the loot for his budget. Coming away from the event I do not sense that a compelling argument has been made to do this deal. That’s not to say one couldn’t be made particularly if it’s institutionalized through creation of a regional authority. Feeney, as finance director, was there only because he was allowed to be there. He did not state clearly what this deal would mean for the city, although he had the opportunity to do so. “This is what it means. This is what it’s worth. This is why it should be done.” Who’s going to make that case?

  12. *** Every town or business developers that are in favor of this quick “$” money fix for Bpt. should contribute a % towards expanding the entire Bpt. sewage system for not only this deal but all future development that may come later which might benefit Bpt. and neighboring towns. With money coming from the stimulus package & funding from the state, with other towns helping this sewage system can be a state of the art type with many new economical ideas included & the potential of more neighboring towns to tie in to the system & paying Bpt. for the service as well. “Build it right & they will come”! ***

  13. It was stated yesterday that New Haven has formed a Regional Water Pollution Control Authority with four or five towns.

    I know that the Hartford area has a large regional Water Pollution Control Authority that encompasses 10-15 towns. They’ve had it for about a decade. Recently, all of the towns voted through referendum to bond about $2-3 Billion in sewer/storm upgrades in that region with the cost of the bonds spread over all of those towns including the City. Therefore the increase for each property owner was small and it’s spread over the term of the bonds. There was storm and sanitary flooding in many places up there and the regional solution was the most efficient and economical.

    Yesterday Mr. Timpanelli hinted Monroe, Trumbull and Bridgeport might be discussing a Regional Authority as part of the Agreement Monroe would be presenting to the City Council if that Jewish Home deal gets legs. Whether there is a Monroe deal or not, I think it is important that the facilities planning be done on a regional basis and the cost sharing be done regionally. Therefore the creation of a Regional Authority should be seriously explored.

  14. *** Is it true that more layoffs @ city hall are going to be announced next week? How many & what depts. are included; also what’s the projected savings? *** What other bonehead policies or ideas is the Finch Admin. looking at as a quick-fix $ maker? ***

  15. Up on Bridgeport; I agree going back to the old format is a good idea but I still like the posts numbered.
    Regionalization of the sewer treatment plant? I don’t really see a great advantage to Bridgeport. If we fix the storm/sanitary sewers it will help and give us more capacity for the west side plant. Bringing Monroe and Trumbull into the mix would probably be to much for the west side plant. This plant has no place to expand so expansion could be a big issue.
    Providing sewers to these towns especially Monroe will do nothing but take away from Bridgeport any chance for development it might have. Sewers in Monroe will open up RT25 for major development similar to what has been done in Shelton on Rt8.
    The Scinto proposal was a move to open up Rt 25 in Monroe for future development if it wasn’t why ask for more than 3 times the gallonage needed for the Scinto project?

  16. Wondering, I agree with you that the real issue for Scinto is the opening up of Route 25 in Monroe to future development. He only needs 85,000 gallons per day for the Jewish Home but Monroe may be asking the agreement to allow 285,000 gallons per day into Bridgeport’s system. That would allow the entire area to be developed.

    According to George Estrada, Bethel was allowed by Danbury to join the Danbury sanitary system for one commercial project. Then DEP/EPA told Danbury that it had to provide for all of Bethel to get off septic and go on Danbury’s sanitary sewage system. Developing something like one million square feet of residential/commercial in Monroe is not smart growth in my opinion. Building for the sake of building without a rational plan for preserving open space, protecting the environment, providing affordable housing, reducing congestion is not smart. We are all in this together so revenue sharing, facility sharing, rational development needs much more regional cooperation than has thus far been shown in this region. I think New Haven and Hartford have shown some great creativity in this arena.

  17. Countdown: What you say about regionalization in these areas may be true but our suburban neighbors have been in the habit of screwing Bridgeport for years. We got Trumbull signed into the sewer system as a quick fix for our budget problems at the time. Well as it turns out the residents of Trumbull pay less monies to the WPCA than Bridgeport residents do. Trumbull is charged for what actually flows thru the pumping station and then it is divided up amongst the residents tied in equally. In Bridgeport we are charged from the first drop that comes through your faucet. So if we water the lawn we pay WPCA; if you water your lawn in Trumbull it costs you Bupkus to WPCA.
    Back to Scinto he is moving the Jewish home for the elderly and guess who benefits Sacred Heart University and Fairfield. We all know what good neighbors they are.

  18. Countdown: It’s time for Bridgeport to start playing hardball with these suburban NIMBYs. It’s time to tell the state we will not be funding any unfunded mandates from the state. It’s time to put the brakes on all these store-front churches many of which are a scam so that the “Preacher” can get tax exempt status and pay no taxes. With all the store-front churches that we have in Bridgeport this place should be UTOPIA instead of what it is again becoming the Wild West. BTW I think the number of tax-exempt properties in Bridgeport is 53% not 47%.

  19. Wondering,
    53%!!! Are you sure? That is a huge increase from 18 months ago.

    Part of City Assessor Bill O’Brien’s bad rap was he was hitting dozens and dozens of street-front churches very hard for proving they were in fact active practicing churches and not just fronts to get tax-exempt status. Churches in street-front locations are common in urban areas and are just fine so long as they are practicing, active churches. The South Bronx was loaded with street-front ‘fake’ churches until Mayor Bloomberg moved in to straighten out the mess.

    But whether it is 47% or 53%, the fact that Bridgeport is carrying that heavy a load of tax-exempt properties is a huge problem. We are home to a ton of regional facilities as that info forum presentation showed. Regional tax sharing for regional facilities is not a crazy idea. However, since this region isn’t acting as a region, we have to work on this step by step for all of us to survive. I do believe that we can get to regional tax sharing for regional facilities if we can finally figure out how to develop regionally and share the cost of the regional infrastructure in a fair and responsible manner.

    I am looking for a win-win, one positive step at a time. Kinda like ‘today is the first day of the rest of our lives’ … I know you think that is over the top but I believe that our new President wants us to find a new way of addressing old problems and solve them for the sake of the common good. Bridgeport cannot do this alone. We are all in this together.

  20. You know that and I know that but the powers to be that govern the ‘burbs don’t want to know it. It’s like the Resco or wheelabrator plant. The whole region signed on to the project and guaranteed they would bring their trash to this main point. Well 2 of the smaller communities decided they would shop around and I guess initially they found a better deal. I was told that they then opted back in. In either case the ‘burbs in Fairfield county will never agree to regionalization and why should they there is no mandate to do so and there is no reason to as they have the best of 2 worlds.

  21. Bpt Consigliere: I live in Bridgeport and this past year my WPCA bill averaged $125.80 per billing cycle. There is just my wife and I at home. I will say that the bills were higher in the summer than in the winter. On average I am paying $15.00 more per billing cycle. I am sure that a family with kids in Bridgeport is paying a lot more than my wife and I.

    1. That’s app. my bill also, with 2 small kids at home. Friends I have in Trumbull pay a sewer tax of app. $340 four times a year and app. $110 every 3 months to BPT.

  22. The “Regionalism” concept is very enticing and from an economy of scale makes much sense. The problem in my opinion is that everytime it benefits the ‘burbs they all want to be “regionalists”. However, when it comes time for Bridgeport to share in the pot of gold everyone claims the “Home Rule” clause. All we end up with is a pot of shit. Two perfect examples were the Casino issue in the mid-’90s. And presently the airport expansion of the safety issue at Sikorsky Airport. If Timpanelli and friends really wanted to show political capital they should be fighting state Senator Dan Debicella’s attempt to extend the moratorium on the safety issue and extension for another year. Don’t you worry olde Paul Timpanelli will show up for the ribbon-cutting of the new terminal that is being privately built by Greenfield Development of Norwalk.

  23. New Haven’s Tweed Airport just had a decision by the FAA/Court that finally got their safety improvements going over the long-standing and self-serving litigation by East Haven.

    Bridgeport doesn’t want to expand the runway at Sikorsky for larger planes. They just need the safety improvements done so the private planes land and take off safely. It is my hope that the New Haven/West Haven battle over the airport runways has cleared the way for Sikorsky Airport to find a safe solution.

    You are right on about the way Stratford has been treating the Sikorsky Airport issue. VOLO is now doing the upgrade to the hangers and new terminal with a CDA loan, and I think that Stratford is getting more tax revenue from that deal. Therefore one would think that in return for the increase in tax revenue, the safety improvements would happen. But that doesn’t seem to be the case. Bridgeport should hire those lawyers that won the case for Tweed Airport and go for the gold.

    I’m not saying regionalism is easy. I’m not saying that the “‘burbs” seem to regularly stick it to Bridgeport. I am just hoping that smart leaders will prevail here and in Hartford.

    We have a lot of people living in Bridgeport that need good jobs, good paying jobs. The new regional bus terminal with the 17 buses pulsing every hour and 8 buses pulsing 20 minutes later each hour allows the Bridgeport residents to get out to the region quicker and allows those that use the buses to get their kids to childcare easier to and from the job. There are thousands and thousands of jobs up the Valley that need our residents to be employees.

    Those that complain that the bus terminal should be at the small dinky place it once was with 3-4 buses arriving at one time are shortsighted in my opinion. The Business Community and City’s vision to have 17 buses arrive at one time so the commuter can go from one side of town to the other, or one part of the region to the other is what drove the decision to spread it out north of the station. The City still owns the air rights over that bus station and train station and will someday have a tall building rise above the station like so many other vibrant cities and tax revenue generated if the density bonus and green incentives in the new zoning ordinance are encouraged. The waterfront will be the attraction for those mixed-use developments. The waterfront boardwalk will be the extension of that river walk that currently goes from the Port Authority terminal up to the train station and then north to Fairfield. I just walked there this morning. It is fabulous. Bridgeport has so much to offer this region, it is really amazing.

  24. It’s tax season! Got your W-2 yet?

    Tax fraud and scams come in all sorts of ways. More and more Americans are e-filing their taxes. There are many websites that offer tax services. How would you know that your refund won’t end up in Lennie’s overseas account?

    If you are doing your taxes online, here’re some tips to avoid getting scammed. Look at the url of the site. Make sure that it starts with https; the “s” stands for Secured. This mean that the site is secure to leave your personal information. In addition to the “s” in https, look for a yellow lock anywhere on the page, particularly on the lower right hand side.
    I use the tax service of www On line taxes charges only $7.95 for the State filing and Federal filing is free. I’ve use OLT for four years now and they still charge $7.95 despite the fact they have made improvements to their site for better service. Remember, it’s OLT–not OIB.

  25. Countdown

    We need jobs, not buses taking people out of town to the Valley to their jobs. Bus Terminal could have been put under 1-95, with a similar structure to the Stamford bus terminal near Arena Garage and kept buses on Main Street. A true T.O.D. creates a push-pull effect. The only thing we get pulled is our chains.

  26. Up on Bridgeport
    That bus terminal could have been under I-95. I agree in theory. However, CDOT took way over ten years to rebuild I-95 over there and the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) was tired of waiting to get that bus terminal done. Now, some people think that CDOT shouldn’t have rebuilt I-95 through Bridgeport and spent that gazillions of dollars but it needed to be done since the predictions have come true. The trucks now have majority control over that road. Since New York State has not fixed the freight/rail bridge in Poughkeepsie (?) that burned years back, all those freight trucks are cruising through I-95. That is one scary road.

    Back to the Bus Terminal in Bridgeport; the FTA was going to pull that money away from Bridgeport because Bridgeport was waiting way too long to get that bus terminal done. So it is what it is and for the most part it is a huge improvement in my opinion.

    I also agree that Bridgeport needs jobs. Good Jobs. However since the jobs went up Route 8 to the Valley many years ago, it seems very appropriate that the Bridgeport residents have a way to get there that doesn’t rely on a car. Many Bridgeport residents can not afford to operate, insure and maintain a car. So having all those buses congregate at the same time is a huge advantage to the bus riders. By the way, Stamford’s pulsing system is not for the entire fleet; it is smaller. The folks in Stamford for the most part have more income than those in Bridgeport and more can safely own, insure and operate their cars.

  27. Is anyone surprised that Mike Feeney had nothing to say pro or con about this deal? Mike Feeney is CFO in title only. He has no financial background or degrees and could not contribute anything if he tried. He offered nothing as CAO under Fabrizi and he offers nothing as CFO under Finch. He is a useless high-priced figurehead.

    Say what you want about Joe Ganim but he at least had the sense to put qualified people in key positions. Fabrizi picked the likes of Carroll, Sherwood and Feeney and Finch kept these guys and added Nunn. Fabrizi satisfied a personal vendetta by getting rid of Edmund Winterbottom and put in Osborne as Acting Labor Relations Director and Finch made him permanent.

    The talk around City Hall is that there is not one–not even one–qualified key dept head that an employee can go to with a problem. Mayor Finch, you need to clean house and bring in some competent people or we will all go down the toilet.

  28. There is not a single department head with any real management background. We are stuck with people that are not inventive and do not know how to get the most out of their employees. These people have hired relatives, friends, girlfriends and the like. When these people do not perform they go on the attack and disrupt the flow of city government. If it were not for the long-term employees keeping these department running there would be utter chaos.
    The meeting Thursday night was a perfect example. Feeney had no idea what he was doing and if he was there to sell the city’s side of the Monroe deal he failed miserably. How does the financial officer also end up as the spokesmen for the WPCA?
    Based on the performance I saw Thursday night I have to wonder why some of these people are not in the unemployment line.

    1. Wondering you are absolutely right. The middle managers and worker bees are doing their best to keep the city running. But there are many dept. heads who not only don’t help but who do their best to disrupt things. Tom Sherwood’s interference in the Comptroller’s Office is a prime example. He is walking all over Feeney but Feeney doesn’t know any better so he is letting it happen. Feeney is not an accountant and neither is Sherwood and the new Comptroller has no municipal or government experience. Wait for the next audit. It will all come out and Feeney will get the blame.

      I had some hope for CitiStat but the writing was on the wall once John Gomes got his hand slapped for asking Charlie Carroll’s girlfriend to put paper in the copier. Gomes was told to back off Lisa and back off Public Facilities. That’s a huge dept. that could use an efficiency audit but it ain’t gonna happen. CC made sure of that.

      And back to the sewer meeting, if Feeney was representing the city, shouldn’t he have at least done his homework; prepared some intelligent remarks so that he didn’t look like an idiot? When I have to make a presentation or be part of a panel discussion, I make damned sure that I am prepared. Otherwise I make myself, my dept and the city look foolish. I guess Feeney doesn’t care because he’ll have a job regardless of whether he performs well or not.

  29. *** Last I remember, the number of Bpt. tax-exempt properties was 51% in “2007”. *** Obama’s stimulus bill got some political support today from many Republican State Governors claiming that many of the items included in the package would help get a shot in the arm type hold of some individual state problems before they get worse due to lack of enough state monies for funding. It will be interesting just what the U.S Senate can hopefully work out in a bi-partisan way to help this stimulus package work! *** I don’t care for the political down your throat approach that seems to be happening with this bill! ***

  30. Countdown

    “Believe It Or Not!” I agree with much of what you say. This whole process has been part of the limp-along intermodal project that has been in the works for over 15 years. However I feel that Downtown is being ethnically cleansed by taking people off the streets and bringing down to the new terminal. Our streetcorners for many years were bustling with people and commerce. Go talk to the Jimmy’s Army Navy and the Subway’s of the world downtown and they will tell you the same thing. I understand that we are trying to “gentrify” the central business district. Traffic builds business not an out-of-the-way bus terminal. I am glad you enjoyed your walk and I hope you took in the beautiful non-functioning new Juvey Justice Hall adjacent to the vacant wasteland that was once targeted to be part of the new judicial courthouse district. Congress Plaza is now over 40 years old with nothing going on except for the Shehan Center which was the old Armory for many years. I remember playing ball at the Shehan Center as a kid in the mid-sixities, then sneaking into the show, playing pinball at the Crystal Palace, and then saying hi to Charlie The Bum as we went for a hamburger at one of those great old railroad diners. I think one was called the Bryn Mawr. We even had an upscale Chinese Restaurant on Chapel Street across from the Stratfield Hotel. I don’t want to live in the past. I just get concerned when you start praising “the Business Community and City vision”. That’s like saying I should trust all these bankers and Federal officials who got us into this latest predicament. Clearly what we have been doing doesn’t seem to be working. Why would anyone in their right mind rent space for $20 a sf in downtown Bridgeport? Sorry, I’ve seen this movie before and it wasn’t at the The Palace or Majestic. It’s a held-over economic devleopment policy and vision that is like Paul Timpanelli’s doo-wop group named Yester Year.

  31. The Gomes situation will have far-reaching effects on the city’s politics for a long time to come … Gomes is a popular hard-working gentleman and a lot of people are pissed at the way it went down … and people have loooooong memories in a small city.

    1. I think CitiStat is a great concept and it is certainly needed. Gomes is a well-respected no-nonsense guy. He was brought in to do a job and he is trying to do it. But he is not getting any support from Finch’s people. He was told to keep his hands off the politicos. If Finch is serious about improving efficiency and cutting down waste, then there can not be any sacred cows. The same standards should be applied to everyone.

      The union workers are being asked to do more with less. As employees are being laid off, those left are taking on more and more. Why is it then that certain people’s gilfriends (and Lisa is not the only one) can get away with doing nothing? Again, we need one standard of work for everyone.

  32. IMHO, downtown Bridgeport needs to be rehabilitated not regentrified. Already we see a new regionalism emerging; I’m not talking politics but rather commerce. Re-tooled and reconfigured, downtown Bridgeport could be a center of local commerce that would enrich businesses already there. The railroads–useful once again–could aid and abet Bridgeport’s revival. Read all about it: www
    I reconfirm my application to The DSSD and hope to hear from them soon.

  33. I for one can say that the Gomes travesty was pure b.s.
    Is this what it has come down to? Ask someone to do their job and if they are politically connected to the old guard then you get suspended or sent for anger management? What qualifications do the people doing the suspending have to be in their positions other than connected politically? When can we get a fresh start in Bridgeport with a strong leadership who will clean out the waste in City Hall (and I don’t mean a crybaby troublemaker like Caruso either)? Gomes would make a good CFO in a new strong leadership, but instead he gets a slapdown for wanting the proper organization in his own office. Where’s Ayala in all this? As council president he did the right thing most of the time and even voted against Steel Point knowing the city was being ripped off moneywise. I’ve heard through the city that Ayala and Gomes are close and I am sure under Ayala’s leadership these so-called travesties wouldn’t be happening under his watch.

    1. *** Gomes has no choice but to deal with what’s being fed to him because he’s a political elections crony that was given that job! *** Also, Ayala did not just vote “NAY” on Steel Point because he felt the city was getting ripped off, it was mostly because Mid-town would not give in to more than 300 work-affordable & lower-income units @ the Steel Point site! And now as a state rep. he certainly is not going to get involved in a city dispute between Charlie, Gomes, Lisa & the Mayor’s office on a subject that has 2 sides to the story not just 1 like I keep reading on this forum. *** Ralph, whether right or wrong, guilty or not, always stands up for his political cronies & D.T.C. members & supporters. *** Such as in life, “there is prey & there are predators”, many in City Hall are prey believe it or not, and they’re not about to risk anything to confront a predator! ***

  34. Ayala is his own man; Tom McCarthy is not. His political future depends on the support of Mario and CC is very close to Mario. Tom is in Labor Relations so how can he in all good conscience allow Gomes to be disciplined when someone like Tom Coble gets away with bullying half the people in the annex. Could it be because Mario doesn’t want to anger Ralph Ford? It is so incestuous. You couldn’t make this stuff up!!!

    My question is, where is Andy Nunn in all this? He’s the CAO. Lisa and Gomes are in his office. Where does he stand?

  35. This is probably the most dysfunctional group of mayoral management people that I can remember. This group of incompetents are about retaliation and repression. If you don’t go along you are vilified and you are laid off and a new job title for your job is created and a political hack is then named to what was your job. Nothing is put out to the taxpayers as it pertains to the deficit and just where we are in brining the budget under control. An example of repression was Mike Lupkas former comptroller who was demoted and put under Feeney and told to keep quiet. Mike told them to take a walk as he did and was immediately hired by the city of Meriden. The tax collector was charged with collecting taxes which he did with I guess too much enthisiasum. He could not win a popularity contect and he was harrassed out of his job and was immediately hired by New Haven.
    We have a collection of retreaded ass-kissers who could care less about the city and its residents. The key to these incompetents’ survival is they know which ass to kiss and they know how to say yes to the boss. How many flushes would it take to clean these bums out of offices?

  36. Got a crazy idea … OIB should pick a candidate and groom and fully back this person for the next 3 years through the primaries and election … my nomination … Andres Ayala Jr.

      1. I second that. Mr. Ayala would appear to be less beholden to the Bridgeport Democratic Town Committee than some of the other elected officials serving at the state and local level. He could be a strong reform candidate for mayor, not afraid to take initiative. There are a few things to be learned from the winning presidential campaigns of Barack Obama and Bill Clinton, no matter what your opinion of either may be: never come across like one of the Twelve Angry Men; be knowledgable and well-read on what ever topic is under discussion; present solutions in a calm, reasoned manner. And don’t waste the people’s time by criticizing opponents and complaining about what is wrong with the city. We already know what’s wrong with the city. As Robert F. Kennedy admonished his subordinates when he was Attorney General of the U.S., “Don’t define it, do something about it.”

        The two biggest problems confronting Bridgeport are the Democratic Town Committee and the Bridgeport Regional Business Council. The DTC has had the ballgame to itself for far too long, larding the municipal government with friends and relatives that have little knowledge or experience to do the jobs they obtained through the miracles of DNA and/or matrimony. The BRBC, as Bill Finch’s former employer (the State Senate seat was mearly supplemental income), has a cozy relationship with Hizzoner. It was this jumping of the broomstick that allowed Paul Timpanelli to broker the deal that has the potential to overload Bridgeport’s obsolete waste treatment facilities.

        1. All for a one-time payment of $20,000,000.00. What kind of bullshit is that?!

          Ever make a long-distance call from a payphone? You have to drop a coin about every three minutes. That’s how the waste treatment facilities ought to be run: charge the ‘burbs per 10,000 gallons of raw sewage they want to flush in our system. AND they should issue their own municipal bonds to pay for upgrading the facilities to handle the increased discharge.

        2. Kid … Ayala’s slate was wiped out in the DTC voting leaving him beholden to no one … not the DTC or the old regime machine run outa Madison Ave … just a gentleman who would do what’s right for the city he and we all grew up in.

  37. Just to get off subject for a minute. Can president Obama please find cabinet members that have paid their taxes or are not under investigation? Geitner Sec. Treasury. Owed taxes, Bill Richardson under investigation, Tom Daschel HUD owed $140K in taxes.
    While you are at it can someone tell the Dems that you need to spend more money on job creation and less on extending unemployment and less on food stamps? As the bill now stands we are spending more on unemployement benefits than job creation, more on Food stamps than on job creation. I know that both of those programs are necessary but they do not produce jobs.

  38. It looks like Daschle, Geithner and perhaps a few other federal tax dancers went to the Sal DiNardo school of continuing “waltz around the law and pop those blue pills boys” and give those taxpayers exactly what we think they need.
    Sal of course can teach them the ways and how to’s and grant a P.H.D. in it.

  39. The mayor’s office staff is a disgrace, but in fairness it wasn’t much better under Fabrizi. Try calling any Dept. Head on a Friday afternoon, that includes the Mayor and his staff, and you won’t find anyone there. Lisa and Shurley are patronage at its worst and I am trying to think what Sherwood has on Finch that he wouldn’t fire him. The “Assistants” answer phones and keep a schedule and they don’t even do it 5 hours a day. CC and Lisa take two-hour lunches, goes on vacation and Lisa and Shurey order the catering for special lunches. Nobody has any work ethic, including Wood who spends all his hours on the phone trying to line up another gig. You know what they say about rats off a sinking ship. I think Nunn is an ostrich who would jump at the chance to get out of there. And is there anyone left in the Grants office? I guess when Finch said he was going to clean house he meant he was going to get rid of all the good people either by force or making conditions under Wood so miserable that people left in droves.

    The Democrats don’t have anyone who could do a great job of being Mayor. Ayala is a nice guy, but he doesn’t have the smarts to be an effective Mayor, and he would continue the whole patronage thing. McCarthy would need to show some balls and really break from Finch.

    I don’t like Chris Shays, he is mean, nasty and two-faced, but he is qualified to help Bridgeport, sorry to say. Mary Jane Foster is another one who may do a decent job or maybe John Bohannon the former Assistant City Attorney or George Estrada, who is a Republican but a decent guy. We need fresh talent from the stale Democratic pool. There isn’t a capable one in the bunch at the moment. We need a no-morons clause. I wonder if Blagojevich is going to end up with Ganim another so-called rising star. Finch should look for some appointment if we get a Democrat for a Governor because his political career looks bleak.

    1. johnb … When it comes to Ayala … I think you are mixing up arrogance and smarts … the man was council prez and is a great speaker, and has more smarts than you will ever know … but he’s not an arrogant a-hole like most politicians.

  40. If there was a primary with Finch, Fabrizi, Ayala, Caruso and Clemons I wouldn’t be surprised if Ayala won. The question is if he won the primary would anybody cut a deal with him or back the republican? Could Caruso back off and support Ayala? Who knows?? ## $$ (#$?)

  41. johnb I agree with you and I somewhat disagree with Bpts Finest. In Ayala’s case it all depends on the moment. In one election his TC members are wiped out and he looks bad. The next moment he wins his seat by a landslide. His problem is that I don’t think he can carry the city in a citywide election. When he was president of the council he was okay but nothing to write home about. His vote on Steel Point was a calculated vote and also the speech he gave in Spanish was an insult to all that were in attendance that night. I believe his vote was pandering to the food service workers union and nothing more. The other questionable thing was the Dean of Discipline job at Waltersville School.

  42. *** Mr. Medina had more on the ball than Ayala and a better speaker, up on state & city laws, had many business supporters & look how far he got! Let’s see what Ayala does in Hartford first before making him Grand Poobah of the Racoon’s Lodge! ***

    1. Mojo, Medina had the intellect to be Mayor, BUT FAILED MISERABLY at the following:
      1- He was viewed as taking advantage of being Puerto Rican during his campaign, because prior to that election and even after, you never saw him at a Latino event.

      2- He has a short temper when he was BOE Prez, that hurt him too.

      3- He wasn’t a good people person. He was good addressing a crowd, not individuals …

      4- He had the worst campaign Mgr ever.

      5- A weak door-to-door and election day operation.

    1. *** Answer to your questions–Pitt. won by never giving up & just because I’m not head over heels about Ayala (like you!) being the best thing since chocolate milk does not mean I hate the man! You on the other hand seem to be infatuated with any & everything he says or does. Get a grip, the painting must be finished before it’s put on display! ***


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