What Would You Cut? Plus: Mitch The Switch, And Finch On Business And Brownfields

I was away for a few days to attend a wedding in New Hampshire. The climate is different up there. I’m ready to hit golf balls and they’re still making snowballs. I must say, no matter where I go the juniper still hits the spot! Thanks to City Councilman Bob Walsh for filling in the gap.

The Bridgeport City Council will officially receive Mayor Bill Finch’s $490 million budget Monday night that calls for, depending on homeowners’ tax assessments, an approximate 10 percent tax hike, and slashes library staff by one third with additional deep cuts to school-based health clinics. The first public hearing on the budget will take place Wednesday night.

It’s a tough budget and I sympathize with a new mayor who no doubt is not making many friends with his proposed tax hike and cuts to programs that impact the needy.

Finch is laying his tough choices at the doorstep of his predecessor John Fabrizi who he says created an election-year budget loaded with gimmicks. Okay, let’s give Finch the benefit of the doubt that Fabs pushed through an election-year budget. Why has Finch kept everyone that built the Fabrizi budget on the payroll to create Finch’s first budget? The only new addition to the budget process is Chief Administrative Officer Andy Nunn, one of the few bright spots in a new administration loaded with hiccups.

We had some chatter over the weekend about the disappearance of former posters to OIB. Here’s the good news: traffic to OIB is substantially up since I instituted a new look and registration system. We will hit more than 30,000 page views in the first four weeks, one of the highest trafficked blogs in the state. Before the establishment of a registration system, posting was an anonymous free-for-all where anyone could stomp on the name or handle of a commentator. Sometimes, it was a royal pain in the butt to police. At the urging of many posters I implemented a registration process that prevents a good name (or bad depending on your perspective) from being soiled erroneously.

Ironically, some of the very people that had urged me to implement a registration system have been quiet. Paging Envoy5. Paging Cosmo Cat. Don’t know why. Wish they would post. It’s also a fact that several city employees that had posted are no longer sharing their thoughts for fear of retribution from city hall. The webzine, although read daily by the inner sanctum of the mayor’s office, is not popular with the mayor, and word has gone out to city hall employees–if you’re with us you do not post.

Thin skinned? Heavy handed? Legit? I look forward to happier days in Bird Man’s administration.

What say you?

130 Heat

Things are heating up in what may shape up as a crowded field in the Democratic primary for the 130th state legislative seat occupied by Felipe Reinoso. What candidate is district leader Mitch Robles supporting today? Incumbent Reinoso? José “Chico” Rivera? Looks like my old pal Sly Salcedo, an attorney by profession, may jump into the race. And, hey, did ya hear the news–Keith Cougar Rodgerson now resides in that legislative district. Could the Coug be sharpening his teeth for another run? Yo, Anna, are you managing Coug’s race?

Small Business News From City Hall

Mayor Bill Finch will officially open the City’s new Small and Minority Business Resource Center on the first floor of the City Hall Annex Tuesday at noon. The new office will provide small, minority and women-owned businesses with the information and training necessary to successfully pursue and obtain construction, commodities, architectural and engineering contracts with the City of Bridgeport. The Office will be managed by Deborah Caviness, who has been developing the Center at Finch’s direction since December of 2007.

The newly renovated office was completed by local minority contractors Mr. Erron Simmonds, Owner of New Direction Home Improvements, and Mr. Joseph Kirkland, Owner of Advantage Flooring.

City Hall news release

City of Bridgeport Receives Brownfields Grant from EPA
Mayor Bill Finch  is happy to announce that the City of Bridgeport will be receiving a $200,000 grant from the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for the assessment of brownfields. The funding will come from the EPA’s Brownfields Program and was acquired through the City’s Central Grants Department.

“Bridgeport homeowners are disproportionately burdened by property taxes because we have numerous properties, many of them vacant brownfields, that currently do not pay taxes,” said Mayor Finch. “This $200,000 is very important to our efforts to clean up our city and reduce property taxes for our residents. I thank Congressman Shays for his key role in securing this important grant.”

“The Brownfields Program is one of the smartest and most important tools our urban areas have for revitalization. It helps put property and people back to work by spurring economic development and generating property tax revenue from previously idle sites,” Congressman Christopher Shays (CT-4) explained.

“The $200,000 the City of Bridgeport will receive will help assess and clean up contaminated sites throughout the community, making these areas safer for community residents,” Shays continued. “This is a competitive program and I congratulate the mayor and community officials who put together such a strong application. The EPA’s continued support is great news for Bridgeport and I am grateful for this assistance.”

Brownfield properties in Bridgeport that currently underperform or do not contribute to the City’s economy represent between $25-50 million in estimated lost property tax revenue per year. Brownfields also discourage investment and stability in surrounding neighborhoods, leaving an undetermined amount of revenue lost in potential economic development projects.



  1. Sounds like the Birdman is chicken.

    Another petty, pathetic move by a petty, pathetic administration. Now Mayor Dumbass is going to get his goose cooked over helping Auden Grogins try and best Bob “As useful as tits on a Bull” Keeley. Real smart Mayor dumbass. You will lose and and then you and that other dumbass Keeley won’t be able to work together on anything (God knows your relationship with fatso Caruso ain’t doing too well.) He’s the bonding chair and you are stupid. So incredibly f##king stupid …

    Who the f##k do you think you are? Threatening people’s jobs??? You and me better not ever come across each other in an alleyway you f##king coward.

    Whether you are on the DTC or working for the city there is one thing everyone is on agreement on (that is, if you are not on Stafstrom’s ever shrinking island): so far, this is the WORST ADMINISTRATION EVER!

    The “Kiddie Corps” are clueless automatons. They are about as exciting as the Mayor’s sales tax increase proposal. Or the $600 rebate. Or his “green” SUV. Or his inability to govern. WTF?

    Someone tell Bill to ditch the dead Wood, give Andy Nunn the reigns and then please advise him keep his mouth shut for the next three years.

    Everything is going to shit in Bridgeport … much worse than Fabrizi. Much worse.

    Somebody better wipe that f##king smirk off of his f##king lying face real god damn f##king quick.

    I hope the cowardly, pathetic, asinine, stupid, lying hacks in his office keep reading the blog



  2. You don’t have to cut. And that’s the sad thing about Bridgeport. It’s not that it’s a city full of too many problems with not enough money to fix all of them. It’s that it’s a city with one huge problem that’s draining all the money that could fix its problems. I know it’s hard economic times, but that’s a scapegoat. The money is there, and almost everyone who knows Bridgeport politics knows exactly where we can get it. However, it is a tall order to expect someone to be David and go take on Goliath with a slingshot. It’s suicide, and very few are willing to do it.

    But if a bunch of people in Bridgeport, like those who post to this blog, can unite, be vocal, and vigorously pursue one goal than maybe we could start fixing this city. And the one very real prospect, which can do a world of good in this city is Audits. Audit every single thing in the city government. Lennie mentioned on April 1st there is talk in Hartford about an audit of the Board of Education. I would pursue this like a rabid dog. Don’t worry about anything else but getting that audit. Because I can just imagine the success that audit would have, and if it is, it opens the door for other audits throughout the rest of the city government. You want to find money for the budget, that’s how to find it.

    The problem is we get caught up in all these other arguments. One day it’s the sales tax increase, then it’s the layoffs, and then the mil rate. We battle and argue over a different one every day, and forget about the one day before. It’s disorganized opposition. It’s time to step back and have a consistent message to those in the city government. We don’t want to hear about anything else except transparency and auditing those books. Now.

  3. I fully agree with Chris Russo, we need an audit, but I remind you we have a very serious money drain in the area of pensions and benefits which must be addressed. Filardi cites Mayor Cicilline of Providence R.I. and his successful solution to it.
    I would go on to strongly suggest the mayor hire an independent cost/efficiency group to rid us of the deadwood in government and remember this would not reflect on the mayor’s political appointed jobs, because it would be an objective study, but the recommendations would have to be followed.
    Graffiti Officers, Horses and riders, et al., and Greeters, I hope I can greet you GOODBYE.

  4. Yes. auditing the BOE is the same suggestion I made. What are they doing with all the money they bleed the city for? Every year they want more and more but no progress is being made in education, so other than high paid consultants, where is it going? Its time for the council to put its foot down on them. That is where they can really trim the fat without laying off city workers. The BOE has abused the taxpayers for way too long.

  5. City kitty there are 6 people that hold jobs in that office. i dont think they do anything based on the increased amount of graffiti I am seeing. I think that 3 of these employees spray on the graffiti and the other 3 are supposed to take it off ( kidding) i guess what i am trying to say is they dont do squat. How many of mitch Robles’s people work here?

  6. Back in September a candidate for mayor issued the following statement:

    Within the first 6 months of my administration, (I will)conduct a forensic performance audit of Bridgeport’s school budget, including operations and performance. The audit will be conducted by an independent firm to avoid conflicts of interest.
    • (I will) Use the results of the audit to identify and eliminate waste and properly reprioritize funds so we can increase the city’s financial commitment to education.

    These days I am prouder than ever of my support for Chris Caruso in last years primary.

  7. At the very least, Chris would not have given DiNardo his tax break and Chris would not have kept on the same people who gave us this miserable budget. He also would have intiated the forensic audit of the BOE.

    With Finch we have the combination of business as usual and political ineptitude. It’s going to be a very long four years for Bpt.

  8. City Kitty my guess would be in the 30s. But talking about cars take a ride up Congress St. to the Police Department and on the left side of Congress St. you will see a large parking lot filled with the old-style police cars. Then right behind Police Headquarters you will see a large group of police cars sitting there unused. When you’re finished there take a ride to Old Town & Sylvan Ave the old fire house and you will see another 10-15 of these older model police cars. The question is why do we still have these cars? Another question is where the hell is Chief Norwood? My spies tell me he is pissed at the police board and is basically doing nothing. Why does the training officer and her husband both take cars home to the valley every night? Why is one of these older cars parked at night on Platt St. and the number of police cars going home mounts with nothing being done? When was the last time you read anything coming from Norwood? He even has a $50-$60K press aide (civilian). This is another place to cut. The PD has a press aide the FD has a press aide and the BOE has a press aide. I guess these department heads have terminal dumb ass and can’t talk to the press on their own.

  9. John we can suppose that Chris Caruso would have done this or that but we will never know. its time to move on and get Moonbeam and his puppy dog council off their collective asses and get this city moving. No Economic Development Director. No public facilities director. Un filled commissions and boards. We need to spend th money and audit ali babba and the 40 thieves that run the BOE an the list goes on. So lets put what Chris Causo would have done to bed and concentrate on moonbeam

  10. I wasn’t aware of any of that, but 3 press aides is overkill, at least combine police & fire for 1 aide. As for the BOE, they are the real culprits, why a press aide for them at all? Ramos is a pretty smart guy and so is Medina, let them do the talking.

  11. That’s a really good point wondering. You can only assume what Caruso would have done and he promised his supporters big-paying jobs also. Ali Babba & the 40 thieves is a good description for the BOE. When’s the audit??

  12. For Ramos to comment he has to be here. I dont think any of these Departments need a press aide. What comes out of these Departments that they require a press aide. these chiefs are supposed to be able to put more than one sentence together. Plus what earth shattering news comes out of either department

  13. Agreed Wondering, what do the press aides do while they are waiting for something news worthy to come along so they can comment? With the salary the 3 of them make, you could probably save 4 or 5 jobs that are low paying, also by not hiring another city atty. and paralegals, that saves about $250K, which would save the jobs of at least 7 or 8 little guys. I’m not a math pro, but this is probably a low ball estimate.

  14. Who the hell do these people think they are fooling when they claim that this budget crisis was a result of the “gimmicks” of the previous administration? With the exception of a couple of people it is all the same faces who were responsible for putting that “gimmick” budget together (Feeney, Sherwood, etc.). Where is the accountability here? These guys have some balls asking for a 10% tax hike, laying off 90 or so people, asking the unions for concessions without taking a hit themselves.
    As far as the audit issue goes, I couldn’t agree more. While I am certain the board of education is the biggest budget buster, all city departments should be audited in an attempt to find the real fat to be trimmed.
    There are too many people in this city government who are occupying positions which require skills well beyond them. The city is reactive in so many ways … better government would be more proactive, looking at what works elsewhere and trying to implement those things here in Bridgeport.

  15. Another I told you so. Caruso would have ordered an audit on the BOE and he would have ordered an operational audit on all city activities. By now, Caruso would have found a whole bunch of inefficiencies and begun the remediation.

    We drove over to O&G yesterday to see if they were open. I had a friend from another city with me. She was shocked at the level of deterioration that has befallen upon Bridgeport. So was I.

    As we drove past Cesar Battalla School, I wondered what he would be doing right now to make sure that the squaller in that neighborhood was improved. If he were still alive, I am certain that we would not have a 68% drop out rate in the schools. Cesar Battalla is what we have always needed. Surely there is someone out there who has his passion.

  16. Very smart posting, the BOE is the worse of them, but audits should be done in other departments too. meanwhile, I have to go do some errands on my day off. Have a nice day everybody.

  17. City Kitty the way I see it when it comes to time for the budget review we are screwed. The majority of the people on the council work for the city or have relatives who work for the city so how are they going to honestly cut Moonbeam’s budget without endangering their own jobs? Here are the ones I know who either work for the city or have relatives who work for the city if I missed anyone and I am sure I have please add to the list.
    Working for the city:
    Blunt — Paoletto — McCarthy — Lyons — Santiago — Holloway
    Family has city jobs: Curwen and I am sure there are others
    District leaders or family with city jobs. Roach — Robles — Freddino — Scinto — Ayala — Santiago — Ford
    So as you can see we the taxpayers are screwed.

  18. “And, hey, did ya hear the news — Keith Cougar Rodgerson now resides in that legislative district. Could the Coug be sharpening his teeth for another run? Yo, Anna, are you manging Coug’s race?”

    Anybody in Bridgeport that thinks the bullshitter, Kieth Rodgerson, deserves to be in elected office should think again.

  19. “The blog, although read daily by the inner sanctum of the mayor’s office, is not popular with the mayor…”

    Hey, “INNER SANCTUM”, tell Moonbeam that the people in the City of Bridgeport are disappointed with is lack of performance. We regret electing him to office. We think that the city will be in worse shape when his term ends then it was in when he was elected. Tell him we don’t appreciate the amount of time he spends on political matters. Please ask him to resign.

  20. City Kitty
    Here is one you will like. We have a BOE spokesperson who is paid $79,000.00 to speak and tell us there is a 68 % h.s. drop out rate. Isn’t that just great.

  21. I know that i am getting repetive and I know that Moonbeam will not do what I am suggesting but hope one of the drones in his office reads this.
    Its nice to have loyalty and want to reward people that have worked on your campaign BUT you have to realize that you are in essence running a very large company and you need to hire top flight adivsors to your staff.
    Moonbeam you can argue all you want that you have hired the best and the brightest but that can not be further from the truth.
    Lets start
    Tyrone: you appointed him to your inner circle he baby sat th campaign office and basically was at stafstrom beck & Call and we all know Stafstroms won loss record. But Tyrone has no management experience and nothing in hi experience that warrants being one of your top advisors.
    Rubin ; while serving with fabrizi actually had no major role in that administration and does not have the experience in management to be an advisor.
    Wood; Your campaign manager who may know how to run a campaign although your narrow victory and his lack of knowledge of the local political players came to light during the DTC fight which you lost.
    Nunn: May fit the job but no sure and he basically is kept under wraps.
    With this staff you are doomed to failure and this has been evidenced by your decisions during the short tim in office. Please reorganize your staff and add 1 position and that is a person that will tell you the truth and what the ramifications will be whenyou do something. If you dont do this you are a one term mayor.

  22. One of the problems with Bill, in my opinion, is that he never prepared himself for this job. He was the beneficiary of Fabrizi screwing up and the party faithful so afraid of Caruso. Caruso would have been faced with the same budgetary challenges however would have had a grasp sooner than later unlike Bill.

    Caruso ran on a platform of not serving two masters. Bill was elected only to serve the masters.

    How can the city justify adding 5 more bodies to OPED with a downturn in the economy and no buildng projects getting off the drawing boards. How much is the city projecting in Building Permit fees this year. I hear Eric Anderson’s Downtown North project is going South and down the tubes.

    The city needs an operational audit and may end up with another Financial Review Board similar to the late 80’s early 90’s. Paging Jacob Ukeles!

  23. Anybody hear Moonbeam on WICC this morning? The man is incapable of providing an honest answer to a simple question. The taxpayers of this city are doomed.

  24. Tom based on all I heard and read on Caruso he ran on one platform and one platform only and that was Corruption. Now there is nothing wrong about talking about corruption but he never pointed out areas where he thought that corruption existed. I am not naieve enough to believe that it does not exist but you cant keep crying wolf and cite no examples.
    You are probably right on the fact that he would have had a grip a lot sooner. i just cant understand why Moonbeam doesnt get it yet. I believe that his staff doesnt get it either.

  25. Okay let me get this straight We just received a grant of $200,000 to identify brownfield sites. Thats great! Moonbeam stated that we are missing out on 25-50 million in taxes on these properties. Now this must mean we already know where these sites are and have just not gone after the owners and this includes fabrizi or it means that moonbeam is shooting from the lip again.
    Lets assume the low end of that figure at $25,000,000 add that to the $29,000,000 in uncollected car taxes and you have $54,000,000 more than 3 times the debit we are in. So lets get Feeney, Moonbeam and anyone else responsible get off their collective asses and get this money collected. Is this going to happen of course not it would require an effort why do that when its easier to raise the taxes.

  26. With all due respect to Joe McGee and the committee that studied OPED in the city, the Cultural Affairs Officer (or minister as they are more often called) that is so crucial to the city’s economic future is in the budget at $21,250. I repeat $21,250. At 35 hours per week, this works out to $11.70 an hour? What do you get for $11.70 an hour? We will have to wait and see.
    But for $21,250, we are to believe that a great cultural renaissance will take place that will have people fighting to move into the city and reignite economic development.
    Mr. McGee and the other members of the committee allowed themselves to be used to push forward somebody’s political agenda which isn’t worth pushing. My guess would be that this is a political hack who is basically getting a no show part-time job with fulltime benefits. And when this hiring comes to light, it will be considered so outrageous that the mayor will try to blame this position and the subsequent hiring on his blue ribbon (or is that ribbing) committee.
    Anyone interested should apply today. No experience necessary.

  27. Is the culteral affairs minister a part-time or full-time job? What would the job duties be? I’m thinking that it won’t get many takers because the pay is so low, but if its only part-time maybe a retired professor or music teacher would apply. It might be a good idea to get somebody from City Lights gallery or UB to get involved. A little culture is a good thing for any city. We probably have local talent such as artists, musicians, who could help get a project like that up and running.

  28. Chris Russo,
    That is what this blog tried to do and elected Finch. Maybe if you collect the $8,000,000 DiNardo owes you it might not be too bad. But this is Bridgeport and it will NEVER happen!!!

  29. Bob Walsh-

    And you my dear…you a very, very silly, hateful, misinformed and destructive little man.

    If it were 80k you would complain. It’s 20k and guess what…you still complain.

    Stick to making Town House crackers.

  30. Anna – you are so right, that guy is one of the most negative people ever, he never has anything good to say about anyone or anything. People like him must be very unhappy with their lives and become very mean spirited. He doesn’t even look like a happy person, he always looks like he’s mad at the world.

  31. After the session is over I’m thinking of going on vacation.

    Does anyone know of any places where I might be able to hunt an actual human being?


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