Where Are The Cranes?

Bill Finch needs some momentum in his mayoralty, an economic development initiative to call his own, or maybe revive a languishing project than can provide a spark.

The mayor has scheduled an announcement for Tuesday afternoon with Bridgeport Landing Development LLC, developers of Steelpointe Harbor, to provide an update. Maybe they can actually plant a shovel in the ground? Maybe they’ll cough up the long-awaited cash for the land transfer? Maybe this is a dog and pony show?

Two years into his mayoralty Finch lacks a high profile development deal that’s real, an announcement that can provide momentum into the second half of his four-year term. He hasn’t even had the singles and doubles he spoke about in his 2007 campaign. In his defense the economy has been a drag. But maybe, just maybe something’s cookin’ with Steelpointe? We’ll see.

Meanwhile, the mayor and Congressman Jim Himes have an announcement planned for today. This should provide a smile to Mr. Green Jeans. See below: (On Tuesday, an update on Ralph Jacobs, fired Civil Service personnel director.)

Himes, Finch, GBT to Announce Arrival of $2.8 Million in Recovery Funds

Recovery Act contract to improve transportation, directly create 7 jobs

WHO: Congressman Jim Himes, Connecticut 4th District

Mayor Bill Finch, City of Bridgeport

Ron Kilcoyne, General Manager and CEO, Greater Bridgeport Transit

WHAT: The Recovery Act has provided funding for a $2.8 million grant to the Greater Bridgeport Transit Authority for a vehicle repower program involving 40 buses in the City of Bridgeport. The project will incorporate the latest technology in emissions reductions leading to an 11% fuel economy and an 80% reduction in diesel particulate matter. The contract will be awarded to Cummins Power Systems, LLC and is expected to create or retain seven jobs.

WHEN: Monday, August 31, 2009 1:30 pm

WHERE: Bridgeport Transportation Center Bus Terminal

710 Water Street (Corner of Water Street and Stratford Avenue)

Downtown Bridgeport

Healthy Debate

OIB friends Stephen Krauchick and David Smith from www.doingitlocal.com shared this feed from a Saturday health forum that featured spirited debate at the City Hall Annex. State Rep. Andres Ayala was among the audience participation.


Farmers Market Tuesday, From Cougar Rodgerson

The Farmer’s Market on the Baldwin Green will be open tomorrow. The Market is open rain or shine every Tuesday from 12 to 6. Please make an effort to attend and spread the word to employees as well as customers. There are over 50 different varieties of fruits and vegetables, many all natural and pesticide free. Honey, homemade jam, fresh flowers, eggs, and herbs are also sold. Come and enjoy Connecticut grown products and support local farmers.

Also, this Thursday there will be the Downtown Alternative Revival Concert. This is part of a summer long free concert series held every Thursday on the Baldwin Plaza Green at 7pm. There will be fire dancers, public art, grills available and a movie on the green. BYOB.



  1. This health care debate puzzles me … seems the wingnuts would rather have no health care than government involved health care? But of course they have no problem taking medicare and social security right? Aren’t those programs government involved? The water they drink is government involved … the food they eat is government involved … FDA right? Guess I worked too many hours this weekend; just don’t get it.

    1. BF–I would gladly give up my SS and medicare. Please refund the money I have already contributed. Better yet, I will leave that in there, but please exempt me from funding the failures of the federal government for the future. I will pay for my own health care and that of my family. I refuse, however, to fund the rest of world–both legal and and illegal–who believe they are ENTITLED to some benefit. More importantly, they feel they are entitled to my wealth.

      Please explain why that is. I work hard. My family sacrificed so that I could go to school and get an education. I sacrificed so that I could further my education and get a better job. I drove the same car for 16 years (255,000 miles) while friends bought their new BMWs and houses, took vacations and dressed in the finest clothes. I am not a “right-wing nut”, but I believe that what I earn is mine and I don’t owe it to anyone else. I pay over 30% of my gross pay to the state and federal government, and if you factor in the extremely high taxes I pay in Bridgeport it rises to over 35%. Why should I pay more? Because you “need” it? What about people that “need” food? What about people that “need” housing? Are they less worthy? I think not. Should I then pay 45% or 50% of what I make?

      It is easy to call people “right-wing nuts” when they say that they are against the health care plan, but can you please explain why there are NO cuts of programs that were instituted in years with an excess of funds? Clearly, when times were good we raise benefits–why do we still need to raise them when times are bad? People NEED them–okay, so let’s NOT institute them in good times. Let’s bank those dollars to pay for the bad times. Oh, wait, you “left-wing nuts” want my money both when times are good, because there is excess, and when times are bad, because you need it. When I question the rationality of this you call me a “right-wing nut” or a racist. Clearly, there is nothing I can do to make you happy other than relinquish my rightfully earned assets to the masses. Well I say NO.

  2. Where’s the debate? Everyone wants health care when they need it. No one wants to pay for its cost routinely. Health care costs in this country currently exceed 14% and are rising (like education costs) at two times or more the underlying rate of inflation. Crash coming?
    Look at the numbers I posted for the City of Bridgeport from the 2008 audit regarding Other Post Employment Benefits (OPEB). Currently the City negotiators have committed us to pay out $874,000,000 to former City employees in the future!!! Currently we have not built any reserves. We are supposedly on a “pay as you go” basis, but that is not accurate. In 2008 we fell short of the Annual Actuarial Liability by $17 Million even though we paid $29 Million. This is not investigative reporting! It is reading through the Municipal audit, that we pay for each year and that has Mark Feeney’s name on the front.
    When labor settlements are announced do we ever hear about their cost? Why not? If there is trouble paying for things today, how will it be in the future, when all of these promises come due?
    MOJO: You mentioned that you did not have a copy of the 2008 Audit. If you go to the City web site and click on Finance Department on the left under Department Links, it will take you to a number of reports. The audits back to 2002 are listed under Comprehensive Annual Financial Reports (CARF). Check it out when you have a moment.

  3. Given the climate in Bridgeport would you invest millions here? You have an administration that has no plan and has its employees in turmoil.
    You have a mayor who as of today is still trying to change the New Master Plan. It seems that he is still trying to get a lot of spot zoning added to the master plan even as it comes up for a vote tonight.
    You have an economic development chief that lives in NYC and goes home there every night.
    No one really knows what the financial condition of the city is.
    Then you have the NIMBY factor.
    To invest in Bridgeport at this time would take a big pair of stones and in these economic times I don’t see that happening.
    We need people to stand up and tell Finch & Company to get their act together. The council has to get its act together and stand up and govern and not just be a rubber stamp for Finch’s BS which has done nothing for this city. IT IS TIME FOR A CHANGE!!!

    1. TC–where am I missing the boat? Didn’t you support Fabrizi when you knew full well he was doing drugs and knew what was going on with those insurance payments? You told a number of people that John was a bad guy, you knew what he was doing, and that he shouldn’t be mayor–yet somehow you ended up on his team.

      I am not sure I support your opponents, but you need to tone down the crap you are spewing about the other politicos in Bpt. You supported Fabrizi, and somehow, out of the blue, he decided to back your wife for P&Z chairman over Dottie Guman. Dottie did nothing other than support her son against Fabrizi. You thought that was OK–or do you question the job Dottie was doing?

      Don’t talk about “change” that is needed in our city–you, and the political animals like you, are the reason we are in this situation. You see what the right thing to do is, and then make a decision to ignore it based solely on what is best for you and you alone.

      You are ultimately correct–it is time for a change. It is time that somebody with some truth, morals, and values run for a position in the city and tell the truth about what they believe and what they stand for.

  4. Singles and doubles???
    There are way too many strike threes called looking!!!
    Lacks a high-profile development deal?
    He lacks any type of development deal!
    He still thinks that the Kuchma project is on target.
    And let him come up with some grandiose architectural rendering on Tuesday that never makes it off of the piece of paper and most taxpayers will just think of it as another lie coming out of the Finch administration. Very, very sad.

  5. Final Stanza

    “Send in the Cranes”

    Without lyrical or melodical license to “Send in the Clowns”
    From a Little Night Music

    Isn’t it a bitch?
    Isn’t it queer.
    Losing my timing this late
    In my career?
    And where are the cranes?
    There ought to be cranes.
    Well, maybe next year!

    1. By the way,

      The Connecticut Post, under the heading “City Moves Wisely,” published the following editorial yesterday.

      “It is pleasing to see the city of Bridgeport moving forward in such an open fashion as it finally addresses the sale of a critical piece of city-owned property in its Black Rock section.

      “The former bank building at 2838 Fairfield Ave., at the corner of Brewster Street, is a formidable structure that sits in the heart of one of the city’s more thriving neighborhoods. The decision on the building’s future use will be critical to the vitality of the neighborhood.

      “Unfortunately, for the last several years, the building has been the focal point of a rancorous financial dispute between City Hall and the Black Rock Art Center, a group that occupied the space for nearly five years.

      “The city owns the building and legally can dispose of it in any way it deems fit.

      “But that is not the role of a city government. Its role is to protect and improve the quality of life of all its citizens.
      So in this case, the city should be welcoming and considerate of any and all input from residents of the area. The Black Rock section has both an active homeowners’ association and a Neighborhood Revitalization Zone (NRZ) board.

      “To its credit, the city put in the request for proposals that a developer should read the Black Rock NRZ plan to learn what the neighborhood would like to see in the development. We agree with Ann-Marie Klein, a spokesman for the homeowners’ association, that the building should have mixed use, part of which would be an arts component.”

      Ms. Klein’s opinion, that the building should be a mixed-use property with an arts component, is one that I’ve had all along. It wasn’t that idea that put the local residents at odds with the art center; it was the charlatan Joseph Celli that polarized the situation, pitting neighbor against neighbor, moneyed against working class, etc. He is gone. What is New London’s albatross is our gain, a cause for the area’s children to join hands, dance in circles and sing “Ding, dong! The asshole’s gone!”

      1. I would love to understand specifically what Celli did to be a polarizing figure. Celli started a free summer music festival at City Hall, supported DSSD in getting musical talent, organized wonderful arts and political discussions at the Arts Center.

        He even had a lease that stated the city needed to negotiate in good faith for a long-term lease. He invested in the property with volunteers. So what did Celli do wrong except try to keep the property as a cornerstone location to grow arts in Bridgeport?

        No he didn’t roll over for those who wanted to move him to another location. But did you really expect him to?

  6. Fabrizi used to crow about cranes.
    And now there is one lonely crane helping to add a deck to the parking garage at Harbor Yard.
    One lonely crane. The Fabulous One, Nancy Hardly and Bill “Just call me Mr. Green Jeans” Finch should be very, very proud of it.

  7. Interesting article in the Post yesterday regarding Ralph Jacobs’ firing. The story is too long to reproduce here, but a quote from Jacobs toward the end summed it up rather succinctly:

    “I have to carry out the law. I have to follow the charter. It’s not really a choice, it’s a requirement. So when the mayor wants to do something that violates the law, the charter, I have to tell them they can’t do that. And they get frustrated. ‘Who are you to say the mayor can’t do this?'”

  8. It sounds as if TC is suggesting that Finch is going to need a crane to load up all of the changes to the master plan.
    Why is it called a master plan?
    Because the Planning and Zoning Commission keeps saying, “Yes, Master. Do you have any more changes for us to make?”
    The question is are they saying it to Finch, Testa or Rizzo?

  9. Intersting lyric by Joe “Lemon” Celli. Probably sung to an out-of-tune, fucked-up melody straight out of that atonal he blows. Y’know, the stuff that he’s conned the well-heeled into believing actually has some redeeming quality.

  10. “The Bridgeport Kid,” you posted a quote and said, “interesting article in the Post yesterday regarding Ralph Jacobs’ firing.”:
    “I have to carry out the law. I have to follow the charter. It’s not really a choice, it’s a requirement. So when the mayor wants to do something that violates the law, the charter, I have to tell them they can’t do that. And they get frustrated. ‘Who are you to say the mayor can’t do this?” The article also said, “David Dunn, the city’s senior labor relations officer since 1997, would be taking over as acting personnel director until a replacement for Jacobs is hired.”

    Without doubt this is one of the most dangerous moves that Mayor Finch has made. Will Dunn be able to do what Ralph Jacobs stated above or is Dunn’s loyalty to Mayor Finch? We ALL know that Dunn will do whatever he told to do by the mayor, law or no law. Will the City do another national search to fill the position of Personnel Director? Why would anyone want this position when you consider how the past Personnel Director was treated? That will leave Bridgeport with David Dunn remaining in that position and it will be “let the good times roll” for the Mayor in putting his cronies in place. When will the City Council look into the firing of Ralph Jacobs?

  11. Have you been down Park Ave to the former Park City hospital site? Cranes have been there lots. $22 million conversion to 110 apt. 50% complete. Top two floors are sheetrocked and taped. Windows are in. Project on schedule for July 2010 opening. I’ve got the pictures of the construction cranes to prove it. Even the crappy graffiti is gone. All is not bad news. I am in Chicago. Hope the PZC affirms the master plan so the new zoning can get approved. Need all that in place for the private deals to attempt to get financing for their deals.

    1. And how long has Park City been empty? Decades.
      And it is being converted to Bridgeport Housing Authority property. Another non-taxpaying piece of property. Cranes like this should fly south year ’round.

  12. Jumpin’ Jimena bearing down on Baja.

    Hadley, in a tailspin, with tsunami-like shopping spree taking Chicago by storm. Nordstrom’s stock up 12% in after-hours buying spree. Check out Gibson’s for a great steak. Tell them Warren sent you and that my stake in Bushwick Metals is like me. Holding its own!

    Hogan’s Heros to open in Bridgeport with tribute to Bob Crane.

  13. Ron I agree with you on David Dunn and this latest fiasco that took place with the trumped-up charge against Jacobs. I am still waiting to hear what Disloyalty to Bridgeport is and where it is stated that this is a firing offense.
    From what I have seen in the last 2 years we can fire most of the Finch appointees and half the council on this charge alone.
    I know that Ann and I would bring this up, you can take it to the bank. I cannot believe that the council has been quiet, many of them are covered by civil service.
    Screwing around with civil service goes back to Fabrizi and continues under Finch. Enough is Enough.
    It seems that if you say NO to Finch and Wood they come after you and will do anything to get you.
    Let’s start here. NO.

  14. Hey, Joel and Mojo:

    How do you say: “Shall a one (1) mill tax be levied to establish and maintain a free public library and reading room?” in Spanish? Apparently, the Town Clerk’s Office (Alma Maya) is now asking the Library Board today to translate this phrase for the court-ordered referendum question for posting on November 3rd ballot. I’m assuming no one at the Bridgeport Town Clerk’s office is capable of doing this herculean, linguistic task. Being our resident OIB Spanish translators (who do it in writing while interpreters, as I understand it, do it orally), I thought I would check with both of you for the best, most accurate translation from Bridgeport that would be suitable for the Secretary of State’s Office (Susan Bysiewicz, my candidate for governor in 2010!!!).

    I’m a little shy to show off my high school learned Spanish on the OIB platform, but if the Town Clerk’s Office wanted a translation in Filipino, I would say it’s something like this: “Mananalo ang manok ko, yong payat na manok mo ay piniritong adobo.” (My fighting cock (careful Grin: please, don’t bust out of your man-ssiere!) will win, your skinny-ass rooster is fried chicken in adobo flavor.)

    Any student or teacher or administrator from the Bridgeport BOE Spanish bilingual department available to help, or do we have to call Fairfield? Westport? Maybe down county to Greenwich? Por favor, ayudamos pronto!

  15. Señor Joel:

    Mi perro comío mi tarea. (My dog ate my homework.)
    Joel, it’s been a long week … please tell me again, what was that homework? How many Public Schools in Bridgeport have a library? Probably, all of them; I would guess. What was your point again in all of this? Oops, it’s 9pm … time for The Rachel Maddow Show. How long will it take you to translate one stinking Spanish phrase for the Bridgeport Town Clerk? She needs this in the morning!

  16. They must have been the Bored of Ed this evening.

    Connecticut Post Stamford Advocate Greenwich Time Danbury News Times Community Weeklies Connecticut Postings

    Bpt BOE Finance Committee Meeting canceled. August 31, 2009 at 1:10 pm by Linda Conner Lambeck

    So if you planned to spend your Monday evening watching the Bridgeport Board of Education’s Finance Committee discuss professional fees, a Bridgeport Regional Business Council request and its still-not-finalized 2009-2010 school budget, forget about it. As is so often the case, the meeting was just canceled, no doubt to a lack of a quorum or because the state may actually be poised to finally adopt its budget, upon which the city BOE heavily relies. Take your pick. No explanation was given.

    In any case, the board is still planning to meet at 6 p.m. in Room 305 of city hall to interview, and possibly agree to hire a new director of facilities to replace Al Hinds who after a couple of years on the job, is retiring. Stay tuned …

  17. Twenty years ago the Chicago river was classified as toxic. There were no riverwalks and lots of abandoned industrial buildings full of contaminated industrial crap. Today I took the Chicago architectural foundation river tour. There are now twenty-foot riverwalks in some places three stories tall full of cafes landscaping and beautiful lighting effects. The railroad tracks and bus terminal pulsing area has had dramatic highrises built over them using the air rights and transfer of development rights within Chicago’s zoning regs. ALL of these Design principles will be in Bridgeport’s new Zoning regs. ALL of these design principles are for the very first time in Bridgeport’s new master plan. Once these land use policies are adopted Bridgeport will send a new signal of quality sustainability and work to recapture its twenty-two miles of riverfront. So here I am back in Bridgeport sitting in the third row of the council chambers hoping that Bridgeport’s four-year-old effort to revise its land use policies comes closer to a conclusion. There is so much opportunity for this city. It just has to move the question and ACT.


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