Where’s The Pleasure? Plus: Promises, Promises

Leave it to the mischievous Sly Salcedo, barrister extraordinaire and library lover to wedge the Nov. 3 library referendum question in the September 15 primary for City Council. Writes Sly to OIB:

I’ve sent the same/identical email notes (as per example below) to (council candidates) Maria Valle and Christina Ayala versus Lydia Martinez and Manuel Ayala … whoever has the best translation of the referendum question in Spanish as requested by (Town Clerk) Alma Maya and the winning voting intentions that I can publicly publish on OIB … wins my vote … and maybe Timi’s vote also … it could be squeaker …


Dear Lydia,

To help me make my final decision on two very worthy and deserving candidates for my City Councilors … here’s what I’m going to do … I will pose the same questions for you and Manoling as with Maria and Christina:

1) Will you provide me with a translation of the following referendum question in Spanish that Alma Maya is telling the Library Board she needs translated before sending it up to Susan Bysiewicz’ office of the Secretary of State by tomorrow at noon:

“Shall a one (1.00) mil tax be levied to establish and maintain a free public library and reading room?”

2) Will you vote for the referendum and can I publish your intentions in Lennie Grimaldi’s OIB website?

Mil Gracias.


I wonder how Mojo and Joel Speedy Gonzalez would translate the question?

Where Has The Pleasure Gone?

I’m in a Pleasure Beach state of mind, especially after the whiplash phone call I received on Wednesday from the genial Captain Traffic Morgan Kaolian who’s on a one-man jihad over the latest happenings at Pleasure Beach, the demolition of the carousel house that was part of one of America’s breathtaking amusement parks before landlord neglect (the city) took over decades ago.

When I did public relations for Donald Trump in the 1990s the one spot he loved in Bridgeport more than any other from the view of his helicopter was Pleasure Beach. Morgan passed along this aerial he took following the demolition, apparently declared a hazardous eyesore/health hazard.

Pleasure Beach Carousel
Pleasure Beach Carousel

So, it got me thinking (yes, it’s possible for me to do that once in a while) what’s the status of Pleasure Beach and what did then mayoral candidate Bill Finch pledge in the summer of 2007 to reopen the park? Culled from candidate Finch campaign release about his plan for the East End. You’ll find the answer under initiative 4 and 9.

Finch for Mayor – Plan for East End

1. Reorganize Office of Planning and Economic Development — Create 2 cabinet level positions – one for Planning and Development (to oversee large scale development projects) and a Czar of Neighborhood Development position to oversee Housing and Community Development and neighborhood projects – these two positions will be given equal standing.
2. Build more Affordable Housing (Bridgeport Market Rate)
A. Establishment of a Bridgeport Housing Trust Fund
B. Inclusionary Zoning Requirements
C. Creation of a city-wide Land Bank
D. Investigate and apply for a Moderate Rehab Section 8 program
E. Re-Open Neighborhood Housing Services program
F. Stabilize Housing Stock for Senior Citizens and provide tax cuts

3. Create a Small Business Revitalization Grant Program – Using Community Development Block Grants and money from the newly established Housing Trust Fund we will invest in facades, playgrounds and beautification.
– Attract Viable Retailers back to the East End Market to raise tax base and bring in community jobs
– Provide New City-scaping for the East End Market

4. Neighborhood Beautification Program
A. Build a Gateway to Pleasure Beach
B. Perform Regular Maintenance and Neighborhood Clean Up
C. Focus on Blight Removal
D. Clean-up of Brownfield sites for future housing needs
E. Upgrade and Improve landscaping at Newfield
F. Apply for the creation of a Historic District and plan appropriate improvements

5. Finish Seaview Industrial Park -Re-create the Bridgeport Economic Development Corporation (BEDCO) with a Board of Directors with neighborhood members.
6. Support the NRZ Plan – The NRZ and others have long seen the recruitment of grocery or pharmacy retailers to augment and compliment the existing retail establishments as well as serve an underserved neighborhood.
Recruitment efforts, as well as economic incentives, will be developed by the City and the neighborhood. Create water access and residential development at the foot of Central Avenue.
7. Support the Opening of the New East End Police Substation based at the Newfield School (current site of the Police Academy).
8. Increase funding for Neighborhood Health Centers – expand service and program facilities
9. Re-Open Pleasure Beach – Pleasure Beach must be returned to use as a public park for all the people of Bridgeport with access from Seaview Avenue. Establish public commission made up of the Commissioner of the Department of Environmental Protection, Parks Department of the City of Bridgeport and 5 citizens named by the East End NRZ. This Commission will be charged with the creation of a plan to re-open the park in 2 years.

By the way, read Connecticut Post scribe Mike Mayko’s piece about Pleasure Beach here www.connpost.com/ci_13255176



  1. Oh for goodness sake, Sylvester, that email for support is ridiculous … And shame on the office of Town Clerk for not trying to do this or pay a professional translator to do it …

    Here is your damn translation, as I am sure neither of those “Council Candidates” are educated enough to translate that line properly …

    ¿Debería la ciudad imponer el 1 por ciento de los impuestos para apoyar la biblioteca pública y el cuarto de lectura?

    PS, you don’t honestly think they will tell you that they support that and allow you to post it on a blog … Really, come on …

    1. Himes Changes Healthcare Meeting.

      Don’t worry, Joel won’t bite your head off.

      Site of health-care forum changed
      Updated: 09/03/2009 01:29:01 PM EDT

      BRIDGEPORT — The site for tonight’s forum on health-care reform, sponsored by U.S. Rep. Jim Himes, has been changed because a larger-than-expected crowd is expected.

      The town hall-style meeting, originally set for City Hall, will now take place in The Klein, the city’s large auditorium at 910 Fairfield Ave. Officials announced the new location for the gathering at 1 p.m. today.

      About 1,300 people can be accommodated at The Klein, whereas only 500 or so could be squeezed into the Council Chamber at City Hall.

      The time has also been extended by a half-hour from the schedule posted earlier this week — it now is set for 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.

      There’s a big parking lot across Fairfield Avenue from the auditorium to accommodate the crowd expected for the forum.

  2. Imagine that. A duly sworn public official ascertained that buildings on the site of the former Pleasure Beach were hazardous and in danger of collapsing. A phone call was made, a report rendered and the buildings were demolished in short order. An exceptionally good example of proper municipal responsibility acting promptly to ensure public safety.

    The problem here is absolutely no one knows who did it. Charlie Carroll, the poster child of incompetent political appointments, is pointing fingers at Jim Miron, Mayor of Stratford. Mayor Miron is pointing fingers back at Carroll. Joel is pointing fingers at … Oh, I forgot … never mind.

    We deserve better. Make sure you pick well at the polls on September 15th.

  3. There was a time when many coastal Connecticut towns had a thriving shore scene complete with beaches and carousels. Although these weren’t the first beaches, they were the first carousels! Their decline came as a result of demographic shifts and obsolescence which resulted in owner neglect. As the owner of last resort, municipalities often became their keeper.

    KUDOS to BEACON2 for understanding the huge unfunded liabilities owned by The City of Bridgeport and alerting us to the prospect that all pensions might have to be re-worked much to the dismay of retirees.


    www .wolframalpha.com < -- look to the right sidebar to sample this new era search engine. www .thedailybeast.com < -- the non-trad view, you'll need your mouse for this one. www .blackrockonline.org/categories/community/bridgeport?page=1 < -- ultra local. Note the blogroll on the (bottom) left ...

  4. I have a few questions on the pleasure beach issue. How did the fire chief get on the island? is the road from Stratford open? How did construction equipment get out there? The other question is does the chief have the technical background to tell if a building is safe from collapse or not? BTW the building was more than 1 story in height! Why didn’t anyone from the building department go out there? Or did they? I see the buildings were knocked down but were the open septic holes filled in?
    This is just another example of a city running wild with no one in charge or no one communicating to the person in charge. How the hell do 2 large building get knocked down and no one knows who did it? Somebody please get a clue.

  5. I’m happy to see that Santa Energy is displaying their postitive energy by supporting the OIB blog.

    “You Can Believe in Santa!”

    And they will more than once a year!

  6. “town committee,” Your concerns are right on point. Andy, you and I know that this was over the head of the Deputy Chief, he is a nice guy. This had to come from City Hall to Chief Rooney who then had the Deputy Chief fall on his sword.

  7. Riddle me this: Isn’t it fitting that the blame for who knocked down the carousel house is going ’round and ’round like the horses on the old merry-go-’round??? Go for the brass ring, fellas!

  8. I would guess that the collapse of the buildings at Pleasure Beach was the result of a meteorological condition known as strong wind. Or perhaps an unnamed humanoid land-dwelling creature sought to save the city some precious time, went out there and gave each dilapidated structure a good shove. Judging from the photographs in this morning’s Daily Bugle, that is more than likely the most plausible explanation.

  9. Kudos to our own Tom Kelly for getting down right snarly on the op ed pages of the Connecticut Post. His Letter To The Editor, concerning the latest gust of hot, inert gas issuing forth from the mayor’s office about Stealpointe, reads in part,

    “Here we are trying to sell the old Black Rock Bank & Trust building for $750,000 and giving away the rights for 50 waterfront acres, that is now an option deal for $500,000, for the same $4.4 million figure from 1997. Whatever happened to that much heralded $1 billion deal much ballyhooed by the editorial board of this paper, previous mayors and the Bridgeport Regional Business Council? And don’t forget that we gave the Pequonnock Yacht Club more than $4 millions to sail out of town. I strongly recommend that the Bridgeport City Council reject this latest land gain.”

  10. Pleasure Beach was a battle lost decades ago. Think about it: how many of you are old enough to remember the amusement park? As the poet Springsteen might say about memories in a situation: “They haunt this dusty beach road in the skeleton frames of burned-out Chevrolets.”
    If it is only memories you are interested in, get yourself a standard seven-foot long casket and move into Mountain Grove.
    For the living, the big victory out of the Pleasure Beach defeat was relocating the Carousel to Beardsley Park at the zoo for the kids, and moving Polka Dot to State Street for the sake of theater in town. Everything else was a nice try.
    Town Committee kicked the tires on what is wrong with this situation and what we all feel is wrong: It is the sneakiness of knocking the buildings down the way it was done that is wrong. No architectural wonders died when those structures came down. Further, hurt to long-dead memories may have occurred.
    What is wrong is the attitude, “I’ll do it, I’ll get away with it, therefore it is right.” As long as that attitude is alive, real estate agents are going to try to build condos in the middle of North Main Street and bankers are going to finance them.
    It becomes part of the old Bridgeport cynicism: “If THEY were capable of doing this, they’ll do that.” “They” is rarely defined, but the political community will do in a pinch. And it is not only “that” what they do, it is “this” and the “other thing” as well.
    I think poster Ron is right on in stating the assistant fire chief is being set up as the fall guy.
    If anyone thinks those buildings were so important, all we have to do is get public works the lumber and the carpenters can replicate them on the lawn outside of City Hall Annex. We can all go down and watch.
    Be on your guard, however. The first one of you characters who picks up a penny nail and starts banging it up his nose gets arrested and returned to the Barnum Museum as an escaped exhibit!

  11. If the buildings were razed in the middle o’ the night to save money and time … That ain’t such a bad thing, but it is yet another example of the sleazy, underhanded way too many people in public life conduct business in this town.

  12. Gossip of The Rialto!

    Identity Theft Claimed by Joel. “They Fingered the Wrong Guy!”

    Man bites off man’s finger at Obama healthcare rally
    September 3, 2009 | 12:04 am

    Here’s a weird little piece of late-breaking news about the nation’s ongoing healthcare reform debate:

    A 65-year-old man at a Wednesday night California rally supporting President Obama’s embattled reform ideas had a finger bitten off during a scuffle with anti-reform protesters.

    Ventura County sheriff’s deputies were called to the intersection of Lynn and Hillcrest Road in Thousand Oaks near Los Angeles, according to TV station KTLA.

    There, an estimated 100 supporters of healthcare reform affiliated with MoveOn.org had gathered as part of a nationwide array of local pre-Labor Day rallies to attract attention in support of Obama’s reform plans currently before Congress.


  13. KID: Doing it on the cheap leads to your charges that it was done sleazy. You got to do it right, Kid. If they do it “wrong,” it only encourages “them” to do the “wrong” thing elsewhere.
    The buildings were a wreck. They deserved to come down. It is how the city took them down that stinks.
    On the other hand, imagine a fire out on Pleasure Beach. After three or four firefighters row a boat out there, the only thing they have to do is watch the fire burn while holding a hose and nozzle. No water. Think Three Stooges. Wooo-wooo-wooo!

    1. The buildings were in terrible shape, I know. Seen ’em up close. Couple of years ago an acquaintance took me out there. Heard the stripers were running. We tied up at one of the docks to modify our gear and have a look. Before too long a man walked out from the cottages and began to ask a lot of questions. Upon ascertaining that he was a squatter, we asked him why he was being so nosy. “You never know who might show up,” he said.

      We told him to get a job, get a life, or fuck off.

    1. We could rent the Penfield Lighthouse from the town of Fairfield for $1.00 a year (hurry, before Joe “Snake Oil, Anyone?” Celli gets any big ideas) and move ’em out there.

      1. Better yet: we could wall ’em off in the Annex, just like that John Carpenter film “Escape From New York”. Throw food to them, porn DVDs, whatever they need.

  14. I’m intrigued, Kid. Finally something useful for the Annex. But I’m also a compassionate person. Ya know, my inner-leaf-nibbling Westport vegan. They might be LONELY. Any suggested company?

    1. Might I suggest a colony of male chimpanzees that are entering sexual maturity? I’m laughing out loud thinking of how Adam “Pecker” Wood could advise Hizzoner when the chimps and humans engage in territorial battles over food and water resources. Just picture in your mind Bill Finch, Pepsodent smile agleam, attempting to negotiate with a pissed-off, horny male chimp.

    2. “My inner-leaf-nibbling Westport vegan”? What the hell is that? My inner meat-eating Paganistic Id wants to erect a forty-foot wicker man, round up all the corrupt, self-serving politicians and self-appointed community leaders (and community activists), anoint ’em with various oils, march ’em up a ladder to a chamber inside the wicker man, and set fire to it. We could all join hands and sing pre-Christian hymns as our sacrifice to Saint Jude is accepted.

      1. “The Wicker Man was a large wicker statue of a human used by the ancient Druids (priests of Celtic paganism) for human sacrifice by burning it in effigy, according to Julius Caesar in his Commentarii de Bello Gallico (“Commentary on the Gallic Wars”). In modern times the figure has been adopted for festivals as part of some neopagan-themed ceremonies, notably without the human sacrifice element.

        “While other Roman writers of the time, such as Cicero, Suetonius, Lucan, Tacitus and Pliny the Elder, described human sacrifice among the Celts, only Caesar mentions the wicker man as one of many ways the Druids of Gaul performed sacrifices (on 1 May, [An] Cèitean or a’ Mhàigh). Not having witnessed the ritual himself, Caesar reports that some of the Gauls built the effigies out of sticks and placed living men inside, then set them on fire to pay tribute to the gods. Caesar writes that though the Druids generally used thieves and criminals, as they pleased the gods more, they sometimes used innocent men when no delinquents could be found.”

  15. Kelly seems to be right on about “Steal Point.”
    The old Bridgeport Post had an article one time about all the drawings of stuff in City Hall that never got built. It must be in the planning office or something. Is that still around?

    1. Someone is going to make out on this deal, and it ain’t the taxpayers of Bridgeport. Same thing with the old Black Rock Bank & Trust Co. building. The RFP was sent out a few weeks ago but the response date was yesterday. Looks to me like a deal is in the works, like maybe Paul “The Pimp” Timpanelli is lobbying his old golfing buddy Bill “Billy Gorgeous” Finch on behalf of someone. Heard Sal DiNardo was interested in the property.

  16. We have been told for years that there was no access to Pleasure Beach yet the Fire Chief went out there. I am sure he did not row out there. They managed to get a piece of construction equipment out there also. Why didn’t they slip a truck out there, haul the debris away and be done with it?
    No one who works for the city will stand up and say I had the buildings torn down. So in that case let’s lay the blame where it belongs. Let’s blame or at least ask the people who are responsible for the parks and its buildings, that being the Parks Commission, What happened? Oh by the way who is in charge of the parks? Damn it those buildings belong to US we have a right to know. There also should have been a public hearing on this item. Enough of this cowboy BS of doing what the hell you want to and the public be damned. IT IS TIME FOR A CHANGE!!!

  17. On a happier note The Sixx’s night club on East Main St has been issued an eviction notice.
    The night club known as the SIXX’s on East Main St & Louisiana Ave has been served with eviction papers. This is the night club that has been driving the neighbors crazy with the loud music and rowdy patrons. Ann & I got involved with the neighbors, attended 2 zoning meetings and brought my wife Pat into the picture from a zoning point of view.
    The city zoning department did enforce their cease & desist order after these meetings. The club has been closed for a number of weeks and now the eviction notice. The residents can rest and relax for a while. Now we will monitor this situation and see who the new tenants will be and monitor the type of occupancy that will be going in there.
    This just shows that when citizens get together for the good of the neighborhood they can win. I am happy that Ann & I were able to help in one small measure. Congrats to the neighbors who never gave up and fought the good fight.

    1. There are a few other clubs like that one. They claim to be restaurants but in reality are places where people congregate to engage in excessive consumption of alcoholic beverages and Bolivian Marching Powder.

    2. TC

      Congratulations. However, why didn’t the police come in and shut the place down under the public nuisance ordinance similar to when Teddies was shut down a few years ago?

    3. TC I heard that the owner will open a restaurant and has invited the Hell’s Angels to use the facility for meetings. BYOB will be the call of the day and admission is free. The restaurant is also planning on having Automobile Stereo competitions in the parking lot and a prize of $500 will go to the winner of the ‘Loudest’ car sound system competition. The facility will also be available for gang meetings and get-togethers.

  18. Congrats on the club TC!
    I doubt if anybody from the FD rowed out to Pleasure Beach (although I’d buy a ticket to watch it!). I’d also have trouble believing fire signed off on tearing those buildings down. Why would fire care? If the buildings burned down the FD wouldn’t care. Not a public safety issue. And if FD could order every abandoned building torn down in town, don’t you think it would have been done years ago?
    No, the building department is lurking here somewhere.
    But at any rate, the whole thing seems to lead back to the Usual Suspect: the mayor. And the question, Why?
    You don’t need cops to investigate. City Council can do very nicely if it has the will to turn the administration against itself. The question is will.

    1. What the FD wanted to do might’ve been accomplished by a civic-minded punk or two. Whatever. If Mayor Finch and Adam “Pecker” Wood want to revitalize Pleasure Beach it will cost a few large to do it. The buildings were beyond salvage; tearing them down would’ve cost time and money. Now the wreckage only has to be cleared away.

  19. “… the latest happenings at Pleasure Beach, the demolition of the carousel house …”

    Rumors in Stratford of a witness to the destruction of the Pleasure Beach Carousel House:

    A Stratford resident walking his dog at 4:30 a.m. reported witnessing the destruction of the carousel house. The witness claims that at approximately 4:30 a.m. he was walking his dog on the other side of the carousel house when a UFO suddenly appeared and hovered over the carousel house and seemed to attempt to land or enter the carousel when the weight of the flying object knocked down the structure. The witness claims that the incident lasted about 7 seconds and that the UFO disappeared in a blink of an eye. The UFO was said to be about one third (1/3) the diameter of the carousel structure; silver color and shaped like a saucer. Looking at the picture of the carousel structure from the air (great shot Morgan) it is plausible that the UFO could have confused the carousel structure with a ‘mother ship’ and may have tried to enter it, causing the structure to collapse.

    You guys need to stop jumping to conclusions and quickly blaming the mayor for everything. Just because some ‘green creature’ was seen piloting into and destroying the structure, doesn’t mean that Finch sent them.

    www .youtube.com/watch?v=7vUQIynCNYU

  20. Ms. Celia:
    My life philosophy, learned from the U.S. Navy, goes simply like this:
    1) You’ll never know unless you ask. (As in, “will you vote for me? Can I get/count on your vote?”)
    I received no reply from either camp in the 137th by the deadline of noon yesterday … so I’ll have to look for some other measurement to decide my vote for either camp. Does this little exercise mean anything to anyone else in the East Side? Maybe yes, maybe no. Citywide? Statewide? Maybe nobody cares ultimately. Does the East Side really count? It’s one of two neighborhoods with a store-front library branch with a lower level of facilities and high cost to rent because it’s not a city-owned building, unlike Main, North End and Black Rock. Does anyone in the district care?
    2) You get what you inspect, not what you expect.
    I expected an answer from Maria and/or from Lydia … neither camp gave me anything that I can share on OIB unfortunately.
    As Latino/a leaders and persons (Maria and Lydia, at least) involved with the Public Education system of Bridgeport I expected and wanted to inspect what they could come up with in the translation request from the Latina Town Clerk of Bridgeport with a significant Latino staff who anyone would “expect” to be capable of translating one phrase or a couple of paragraphs from English into Spanish in some literate way … or at least they would know who to ask for help in this town/city.
    By the way, your translation is not bad, but I’ve seen a slightly better version from another former Latina Bridgeport Board of Education employee.
    Yahooy: Maybe I’ve been a little overworked, but nothing too worry about. Thanks for your concern.


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