And now Carolanne Curry
These women all supported Bill Finch’s mayoralty in 2007, worked their fannies off, in fact, to help him squeeze out a 270-vote victory over State Rep. Chris Caruso. And, one by one, for one reason or another they are no longer part of the Finch administration or are just plain off the reservation.
If you’re Foster, when the mayor called the University of Bridgeport a criminal enterprise out of a mindless obsession with the Unification Church that bailed UB out of financial trouble nearly 20 years ago, it couldn’t have pleased the UB vice president overseeing numerous departments at a university that educates 5,000 students, employs hundreds and has an economic impact on the city of tens of millions of dollars. Stings all that much more after Foster opened up her home to Finch and raised a boatload of cash to help retire the legal bill as a result of Caruso challenging the results of the primary.
If you’re Bakalar, a brilliant grants writer and astute government hand who delivered tens of millions of dollars to the city, being cast aside without input, without consideration for the contributions made to government, it makes you want to go somewhere else. Well, she did.
If you’re Guman, the woman who guided Finch’s political career, who stood up for him when so many said he was a narcissistic loose canon, she couldn’t be happy when the mayor unloaded an expletive-filled rant because she dared to support Mario Testa for party leadership after former party leader John Stafstrom told her to fuck off. Their relationship will never be the same.
The list is much longer than those mentioned above and the latest member of the Finch buyers-remorse brigade is Curry. I do not know why Curry was told on Thursday that she was being terminated from city work. Curry had worked in the government-efficiency CitiStat Program so heralded by Finch. Maybe there was just cause. Maybe not. The Finch administration that had so promised transparency, the best and the brightest, the this and the that, yadda, yadda, yadda, isn’t so forthcoming with information. In fact, Chief of Staff Adam Wood keeps a shoehorn handy just to pry a word from his lips about what’s going on in the building.
This stuff might sound like inside baseball but it goes much deeper to the root cause of why Finch’s mayoralty is a mess: the bizarre decision-making of Finch. And guess what? Based on his track record it ain’t getting any better.
But there’s hope, right? Always hope that the ghost of Finch past can scare him back into logical, mature, pragmatic, honest thinking. Or maybe it’s time for all of us to push harder for … Finch for Connecticut secretary of state! Yeah, fire up the candidate committee. Bill would make a solid SOT. We’ll put Yahooy in charge of issues, Tom Kelly in charge of the bar vote, Bob from BePo communications director, City Hall Smoker field director, Beacon2 to head the delegate count, Sly Salcedo legal counsel, Town Committee as treasurer. Campaign manager? I’m open to suggestions.
Wait, maybe Mary-Jane, Rina, Dottie and Carolanne will join the get-out-the-vote campaign? I must get them on the phone. What do you say? “Hello, hello, hello …”
Campaign Finance Law Dumped
OIB friend Christine Stuart at Connecticut News Junkie www.ctnewsjunkie.com posted this major item today. Well, here’s a way to save a cool $50 million. Attorney General Richard Blumenthal says the state will appeal the ruling.
While he praised the state’s effort to increase public confidence in state elections, a federal judge on Thursday ordered an immediate end to Connecticut’s fledgling public campaign finance system, calling it unconstitutional.
After two years of argument and deliberation, U.S. District Court Judge Stefan Underhill ruled in favor of the Green Party, which argued the system created in 2005 imposed an unfair burden for minor party candidates seeking to qualify for matching campaign funds through a state grant program.
The Citizens Election Program “imposes an unconstitutional, discriminatory burden on minor party candidates’ First Amendment-protected right to political opportunity,” Underhill wrote in his decision.
In the 138-page decision Underhill concluded that the system provided candidates with “windfall levels” of funding for their campaigns, artificially enhanced the strength of the two major parties, made it difficult for minor party candidates to qualify, and discouraged minor party candidates from participating.
Funded by a proceeds from the sale of abandoned property, the state’s public campaign finance system contains between $40 million and $60 million. It has been the target of Republican criticism with respect to their desire to use the money to help solve the state budget crisis.
SuBy response to court ruling
Secretary of the State Strongly Supports Public Financing, Says Jettisoning the Entire System Now Would Cause Chaos for State Candidates
Hartford: Connecticut Secretary of the State Susan Bysiewicz today issued this statement reacting to the decision by U.S. District Court Judge Stephen Underhill declaring Connecticut’s public campaign financing law unconstitutional.
“This is an unfortunate decision at a very inopportune time for our political system. Many of us in Connecticut worked very hard to enact the nation’s most aggressive clean elections law because we saw the corrosive and corrupting influence of big money in our political system. Through enacting campaign finance reform in Connecticut, we banned contributions from lobbyists and contractors and cleaned up the system. Public financing has worked extremely well so far: in the 2008 election cycle 83% of candidates for State Senate and 74% of candidates for the State House participated in the system. The Citizens’ Election Program awarded grants to 236 candidates: 135 Democrats, 96 Republicans, 3 Independent and 2 Working Families party candidates. That means that instead of campaigning based on who is contributing the most money, candidates can focus on the issues. If there are problems with minor parties getting access to public financing, we can fix those through legislation. We should not, however, throw out the entire clean elections system because of minor party issues. We are already halfway through the 2010 election cycle, and jettisoning the entire public financing system now would cause chaos for candidates for the General Assembly and Constitutional offices next year. It would also allow contributions from lobbyists and contractors back into state campaigns, which is exactly what we don’t want. I am committed to clean elections and public financing, and I believe our system is a model for the entire nation. I for one refuse to let this one ruling overturn all the progress we have made in cleaning up our political procress.”
News release from Mayor Finch
Mayor Urges Caution as Area Prepares for Tropical Storm Danny
BRIDGEPORT, Conn. (August 28, 2009) – Mayor Bill Finch urges city residents to exercise caution as Tropical Storm Danny approaches the New England coastline beginning Friday evening through Saturday.
“Current weather reports indicate that the storm should skirt the Connecticut coastline, but significant rainfall may cause street flooding. I urge residents to listen to weather reports, and keep flashlights and batteries handy in case of power outages,” said Mayor Bill Finch.
The City of Bridgeport’s Emergency Operations Center maintains constant communications with the State of Connecticut Emergency Operations Center and other local coastal emergency centers to ensure that if a hurricane were to impact the state, the City of Bridgeport and surrounding towns are prepared.
In case of a public works emergency, such as downed trees, residents can call 211.
See Hurricane Preparedness Tips below.
Before A Hurricane:
· Know your community’s flood and hurricane zones.
· Prepare disaster supply kits and family plans, including a communication plan in the event you are separated.
· Stay tuned to local media for emergency instructions and reports.
· Make sure to contact your insurance provider to find out if your property is covered by flood and hurricane insurance. If you are a renter or a college student living in a dorm we recommend purchasing Renters Insurance to cover any loss or damages.
· Plan a location that you, your family and your pet(s) will go in the event an evacuation is ordered. Remember emergency shelters do not allow pets due to health regulations.
· Bring in all outside furniture or tie it down.
· Board up or tape all windows, if possible.
· Remove all valuables or documents from the basement area and place them in the higher levels of your property.
· Make sure you have enough money, gas in your vehicle and all pertinent medications if ordered to evacuate or shelter in place.
· Make arrangements with your health and medical provider if you or your family has any Special Needs for evacuation options or alternate locations, if evacuation is ordered.
· Emergency evacuation routes, evacuation times and emergency shelter locations will be disseminated to those areas at risk prior to a Hurricane so listen to your local media for emergency instructions and alerts.
During a Hurricane
· Stay indoors if not ordered to evacuate your area or home.
· Do not get fooled by the calm of the wind, it could be the eye of the storm and winds will come again.
· Avoid using the telephone except for emergencies only. This will help keep lines open for others in need of assistance.
· If ask to do so, shut off all utilities for the safety of you, your family and emergency responders.
· Be aware of storm surges. Flooding may develop quickly, so prepare to evacuate if flooding begins to take place in your area.
After a Hurricane
· Local emergency officials will instruct the community if it is safe to reenter your area or home.
· If your area has been damaged, local officials will instruct you and your family on what to do, who to call and where to go.
· If allowed to go back to your home, remove all valuables and assemble a damage assessment of your home and property by taking pictures, video and writing descriptions.
· Contact a family member or friend if your home is unlivable to see if you can stay with them, or assistance will be provided.
What Happened To The Audit?
What’s going on with the comprehensive audit of the Board of Education? Paul Timpanelli, president of the Bridgeport Regional Business Council that is administering the process, provides an update from his Timpanelli Topics column that he e-blasts to business council members:
Although our work has not proceeded on our originally intended calendar, we have made real progress. The first two phases of the work to bring greater financial accountability and transparency, as well as operational efficiencies to the Bridgeport school system, have been completed. On September 15th, after receiving the go-ahead from the Board of Education, we will be advertising for consultant services to enable us to undertake an operational and management scan of the school system. The intention of that phase is to uncover opportunities for increased operational and management efficiencies that might exist. If those are uncovered to any great extent, with the added approval of the Board of Education, we will then proceed to do a full and complete operational and management review of the school system – the first such undertaking not only in Bridgeport but in the entire State of Connecticut.
If we do this well, the Bridgeport school system will be put on the map (we have already been recognized by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce for the uniqueness of our work here) and the Bridgeport Board of Education will hopefully be able to focus more of their limited resources where it counts – in the classroom where it has a direct impact on improving educational outcomes. That, of course, is the ultimate goal of this work – producing students that are better prepared for succeeding in life and performing in the jobs of the future. If we succeed at this, Bridgeport area businesses will have better employees and greater productivity.