Mayor touts successes, future goals

Mayor touts successes, future goals

Posted in the Trumbull Forum


Matawan, NJ

#1 Mar 11, 2014
BRIDGEPORT -- He's got $137,226 in his 2015 re-election fund, and now Mayor Bill Finch is honing his pitch.

"With a good conscience our only sure reward, with history the final judge of our deeds, let us go forth to lead the City of Bridgeport we love," Finch told business leaders, assorted city personnel and political insiders Tuesday.

For anyone who knows the idealistic, passionate, stubborn and sometimes prickly Finch, the repurposed quote from President John F. Kennedy's inaugural address was a perfect way to wrap-up this year's state-of-the-city speech.

It at once was a call to move forward and a message to critics who challenge his motives.

"Are we in good conscience creating a city where our kids and our grand kids will choose to live, work and raise their families?" Finch said. "The answer to that question is yes."

The mayor, who has been raising campaign cash for a year, was mum on when he will formally announce his bid for a third-term. But he made the case for one Tuesday, as did some of his allies.

John Stafstrom, a mover-and-shaker in local and state Democratic politics, introduced Finch.

"He's still a liberal, but maybe is not as true a liberal as he used to be," Stafstrom joked, noting the difference between a politician and a chief executive who has to manage a city.

Stafstrom credited Finch as "somebody who really has maintained and restored the stability and civility of this community" since the then-state Senator was first elected mayor in 2007.

Referring to Bridgeport's past reputation for corruption, Stafstrom added, "There's no pay-to-play in Bridgeport."

But plenty of companies and individuals doing business with the administration have been pumping contributions into Finch's campaign coffers for the past year, including Stafstrom's law firm.

The state-of-the-city lunch was co-sponsored by the Bridgeport & Port Jefferson Ferry, whose owners gave $4,000 to the mayor. The administration recently abandoned opposition to the ferry's move across the harbor.

Finch's allies have for months privately said the mayor -- who potentially may face a primary next year -- needs to show more progress by 2015 if he expects voters to hire him for another four years.

Some of the accomplishments Finch talked about Tuesday were recycled from prior state-of-the-city addresses: The merger of the school security department with the police department; engineering and design firm Fletcher-Thompson's return to offices downtown; the ongoing effort to build an East Side train station.

Again Finch mentioned plans to reopen Pleasure Beach peninsula to tourists, although that appears to be finally scheduled for this spring after some delays.

The mayor Tuesday also touted his administration's success moving the long dormant Steel Point redevelopment forward, but he was a bit more cautious this year about the timeline.

In 2013 Finch said, "We expect (the) first anchor tenant, Bass Pro Shops, to break ground this year."

The state is still finalizing millions-of-dollars of economic aid for Bass Pro. So Finch instead talked about that money and the ongoing roadwork and other infrastructure improvements to prepare the Steel Point site.

Two pages of the mayor's five-and-a-half page speech were dedicated to his continued efforts to make Bridgeport a leader in the green economy by luring businesses with an environmental-bent to the city. There's a mattress recycler, the world's second largest fuel cell, a company that turns old tires into pavement, one that recycles cooking grease into diesel fuel, and a third that runs its fleet of trucks on natural gas.

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Since: Mar 11

Location hidden

#2 Mar 11, 2014
What they are doing to property owners in Black Rock is reason enough to get rid of the entire gang at city hall. Then throw in the open corruption of the driveway affair….

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