Regarding sale of Bridgeport’s Sikorsky Airport: This latest, criminally-stupid divestment of an extremely valuable Bridgeport asset by the Ganim Administration is testimony to Ganim Administration chronic short-sightedness, incompetence and reptilian sensibilities and morals/ethics — exhibited over two such administrations over a period of 30 years.
Certainly, a square mile of land on Long Island Sound, in Fairfield County, is worth several times more than $10 Million — for any commercial use, including as an airport!
To be able to divest the citizens of the City of Bridgeport of such an asset, sans referendum, is indicative of extreme structural deficiency in Bridgeport government requiring a major study and charter revision initiative. (And where is the state Department of Economic Community Development and the governor’s office in this situation? Shouldn’t they be trying to keep Bridgeport’s economic assets and prerogatives intact? And our general assembly delegation and the rest of the GA?)
The Ganim Administration has led in the deconstruction of Bridgeport. And the state has been just too eager in its complicity, in this regard. Connecticut has been building Stamford for the past 60 years, using the other nearby urban centers — especially Bridgeport — “ for parts.”
Need a juvenile jail in Fairfield County — put it in Bridgeport… Need a solid waste recycling center, including incinerator — put it in Bridgeport…. Need workforce housing, with all of the associated infrastructure and social-needs expense — put it in Bridgeport.
What did you say? Bridgeport needs a serious sum of money from the state for economic development pursuits? Forget about it! Sell a park or an airport — or raise taxes on your captive, residential audience… (But, in the meantime, give $500 million to Hartford to make sure that Gold Coast Boy, Luke Bronin, doesn’t look absolutely ineffectual as mayor…)
So, the blame for the dysfunction and decay of the state’s largest city can be squarely laid at the governor’s and legislature’s doorstep — both of which, for 60 years, have seen fit to appease the Connecticut oligarchy and build Stamford at Bridgeport’s expense, using Bridgeport for “spare parts,” while ignoring the oversight and real-assistance needs of the state’s largest city in a deliberate, premeditated manner, all too happy to have complicit, cooperative administrations at the helm in Bridgeport City Hall.
The voters of Bridgeport and the rest of Connecticut who have the vision to realize the potential value of a socioeconomically vibrant Bridgeport to the future of the state should take the treatment of Bridgeport as the state’s intellectually- and ethically-challenged, bastard-stepchild municipality into account when they are making choices for their legislative and gubernatorial representation in the upcoming elections. They should remember that Bridgeport’s general health reflects the health of the rest of the state and is indicative of the future of the Connecticut.
If the people of Bridgeport, and the rest of the state, realized that the state’s current economic development policy(ies) — favoring the overdevelopment of the historical transportation-bottleneck of the southwest corner of the state, over a more distributed development of the state by way of utilization of natural/extant assets that favored historical, statewide economic health and vibrancy — has led to a state that is still last in the nation in job development, urban economic progress, and property-tax reform, with much of the state still experiencing a middle-class/young-professional exodus, we would have a much different composition of the general assembly, Governor’s Office, and operative economic development policy(ies) (including an actual statewide plan of economic development).
It is time for big political changes in Bridgeport, and at a statewide level. Is it possible for Bridgeport and the rest of the state to muster the political savvy and will to bring indicated change to Bridgeport City Hall and Hartford in the upcoming elections? So far, in this election cycle(s), it wouldn’t seem so…
Jeff Kohut lives in Bridgeport.