Mayoral candidates: What are your solutions to our problems?

Published on May 12, 2011 by

Talk is cheap. Anyone with a lot of money, a movie star smile, a sharp suit and a great line of promises wants to be the Mayor of Bridgeport. Our voters have been falling for that line for 30 years and this year’s crop, including the current Mayor, are not any different.

Let us change the rules of the game. I challenge all the candidates to a game of chicken. I will tell you HOW I will fix the problems before the primary and the challengers have to come up with their concrete solutions for our most pressing problems. We can do it in debates, in our articles in the media, in our meetings with the public and in our advertising. The person with the best ideas will win the loyalty of the voters on Election Day.

Since I have been here in Bridgeport helping people for 40 years, let us start with asking the candidates to document the ways they have helped many Bridgeport residents without asking for payment. For the last 8 years, I have attended almost every meeting about issues important to our communities and went out of my way to find solutions for people’s problems. If you look at my list of achievements, you will see that I have delivered. What have the other candidates done?

Our most serious problems are Jobs, Housing, Energy, Education and Taxes. Promising to fix these problems flows out of my competitors mouths like water running down hill.

I, Charlie Coviello, have been working on implementing real solutions for these problems and here is what I have put in motion without city money, government involvement, or committee approvals.

Worked with Urban Hydroponics, LLC to develop a fresh vegetable production facility that will produce affordable nutritious salad vegetables year round and available the day after picking. The project will produce over 300 jobs for our residents.

Contributed to recently announced Swedish Waste Energy initiative to lower energy costs and revive our business base by developing an Energy efficiency district for Bridgeport.
Contributed to the development of a new fiber optic system that will significantly lower the cost of internet access for business and residential users.
Developed a real business friendly environment and appropriate services that will attract new business and jobs to Bridgeport.
Together with Barry Piesner, Mortgage Expert, I have been negotiating with The National Mortgage Bankers Association, HUD and numerous private lending groups to assemble a program of special financing for people who are at risk to lose their homes due to imminent foreclosure. The objective of these special programs will be to use the funds HUD provides the city to help people in trouble. Where the city received $6 million and restored 40 homes, we will be able to use the same amount to assist an estimated 1500 residents who qualify. We have to help as many people as we can with the limited assets available to us.

In coordination with Urban Waste Energy Consortium, a European state of the art Technology is now available for Bridgeport to be the first American model of a system that will capture waste heat, generate low cost energy and heating for our business and residential communities. Without spending one cent on oil or gas.

Our total educational system needs to be rebuilt around the needs of our community, not the needs of the administrators. The process for electing members of the Board Of Education has to be taken out of the hands of the politicians. As Mayor, I will make significant alterations to the way we administer the affairs of teaching our children. As a former teacher, I will not tolerate the disaster that has afflicted our children at the hands of the current school officials.

Create a long term plan based on creating new revenue sources for the city to take the burden off our city’s taxing structure for the residential property owners. These revenue sources will be driven by:

1. New business coming to Bridgeport
2. The increased value of discretionary income created by the jobs our new business will produce
3. New real estate tax revenue that will allow the city to to improve services to our residents
4. Access fees for new business services that the city will provide for commercial clients
Specific descriptions of my solutions will be posted monthly leading up to the primary election on September 13th. I will not make any vague or ambiguous statements about my plans. They will be in plain English and easy to understand.
When someone runs for office, making a blanket statement that they will bring jobs to Bridgeport by bringing investors here to revive the economy is a fantasy. It shows a total lack of understanding of the underlying problems that Bridgeport has with its 50 year old, and failing, infrastructure. Our sewer treatment plant needs $200 million just to be functional without adding any other volume, like the Mayor’s proposed sewer connection deal with Trumbull and Monroe. How can we add more volume when our two existing plants are unable to handle the treatment of the current volume?

Any suggestions candidates?
We have bridges that do not work, roads that are a mess and now we have  a proposal by the Mayor for a water taxi for Pleasure Beach, when operational, will not be usable by the general population because there are no bathrooms over there. Our city is filled with 100 year old factories that have been sitting abandoned for 50 years or more and most of our vacant land is highly polluted and unusable.

Our communications technology is 40 years old, our energy costs are unaffordable for residential and business users alike. The big communications monopolies will not invest in Bridgeport to expand these vital services because Bridgeport is a declining market. This is because our leadership is undisciplined and ineffective. We are basically unable to compete with any of our neighboring municipalities for potential employers.

Guess what? The residents already know this. The other candidates on their web sites and advertising say, “I will solve all of our problems, just elect me”, even though it is obvious that they don’t have any ideas for viable solutions. Haven’t we heard this before? Until they get elected.

I have spent 20 years studying the issues in Bridgeport by doing one thing; I listen to our people and follow their suggestions. Our best solutions are not from our city officials, managers and consultants like the out of town people Finch, Gomes and Foster are touting. They are certainly not with big project developers like the team from Miami who have tied up Steel Point’s potential with 20 years of unfulfilled promises.

 We have nothing to show so far from Steel Point other than a cheap fence and $5 Million worth of uncollected IOU’s as a down payment on the dream without an ending. What about the estimated $30 million in lost real estate taxes and unearned interest that would have been collected on the homes the city knocked down? This money could have lowered our tax burden.

I have a reputation for being open and honest about what I believe can be accomplished. If the residents want a mayor who makes things happen, they will vote for me. If they want empty promises, vote for one of the other candidates. They are interchangeable.

Charlie Coviello
Candidate for Mayor