Tax remark draws Black Rock ire

Published on April 17, 2012 by

While scattershooting around the Park City, here are a few nuggets I found that may have aroused some interest since the last time I, well, scattershot.

In an otherwise innocuous puff piece about Mayor Bill Finch’s brown bag lunches with residents, Connecticut Post reporter Tim Loh caught the mayor making an offhand and ill-conceived remark that is sure to raise the ire of almost every resident in a particular Bridgeport neighborhood.

While responding to a constituent upset because they had an overdue tax bill, Finch opined that Bridgeport residents don’t have a “bad deal” when it comes to taxes. Finch then noted how waterfront homes in Black Rock that are worth $900,000 would be $3.5 million if they had been built in Westport. His Honor then went on to say, “They (read: Black Rockers) have got to stop complaining about their taxes.” Come again?

I guess Black Rock residents should be so overjoyed with the quality of their schools and city services that they should be singing the praises of the mayor, thus not having any time whatsoever to carp about their tax bills. I guess everyone who lives in that eclectic seaside community should be thrilled that an armed robbery that occurred last week in the Garden Apartments in the heart of Black Rock was reported and drew zero police response. That’s right: No response whatsoever. And that tidbit comes from a resident who is a police officer in a nearby community.

It appears many residents feel differently than Finch believes they should. For example, imagine the nerve of this Black Rock homeowner and parent who said, “Hey, I wouldn’t complain about my taxes if I could send my kids to school here. If we had decent schools, I wouldn’t complain.” Obviously, this taxpayer is nothing if not tacky.

But don’t worry, Mr. Mayor. Those complaints will be dying down soon as the disgruntled taxpayers of Black Rock continue leaving the city in droves. Where are they going? I don’t know, but my guess is probably Westport.

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Speaking of the mayor’s brown bag lunch program, I firmly believe this is an excellent idea. Former Westport First Selectman Diane Farrell used to hold them regularly and they were always popular, attracting a healthy number of Westporters to each session.

The sessions provide for a healthy and civil exchange of ideas in a relaxed environment, and often good ideas arise from these informal meetings held over a sandwich and a soda. Just because Finch shot his mouth off and then inserted his foot in said mouth does not mean the program does not have value. Nice job Mr. Finch!

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I read with interest an article submitted last week by Sharon Miles, the press person for AccuWeather and I couldn’t help smiling to myself as I perused its contents.

I mean come on. 25 DAYS? Are you #%&*@!-ing kidding me? Those eight-day forecasts that television radio stations are always touting are wrong. Or in politically correct terms: always inaccurate. No, check that. Always wrong.

If you happen to listen or watch local media, and I myself certainly do, then you know all the weathermen. Oh, excuse me, I mean chief meteorologists. That’s quite an accomplishment when you have to oversee an entire staff of one. But I digress. What these people generally accomplish is scaring the bejeezus out of Bridgeporters whenever there is a hint of snow in the air. And once the weather people are finished wailing and gnashing their teeth, then all havoc breaks loose.

Everyone and their brother has to run out to their local grocery store and buy more bread and milk than they have in a year. And then when we get the ½ inch of precipitation on the ground, we are awash in sour milk and stale bread and the convenience store owners are laughing all the way to the bank.

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Finally, let’s bid a fond farewell to the Bridgeport News, which will now only appear online, if at all. This is no surprise. Bridgeporters should have seen it coming when the publisher, Marty Hersam of Hersam-Acorn, removed “Bridgeport” from the heading and began calling the paper the generic title “The News.” At the same time, the Bridgeport News stopped serving the city as a whole and focused only on Black Rock and the North End.

This is a disgrace and Hersam-Acorn is the poster child for companies that are run by idiots. Maybe I’m prejudiced because I was the editor of the Bridgeport News for five years. Back then it served the entire city and not just an exclusive few. It was also a hard-hitting, full-bodied newspaper that was opinionated, informative and fun to read.

R.I.P. Bridgeport News.