June 29, 2007

Zoppo unveils campaign website

Press release from Ellen Zoppo:

Ellen Zoppo-Sassu, a Democrat running for Mayor, announced today that she has created a campaign website at
"With more and more people getting their news from the internet, we wanted to maximize our exposure and give people an opportunity to get information in a way that is convenient for them," stated Zoppo-Sassu. "The site will be updated on a very regular basis
Featuring various scenes from Bristol across the top of the various pages, the website also offers biographical information on candidates, campaign event information, a photo gallery, press releases and news, and the opportunity to register to vote by linking and downloading forms. The website also features several of the announced candidates for City Council including incumbents Craig Minor and Kevin McCauley, as well as Council hopefuls Cliff Block and Rich Kilby in District 1, and Bruce Lydem, who has announced his intentions to run for the District 2 seat being vacated by Zoppo-Sassu.
Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

June 22, 2007

Minutes for Federal Hill revitalization committee

Neighborhood Revitalization Committee Meeting Minutes from May 30,2007

Attendees: David Fortier, Detective Bill Kenney, Francine Petosa, Jessica Dumont, Bonnie Lodovico, Debie Alos, Susan Roesch, Pat Marchand, Ken Hicks, Mark Federchuck, Michelle Curry, Ed D’Amato, Olare Swe’va, Councilperson Craig Minor

Call to Meeting: Meeting was called to order by Library Board Chair David Fortier at 5:35PM

New Business
Opened the meeting with talk led by Pat Marchand of the Bristol Garden Club. Ms. Marchand provided practical advice on urban landscape improvements. Some suggestions were for container planting and perennial planting suggestions. One notable suggestion for possible future neighborhood event is a “plant swap” whereby neighbors swap perennial plantings when they thin-out their garden beds. Ms. Marchand finished the talk with a question/answer period.

Report from Councilperson Minor was given on the status of the Main Street streetscape proposal. He reported that the Board of Finance approved the funding for the design of a new streetscape. He added that this is a very hopeful sign that the actual work will be approved eventually. The plan as it stands will only reach up Main St. as far as the library. A discussion ensued on the possibility of requesting approval for a design that would include the remainder of Main up to Center St. Chairman Dave Fortier offered to write a letter to request consideration for such a plan. It was suggested to Sue Roesch that The Federal Hill Association may also send a letter. PC Tech owner, Ken Hicks, asked about angle parking and plans for community parking of some type to encourage people to use the Main St. businesses. He was told by Councilperson Minor that parking would be in the plan but angle parking may not be feasible given the width of the street.

Old Business
267-269 Main St. property and HUD status was discussed. Jessica Dumont provided a link to Multi-Family Clearing House at http://www.hud.gov/offices/hsg/mfh/hc/mfhc.cfm as suggested by Noel Miller at HUD’s legal department. Mr. Swe’va, the manager of the property, was in attendance and offered that he and the owners continue to work on improving the property and cooperating with the Bristol Police Department.
Police call procedures were discussed. Ken Hicks relayed a good response to a call into the police department. Michelle Curry reported a disappointing response to a suspected break-in of her car. Detective Kenney spoke with the group on calling back into the police department when you do not get an initial response. He reiterated Captain McIntyre’s advice to ask for the shift manager if it does not appear that your complaint is not responded to in a timely manner.
Chamber’s Clean-Up Day was discussed. Sue Roesch reported a response of 12-13 people, most of whom were Federal Hill Association members. She further reported that the brick building at 165 Riverside Ave had the largest problem with litter. Ocean State Job Lot and McDonald’s have both appeared to have improved their efforts to keep their properties/parking lots litter free. David Fortier offered to send them a thank-you in recognition of responsible property upkeep.
City of Bristol garbage cans request was discussed. Jessica Dumont enquired of Sue Roesch the addresses where there might be the greatest need. Sue responded that the convenience store on High Street was a good candidate for the garbage can request, pending owner agreement. She will report back with owner response. Jessica Dumont agreed to write the letter to the Public Works requesting a garbage can for that corner and for the corner of the 165 Riverside Ave property.
The status of the missing fence panel located on Bristol Public Library property bordering the property directly behind the library. Dave Fortier reported that this issue had been referred to the Property Committee of the Library Board for consideration.

Any other matters

Litter prevention signs were discussed. The merits of a reminder sign as opposed to a sign warning of fines were discussed. Detective Bill Kenney said that those signs would have to be requested from the Public Works not the Police Department. Det. Kenney also made the interesting suggestion of “Adopt a Neighborhood” idea. Perhaps a more positive and more effective way to get residents to treat the downtown area with respect.
Captain McIntyre reiterated the police department’s commitment to public safety. He went on to outline the importance of giving the police detailed information on any suspect persons, if possible, to keep the dispatcher on the line until police arrive.
Police bike patrols are scheduled to begin in May.

Next meeting is scheduled for June 27, 2007 at 5:30

Meeting was adjourned at 6:30

Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

Don Soucy posing with his fish

That's the biggest cold fish I've seen since Nixon's presidency.

Copyright 2007. All rights reserved.
Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

Mayor, council still clashing on mall

Mayor: councilors' snub of Ocean State deal delayed progress

'No confidence' didn't help mayor's mall cause

Also of note in today's paper:

West End school committee moves forward

Copyright 2007. All rights reserved.
Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

June 21, 2007

Fortier gets probation in cat killing

The Associated Press has the story of what happened in court today.

BRISTOL, Conn. -- A former city animal control officer who drowned an injured cat in March was sentenced Thursday to 18 months of probation after pleading guilty to an animal cruelty charge.
Superior Court Judge Joseph Doherty also ordered Norman Fortier Jr. to perform 100 hours of community service and pay a $500 fine as well as court costs. If Fortier violates his probation, he would face up to six months in prison.
Fortier declined to comment when the judge asked him if he wanted to say anything in the courtroom.
Prosecutor Steven Preleski said Fortier deserved to be punished, and added that the drowning may have been a "misguided attempt" to end the animal's suffering. Doherty said that while Fortier may have had good intentions, he violated police department policies by not bringing the cat to a veterinarian.
"You made a judgment that should have been made by someone else," Doherty told Fortier. "It's a very upsetting scenario."
On March 31, several people called Bristol police to report an injured animal that may have been hit by a car. The cat was bleeding and limp when it was found by Fortier.
Police say Fortier put an animal snare around the cat and drowned it in a bucket of water at the city's pound, while an animal control officer from neighboring Plymouth looked on.
Fortier resigned on April 20 shortly before a disciplinary hearing, amid the police investigation.
Fortier cannot work in any job that involves caring for animals, under the terms of his probation.

Let's not forget exactly what happened with this case. Here are the stories that Jackie Majerus and I wrote to break the news of this back in April:

Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

New tax collector?

Just recently, the four-year term of city Tax Collector Mildred Funk came to an end.
As city councilors considered her reappointment, Mayor William Stortz declared, "We're going to make a change."
And the council proceeded to back, unanimously, the appointment of Mildred Parks as tax collector until June 2011.
Of course, it's the same person. Since her last appointment, Funk married Mike Parks, a Bristol Development Authority housing rehab expert.
Best wishes to them both.

Copyright 2007. All rights reserved.
Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

Really fed up

Ipswich Road resident Louis Michaud isn't one to keep his opinions to himself.
He's a frequent speaker at city meetings, often expressing his frustration at the way City Hall is handling, well, just about everything.
At one recent session, he got behind the podium and declared that if the City Council doesn't change "I'm going to tear my house down" board by board, haul the debris to the dump and donate the land to a church "so you people won't get a dime" in property taxes on the property forevermore.

Copyright 2007. All rights reserved.
Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

Poor Ed Swicklas

City Park Director Ed Swicklas said that when he started working in the parks he had a full head of dark hair and a skip in his step.
But they're long gone. His hair's turning gray and he's dragging.
"I'm 52 and I feel like I'm 100," he said recently. "I live at this place."
Swicklas said the whole department has "just out there going crazy" trying to deal with all seasonal needs while understaffed.
Perhaps it'll ease up on him soon.
After getting by without an assistant director for a few months, Swicklas recently promoted Jason Krueger, who was in charge of the Malone Aquatic Center, to fill the job.
Krueger's balding a bit so Swicklas said he'll have no excuse later in life for whatever happens to his hair.

Copyright 2007. All rights reserved.
Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

Sit right back and you'll hear a tale...

Anyone of my generation knows better than to get on a small fishing boat for a short cruise because there's always chance that it will prove a fateful trip and the tiny craft will be tossed up on an uncharted island.
But Frank Johnson, the city's zoning kingpin, and Don Soucy, who heads the Little League empire on Mix Street, are either a little too old or the Tao of Gilligan didn't sink in.
The pair chartered a boat yesterday to go fishing out on Long Island Sound.
Johnson said he caught a couple of modest-sized fish - which proves he's no fisherman, since ALL fish are big - but Soucy came up with a 45-pound sea bass that's "enough meat for a month."
There were four out-of-towners aboard as well, but who cares about them?
The whole thing, though, does raise the question of what would have happened if the vessel had run up onto an unnoticed Thimble Island and the passengers and crew had been left to their own wits to survive.
Would Johnson have been Gilligan or the Professor? Would Soucy be the Skipper or Mr. Howell? And who would have been Ginger or Mary Ann? Maybe that last question is best not asked.
In any case, I'm guessing that a modern-day shipwreck with these guys aboard would have been more like "Lost" than "Gilligan's Island."
Or perhaps it would have turned out like a real-life game of "Survivor" with only one guy standing when the Coast Guard finally showed up to rescue them. Would Soucy or Johnson wind up on top?

Copyright 2007. All rights reserved.
Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

Another press release from Stortz...


Bristol, CT, June 21, 2007 – In a prepared release, Mayor William T. Stortz announced that the City of Bristol had entered into a retail electric supply agreement through the CCM Energy Purchasing Program.
“Within the context of our efforts to reduce costs, the City Council, after receiving and analyzing competitive bids, approved a contract that will provide cost savings in the short term and at the same time provide long term stability in what is a very volatile market.
Initial indications are that we will realize savings of over $25,000 in the first six months, and ever substantially higher savings during the life of the contract.
Collectively, the City Council is aware of rising costs in all areas and the resultant impact on our budget. We do work to keep costs under control, and as manifested by the .5 mill increase this year, have done quite well despite ever-increasing utility, fuel, and healthcare costs. We will continue to look for additional ways to save so that the taxpayers will benefit.”

Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

Had Stortz prevailed, would the mall be down yet?

There will be more on this in a news story soon, but Mayor William Stortz said this week that had the council backed the negotiated deal he made with Ocean State back in March, he’s confident the city would be tearing down the mall instead of waiting, watching and wondering.
“In my mind, I believe that if the council had taken the deal, the mall would be under demolition by now,” the mayor said.
“Speculation at best,” fired back city Councilor Art Ward, a Democrat running for mayor.
Another Democratic mayoral contender, city Councilor Ellen Zoppo, said she is not sure how Stortz can say the mall would be demolished if the “sweetheart deal” had been approved given that “two environmental remediation contracts have been gathering dust for weeks, and the time frame for remediation is months, not weeks.”
City Councilor Craig Minor said that even if the council had backed the settlement, Stortz “would have found some other excuse to delay knocking it down, because his goal is to leave Bristol in November exactly the way he found it two years ago.”

Copyright 2007. All rights reserved.
Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

June 20, 2007

Route 72 and other stories in Press today

Plus here are a couple of what we in the business call sidebars that may be in the paper or may not be:
Work will be speedy
Instead of the three year schedule that transportation officials had eyed for the massive road project, it appears the work could be done in a comparatively swift 19 months, officials said Tuesday.
Ralph Carpenter, the state’s transportation commissioner, said plans call for the contractor to complete the job in 19 months, though weather is bound to play a role.
“We’ll jump right on it,” said Carpenter, a Bristol native who is eager to see the new road built.
Carpenter said that construction should begin in late summer or early fall and follow “a pretty aggressive schedule” so that it can be done in the spring of 2009.
That news had city leaders beaming.
State Sen. Tom Colapietro, a Bristol Democrat who represents the 31st District, said that during construction, traffic is “going to be a real nightmare.”
The faster it’s done, many officials said, the better. – Steve Collins

Not a highway
Though government officials and reporters who are unfamiliar with the details habitually call the project a highway, it’s not the sort of limited access expressway that the word conjures up.
The new road features a sunken, boulevard-type street slicing through a residential section between Route 372 in Plainville and Yarde’s Pond, which is beside the commuter lot on Todd Street where Rell spoke Tuesday. Parts of it will be as much as 17 feet beneath the surface.
But after that section, the four-lane road will follow the existing right of way on Pine Street before crossing a new Pequabuck River bridge in order to align directly with Riverside Avenue.
Ten intersections with traffic lights are included along the new road
Though the new section of road will be formally designated a state highway, so is the existing Route 72 that snakes through Forestville and crosses under the railroad bridge on Route 229.
The existing Route 72 in eastern Bristol will ultimately be turned over to the city’s care, just another municipal road to pave in years ahead. – Steve Collins
Also, don't miss:

Copyright 2007. All rights reserved.
Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

June 19, 2007

What would you tell our graduating seniors tonight?

As Eastern and Central hold their respective graduation ceremonies -- congratulations to all of them, especially Jen Plonski! -- let's consider what they should hear as they leave high school behind and head out into the rest of the world. What would you tell them?

Copyright 2007. All rights reserved.
Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

Minor calls for police substation

Dear [Police] Commissioners,
As one of the two city councilmembers who represent the Main Street neighborhood on Federal Hill, I ask the Police Commission to endorse the concept of locating a Police sub-station on Main Street.
Police sub-stations have been used with much success in many cities in Connecticut and across the country. Although not typically staffed 24 hours a day, the presence of a sub-station sends a message to residents and merchants: your elected officials will do everything we can to make your streets safe. It also sends a message to individuals who might be thinking about committing a crime: not in this neighborhood!
Police sub-stations can also provide local businesses with an opportunity to form partnerships with the Police Department. In Bristol, a property management company and the Bristol Hospital have both offered to donate space on or near Main Street for a sub-station. As an urban planner by training I believe that the Funck Building on the corner of Main Street and Prospect is preferable to the apartment building at 12 Summer Street. Although only a couple hundred feet from the Summer Street site, the Funck Building is more accessible, more visible, and more compatible with the surrounding uses. It is commercial space now, whereas the Summer Street building is an apartment building and putting the sub-station there would reduce the amount of moderate income housing in the neighborhood.
Police sub-stations are a cost-effective way to suppress crime and to show a town's commitment to neighborhood preservation. I strongly encourage you to endorse this concept.Thank you for your consideration.
Craig Minor

Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

Rell comes to Bristol

By the time Gov. Jodi Rell arrived in Bristol, about 15 reporters and photographers were ready for her in the commuter lot on Todd Street, where aides had set up a podium flanked by the Connecticut and American flags.
But almost none of them cared a whit about the Route 72 project that Rell had come to Bristol to tout.
They came instead to quiz the governor about the tentative budget deal that Rell worked out Monday evening with Democratic leaders - a deal she didn't seem to know a whole lot about.
She couldn't answer, for example, whether the UConn Medical Center bailout was part of the deal. She seemed shaky on what elements of her health care initiative were included. She said the numbers generally were being firmed up today by others.
I thought it was funny when a woman reporter from Channel 61 got a little irked with a male reporter from one of the other stations (I never see any of these people on tv because I never watch tv, so I have no idea who any of them are, although I'd seen the guy around in the Capitol before.)
Oh, well. That wasn't why I was there in the parking lot anyway.
It's the first time I've seen Rell in Bristol in a long time, probably since her days as lieutenant governor, when she popped in with some frequency, having little else to do.
She's moved up in the world.
She got out of her car carrying a Blackberry, but not paying attention to it. After hugging various dignitaries and smoozing for a bit with local delegates, she made for the podium, then stopped.
Turning to an aide, Rell said, "I don't know why I'm carrying this Blackberry. It's been attached to me for the last three years."
All I could think about was: she's been hauling around a Blackberry for three years and doesn't know why?
But I snapped out of it to record what little was said about the Route 72 project, which was so minimal that nobody there knew for certain who the contractor for the $53 million project was going to be. It's Manafort Brothers, from New Britain, in case anyone else cares.
On Wednesday morning, I'll post links here to the stories I wrote for tomorrow's paper, if there are any online then, or I'll paste in the texts. It's big, big news for Bristol.
Proving that I still feel competitive, even when there's no real competition, I'm glad I got the story into today's paper.

Copyright 2007. All rights reserved.
Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

Rell backs $53 million Route 72 project

Governor Rell Announces Funding for Route 72 Extension in Bristol
$10.7 Million Will Move Long-Awaited Project Forward

Governor M. Jodi Rell today announced that $10.7 million for a long-awaited four-lane extension of Route 72 in Bristol is expected to be approved when the State Bond Commission meets on June 29th. Approval of these state funds will leverage about $40 million in federal funds for the project.
"The wait is over and Route 72 will finally be a reality,"
Governor Rell said. "Extending Route 72 will not only help central Connecticut commuters, it will provide a strong boost to economic development for the City of Bristol and it will help local downtown merchants and companies along this corridor. The link between transportation and economic development has never been more important and I look forward to the growth we will encourage with this project."
The project calls for a 2.4 mile, four-lane section of highway extending from Route 372 (the end of the existing Route 72 roadway leading off
I-84 in Plainville) to Middle Street in Bristol. It will include a new bridge over the Pequabuck River and a new pedestrian bridge over the new section of Route 72 near Forest Street. Once construction begins, the project is expected to take about 19 months to complete. The cost is being divided, with 20 percent funded by the state and 80 percent by the federal government.
"By putting this funding in place now, actual construction can begin this summer, and that is very good news for everyone who has waited patiently for this project to be completed," said Bristol Mayor William Stortz. "Route 72 is one of the city's top priorities and it has been a long time coming."
"Projects like these are investments in our communities and in Connecticut's overall economy. A better transportation network means a more attractive place for businesses to expand or relocate," said State Representative William Hamzy (R-78th).
"Cities like Bristol and Plainville will reap dividends from this investment for many years to come and I am pleased that this funding will now be approved," said State Representative Elizabeth Boukus (D-22nd).
"This project will have immediate benefits to area commuters who at long last will see congestion relief due to the extension of the four-lane section of the roadway," said Senator Thomas Colapietro (D-31st). "It has been a long time coming and I am glad it is here."
"I fought for ten years for this project, every since I was elected Mayor," said State Representative Frank Nicastro (D-79th). "It is great news for the entire City, which is the only major city in the state without highway access, and it will make us more attractive to businesses looking to relocate."
"The new pedestrian bridge over the new section of Route 72 near Forest Street will make Bristol a more walk-able, pedestrian-friendly community," said Ron Burns (R-77th).
The State Bond Commission, chaired by Governor Rell, will meet Friday, June 29th, at 10:30 a.m. in the Legislative Office Building adjacent to the State Capitol in Hartford.

Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

A new Tattoo issue online now

For those who don't know, Jackie Majerus and I edit an online, teen-written newspaper called The Tattoo that started in Bristol back in 1994. It's grown by leaps and bounds so that it now has writers and readers all over the world.
Its latest issue is online now, with another Hurricane Katrina journal entry from Samantha Perez, a cartoon from Justin Skaradosky, a heartwarming Father's Day tribute from Bristol's Molly Horan, and newcomer Norman Israel's inaugural piece about future pilot Aaron Gabriel in Jamaica.
If you haven't had a chance to read Samantha Perez's Katrina journal, it's high time that you grab a box of Kleenex and start at the beginning. Perez started writing her online diary for us while the winds were still howling in Louisiana, before she knew that her home was destroyed and her hometown outside of New Orleans almost completely ravaged. Hers is a heartbreaking tale of hope and courage, told with stunning detail and honesty. It's gripping, wonderful writing that takes a monster news event and turns it into something personal and real. You'll never forget it.
That's not to discount the rest, by the way. Horan lets us a see the hero in her quiet, unassuming father. Skaradosky has another terrific cartoon, which looks back to "Simpsons" writer Mike Reiss's recent talk with The Tattoo (catch that one, too, if you missed it the first time around) and Israel adds another installment to our "Introductions" of teens around the world.
You can see it all at www.ReadTheTattoo.com. We hope you'll poke around a bit and see what teens have been writing since our beginning back in 1994. The Center for Parent/Youth Understanding recently called The Tattoo "a widely respected online teen newspaper with writers from around the world," adding that its "site is filled with articles on every topic of interest to teenagers. A great window into the adolescent world and worldview."

Copyright 2007. All rights reserved.
Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

Route 72 to be OK'd

For some reason, the Bristol Press website failed to update overnight, but The New Britain Herald has the story online.

Copyright 2007. All rights reserved.
Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

Graduation? What graduation?

It's that time of year again, when seniors don caps and gowns so they can sweat together through a ceremony they can barely hear in order to get that little piece of paper that attests to the world that they are, sometimes against long odds, high school graduates.
But you wouldn't know it from Bristol's school websites.
On the Board of Education's website, there's apparently nothing at all to indicate when and where graduations take place this week. Ditto for Eastern and Central's websites.
The next upcoming event listed on the district's website is the July 11th Board of Education meeting, which will likely attract at most a half dozen people. But the events Tuesday that will bring out mobs? Not a word.
At Central, they even have a link for Graduation, but all it contains are photographs of past graduations, stopping in 2005. I kind of like the idea of the pictures, but why let these websites languish like this? They're meant to be a source of information, not just a meaningless gesture to show that, yes, we are living in a new technological era and the schools are right there on the web with Google and YouTube.
C'mon, folks, let's get it right. Update the sites. Fill them with information. Make it all USEFUL.
And, by the way, City Hall, someone can take down the upcoming June 9 auction at the mall from the city's home page. It's over.

Copyright 2007. All rights reserved.
Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

June 18, 2007

Gov. Rell coming to Bristol Tuesday

Just got word that Gov. Jodi Rell is going to make "a major announcement concerning Route 72" in Bristol at 12:30 p.m. Tuesday (at the Todd Street commuter lot, for those who might want to hear it for themselves).
Now it doesn't take more than two brain cells rubbing together to know that Rell plans to announce that funding for the long-delayed project is going to happen at last, most likely at this month's State Bond Commission meeting.
I'll be calling around tonight for tomorrow's story that says pretty much this, with lots more background but probably not much more information. But for those who have been waiting, this is good news.
Construction could start this fall.

Copyright 2007. All rights reserved.
Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

Mayor: Social Security office safe for now

Though I'm not sure there's an appreciable difference between what Mayor William Stortz is announcing today and what Jackie Majerus wrote in the Press back in nearly May, here's what the mayor has to say in a new press release:


Bristol, CT, June 18, 2007 - In a prepared release, Mayor William T. Stortz announced that he has received confirmation that any decision on the Bristol Social Security Office will be deferred until later in the year.

Stortz said, “With the combined efforts of Senators Dodd and Lieberman, and Congressman Larson, the SSA is deferring a decision until the new Commissioner can fully evaluate the agency operations.”

“While this does not necessarily mean his decision is final, it does provide more time for all potentially affected citizens to further voice their support for keeping the office open”, said Stortz.

Stortz concluded, “I urge everyone to continue their efforts in contacting your Federal legislators, and the Social Security office. As proven so far, your voice does make a difference.”

# # #

Copyright 2007. All rights reserved.
Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

June 15, 2007

Back and forth on Federal Hill blight, police substation

All of this refers to this story:

What follows are some emailed comments and notes that shed some light on the debate over whether there should be a police substation on Federal Hill, and if so, where. Feel free to comment by clicking on the comment line at the bottom of the posting.

Sept. 7, 2004 email from Michael Cardano, chief financial officer of Bristol Property Management to William Stortz:
Bill, it was a pleasure speaking with you today. Sounds like you have a plan. Please forward me the link to the Federal Hill web site when you get a chance. Thanks again, have a great day.

Sept. 8, 2004 email from William Stortz to Michael Cardano, CFO of Bristol Property Management:
Sorry it took so long to get back to you. Enclosed is the Web Site address.
I will be meeting with some of the residents tonight to see if there is any interest on their part for a joint effort. I will let you know what happens, and since I am not a resident of the Hill, maybe someone else will be the organizer. Will let you know that too.
Quickly, I would like to see the City involved, as well as BPM, the residents (tenants and owners), and maybe some other groups.
There will be some costs involved: copying, maybe mailings, trash bags, coffee etc., and I do not know how the trash pickup might work. Just a heads up.
Will be in touch.
Bill Stortz

Note sent to Mayor William Stortz and the City Council:

August 24, 2006

Mayor T. William Stortz
City Hall
111 North Main St.
Bristol, CT 06010

Dear Mayor Stortz:

In September of 2004 we met at the Bristol Historical Society where my partner Anthony and I volunteered our time to field questions for the residence about both properties we manage and property management by third party landlords in general. That evening you sat in the audience as a past Mayor and concerned civilian looking out for the best interests of the town.

Following that evening you contacted me with a suggestion that we sponsor a Bristol Property Management clean-up day in the Federal Hill area. For whatever reason that never got off the ground, partly I think because you were not a resident of Federal Hill and perhaps couldn’t gain enough support.

Never the less it is two years later and BPM has become a fixture in the city, housing hundreds of Bristol’s citizens. While we operate properties in many surrounding towns most of our roots are in Bristol and Bristol is where we call home. We recently instituted an arrangement with the town of Meriden where we provided rent free space for the Meriden Police Department to place a Sub-Station in one of our buildings in a troubled area of town just yards from Town Hall. We would like to make a similar offer to the town of Bristol.

We would like to offer you retail office space free of charge (you just pay the utilities) at 12 Summer St. (the lower part of Summer St.) which has long been a trouble spot, an area of concern and focus of the town. With the newly renovated library opening up so close by I’m sure you would agree that cleaning up this area would not only great for the homeowners in the area but pleasant change for anyone passing through that part of town so close to Main St. and the newly renovated library. We believe that the presence of the sign alone that the Bristol Police Department resides there would make and keep the area desirable.

We realize that this is not very far from the Police Department but the implementation of the same scenario in Meriden has the Meriden Police Station even closer then yours would be to the Bristol Police Station.

The changes in Meriden have been immediate and drastic, the area has done a 180 degree turn virtually over night with the drugs, prostitution and loitering stopping with just the press that the Police Sub-Station was going to be there. Not only has this caused the esthetics to change but investment by homeowners and business men and women immediately followed piggybacking the momentum created by the initiative.

The town of Meriden and the Meriden Police have committed to the project by staffing the office with two full time officers and the project has been applauded by everyone from the Mayor, the Town Council members, the Police Chief, the citizens and businesspeople in the community. I would venture to say that a permanent solution to a long time problem had been resolved swiftly and with virtually no cost and has been win-win situation for all involved. The owner of the property has already approved this suggestion and we are requesting that you take advantage of this unique opportunity.

For more information on the topic I suggest you contact the various media outlet archives as the topic has received much press from both the Meriden Record Journal and evening news local television newscasts.

Please find below a copy of our July 17th press release. I look forward to hearing from you and discussing this proposed initiative as well as any other ways you believe we may be able to assist in your efforts to have the town of Bristol be the most desirable place to reside it can be.

MERIDEN CT, July 17, 2006 /PRNewswire/ -- Bristol Property Management, LLC is pleased to announce its newest strategic alliance in the central Connecticut region. BPM an industry leader in innovative property management has reached an agreement on behalf of the building’s landlord APB Holdings, LLC with the Meriden Police Department to place a Police sub-station in 80-82 East Main St, Meriden, CT. The downtown commercial landmark, a single structure 2-parcel property managed by BPM known as 72-82 East Main St. is currently being renovated and was purchased 10 months ago under mutual terms between APB Holdings, LLC and Matcher Real Estate Company Connecticut, LLC.

BPM was retained upon purchase by both companies as general contractor to renovate the abandoned apartment parcel located at 72-76 East Main St. and to improve the physical conditions and quality of life for the tenants of the occupied apartment units at 80-82 East Main St. In addition, BPM was awarded the management of both buildings.

According to Michael Cardano, CFO of Bristol Property Management, LLC the joint endeavor reinforces the commitment of both entities to assist in the revitalization of the downtown Meriden area. “This agreement is as important for the town as it is for the landlord. The presence of the Meriden Police Department in such a historic building just yards away from both Meriden Town Hall and from the Hub where the new park at Pratt St. will be created is crucial to the success of the Center City Initiative Project. Chief of Police, Jeffry W. Cossette, Deputy Chief of Police, Steve Legere, Sergeant Salvatore Nesci and the entire Meriden police support staff deserve credit for their proactive development, progressive thinking and cooperation. Mr. Cardano went on to say, “Meriden is known as the “Crossroads of Connecticut.” It’s situated at the convergence of Interstates 691 and 91, the Merritt Parkway and Route 5 and only 20 minutes from both Hartford and New Haven. We think that the town is geographically placed to succeed for our investors and smart decisions by public officials and agency administrators such as this bolster our confidence in investing in the town of Meriden.”

Under the terms of the agreement BPM will construct a new office space with the capabilities of staffing two full time officers.

Adam Frank, managing partner of APB Holdings, LLC added, “We are delighted to hear that the Meriden Police Department will be taking tenancy in our building. We understand that they have made a real commitment to staff the office and think that there are attractive synergies for all interested parties. The recommendation by BPM that we house the Meriden Police Department was unanimously approved. Not only was it the right move for our investors, but we are confident that both the city of Meriden as well as the residing tenants will benefit from this alliance.”

All parties agree that this union will only serve to benefit this region and aid in restoring it to its former grandeur.

In a statement, Chief of Police, Jeffry W. Cossette stated, “The Meriden Police Department has renewed its commitment to the citizens of Meriden by re-establishing the Community Policing Program. The Meriden Police Department has assigned 5 officers and Sgt. Nesci on a full time basis to meet the needs of the communities and address their quality of life concerns. Mike Cardano of Bristol Property Management, LLC approached the Meriden Police Department and offered a store front office to assist us in bringing the Neighborhood Initiative Officers back to the Community that we serve. Bristol Property Management, LLC has committed resources to restore a historic, dilapidated building to a viable and respectable structure within our city. This building sits on the main thoroughfare of our community and is often a first impression to many visitors of our city. The partnership that is formed with BPM and the MPD will benefit not only the immediate area but the entire City as a whole.”
Upon successful implementation BPM plans on striking similar strategic alliances in other municipalities on behalf of its landlords.
About Bristol Property Management, LLC - Bristol Property Management, LLC is a full service property management firm managing residential and commercial multi-family dwellings for its affiliated companies and third party landlords. BPM manages properties for the following companies:
APB Holdings, LLC Harvest Properties 1, LLC
Bristol Residential Properties, LLC HATOV, LLC
CarCam Corp. High Street Properties, LLC
CarCam Properties, LLC. Matcher Real Estate Company Connecticut, LLC
Deforest, LLC McClafferty & Shields Enterprises
EMS Holdings, LLC MJ Investments, LLC
Federal Hill Properties, LLC Prospect Property Management, LLC
Sierra Property Management, LLC
Contact: Michael Cardano, CFO Bristol Property Management, LLC

Press release from Mayor William Stortz on June 14, 2007:

Bristol, CT, June 14, 2007 - In a prepared release, Mayor William T. Stortz announced that he is asking the Police Board to consider a Police Substation in the Federal Hill area.
Owners of Bristol Property Management were once willing to provide space for a possible police substation in the Federal Hill area, to help address some of the issues.
Said Stortz, “I will be meeting with Mr. [Michael] Cordano [of Bristol Property Management] to explore the possibility and discuss other aspects of the concerns as noted. We realize that there are costs associated with doing something like this. Additional new costs are based on the costs of the facility, as well as other costs such as administration and personnel.”
Stortz continued, “We do have one other substation in the City: that will add to our analysis in this particular situation.”
“We realize that there are problems on Federal Hill, just as they were noted and pointed over three years ago. A substation, if implemented will not be a total panacea. Many other steps will have to be taken to address these issues, on Federal Hill, and other areas throughout the City,” said Stortz.
Stortz concluded, “I am appreciative that Mr. Cardano is willing to cooperate and assist us in addressing these problems.”

Note from city Councilor Ellen Zoppo, one hour after the mayor’s press release:
The Hospital has also offered a sub-station location and I think their buildings are much more attractive since it will ease employee concerns, develop a presence, and also not serve to give any amount of credibility to Mr. Cardano and his business associates who now want to be part of the solution, despite the irony that they were the ones who have definitely contributed to the current problems.
The only meeting I would be having with them is to give them a final notice before the City of Bristol formally begins the nuisance abatement process with the State Chief's Attorney.

Note from Michael Cardano, chief fiscal officer for Bristol Property Management, on Friday, June 15, 2007:
Steve, please find below my original correspondence sent on August 24, 2006 [copy is above]. As for what response was given from an official capacity over the past year before Mr. Stortz’ contacted me to meet with him the other day; absolutely nothing.
* I must say however that when Mr. Stortz called me on Wednesday he was quite disturbed / miffed that my e-mailed offer never got to him. The first thing he mentioned to me when he called was that for some reason he had never gotten my correspondence. He stated that he had someone from IT looking into it. He then apparently checked with one of the other members of the city council who had been sent a copy and was able to obtain a copy of my correspondence from them. He apologized for the snafu, stated that I did in fact have the correct e-mail address listed and had no reasonable explanation for why the e-mail was never received. He was looking into it. (The missing e-mail caper :))
I am meeting with him at 4 pm today to discuss the details of our offer.

From Michael Cardano, later on Friday, June 15, 2007:

As you probably know by now, at the time I made the offer almost a year ago, I copied the e-mail to Ellen Zoppo as well as many other city officials. The point being, Ellen Zoppo has been aware of our offer for almost an entire year now and has done absolutely nothing to advance the effort and in fact opposes it primarily because she does not want to give BPM any credit for being a part of the solution (as if we were running for office).
We have no agenda here other then to improve the quality of the area which will in turn improve the rental rates and real estate prices of our investors. We are not interest in PR or being given credit for being a part of the solution. We do not even own the building we have offered to place the sub-station in; we just manage it for a third party and we are offering it on their behalf. We are simply seeking to have a solution as we are in the trenches and we see the topics being discussed first hand on a daily bases.
It’s quite disingenuous for Ms. Zoppo to claim that we “now want to be a part of the solution”, when we in fact were the ones who proposed the idea in the first place nearly an entire year ago! Additionally, we’ve had proven results doing this in another community. If Ms. Zoppo had been proactive she could have gotten behind our effort to assist in cleaning up the area and squelched this issue a long time ago. Had the police sub-station been there for the past year, perhaps the area would be viewed as stabilized with some positive momentum behind it and the concerns of hospital officials that are being bantered about now would have been pre-empted.
The retail office space we are offering is approximately 800 Sq feet, with two 10 x 12 private offices, 468 square ft of common office space and a bathroom. It is properly zoned and in move in condition. The only costs that the city would absorb would be the cost of a sign, and installation of phones, computers, furniture or any other items or communication that they may wish to install. In our prior experience dealing with this type of project, other then the proprietary police equipment, computers, desks, chairs and other office equipment were all donated by local businesses supporting the effort.
It appears that Ms. Zoppo is willing to put a police sub-station in the area contingent upon getting her political wish which is having the Hospital take up tenancy in the area. While we have no opinion on the Hospital taking space there (sounds nice on the surface), the Police Sub-Station space we are willing to provide would be for the benefit of not only the employees of the Hospital, but also the local residence and passers by and is not contingent upon the hospital agreeing to take space on Federal Hill. We can make the above claim because Ms. Zoppo has known of our offer for almost a year and not endorsed even the concept. Now, when we bring up the offer again, she’s all for the concept, but only in the building a few feet away that would suit her political need. Also, her remarks about not wanting to give us any credibility for being a part of the solution is quite political. We haven’t in any way publicly chastised her for not endorsing our idea previously, and we don’t care to. Ms. Zoppo apparently perceives a PR opportunity being taken away from her. She wants to do the same thing we suggested, with a twist. While she may be interested in becoming Mayor and having the installation of a police sub-station to add to her resume, we just would like to see the sub-station implemented for the benefit of the citizens. So as not to confuse this issue I absolutely 100% agree that this would also in the interest of our investors as the interests of all owners of real estate on Federal Hill whether they be resident home owners or landlords are in concert with each other. A rising tide will lift all boats.
In response to Ms. Zoppo’s claim of BPM contributing to the problem in the area. Let me first say that we did not develop the multifamily dwellings that exist here today. The fact that there is a large supply of multifamily dwellings, the local businesses that do exist, the schools and environment that local government provides are all things that attract investors, homeowners and renters to this community. If our landlords have vacancies we fill them. The majority of people who respond to the vacancies are people who already reside in the community and are looking to relocate. If you speak to Ms. Zoppo you might thing that we are bussing people in from some third world country. We do not attract the citizens to the community we simply provide housing for those seeking somewhere to live. If they don’t rent from us they rent an apartment from the building next door.
When our phone rings, we have no control over the person on the other end of the phone. It could be a person moving here from out of state because they are relocating for work or it could be someone given our phone number by a local subsidizing agency. We rent to those qualified individuals that contact us. If Ms. Zoppo is concerned with the quality of the citizens in the community and wants to skew the pool so that the demand for the housing doesn’t come from tenants who’s housing is subsidized, rather then point the finger at property managers and landlords for housing people who respond to the vacancies, she should work to improve the quality of the pool of people responding to the vacancies. She should concentrate on bringing in more quality business for these prospective renters to work rather then suggest that we implement redlining. She should know better then that. Not only is that illegal, but it’s disrespectful to the people who currently reside. Additionally, efforts should be directed towards public and private agencies which provide subsidized housing to both better qualify who they provide funding for, and to take some responsibility for tenants that they subsidize if they turn out to be trouble for the community. Under the current circumstances, once the subsidizing agency places the tenant, they turn their back on the landlord and accept absolutely no accountability for the troubles that may be caused leaving the land lord to deal directly with the tenant in court which often takes months and is quite costly.
I’m starting to sound political here and that’s not my place or my intention. My point here is that local companies like ESPN are expanding by leaps and bounds and we place their employees in quality housing right here in Federal Hill routinely. Everyone in the community seems happy to have them here and they fit in well. If the community had more stable businesses here, the rest of the stuff we are talking about would take care of it self.
Lastly, in September of 2004 Ellen Zoppo invited a group of landlords and management companies to a “town hall meeting” at the Bristol Historical Society to address the problems facing the citizens of Federal Hill. It was a widely pre-publicized event covered by all the local media outlets including your news paper and the Harford Courant and also ran as lead stories on both the local Fox and NBC news affiliates on their evening news casts that evening. To our credit, even though the event was clearly staged by Ms. Zoppo as a lynching of property owners and management companies such as ourselves, our organization was the only one stand-up and accountable enough to show up and field questions. Our President, Anthony Cammariere and I sat there and fielded questions from the audience for a few hours and pledged to work with the citizens to help make the area a better place to reside. We made many friends in the community that night and have worked with many of them in ways we could to help their cause. We were there for the community then and we are still here today as fixture in the community still attempting to assist in the betterment of the community.
As mentioned previously I will be meting with the Mayor’s Office @ 4pm today to discuss the implementation of a Police Sub-Station @ 12 Summer St. which we believe to a great benefit to the local community and in the best interest of the welfare of it’s citizens. My apologies to Ms. Zoppo’s if this occurrence will upset her political agenda. I’ve got no intentions of becoming her campaign manager but perhaps she’d be better served finding another issue to use as a platform to run on where she falls on the side of the majority. Your e-mail suggests that she apparently doesn’t want to meet with us. Without trying to burst anyone’s bubble, this is truly quite and odd occurrence because I can’t find anyone from my company that’s requested that she meet with us or any reason to do so for that matter? I imagine that if / when Ms. Zoppo becomes Mayor I would address these items directly with her, but that’s not the case at the moment so respectfully I’ll just deal with the Mayor.
Lastly, Mayor Stortz attended that town hall meeting that night in September of 2004 as a concerned citizen and contacted us at the time with the idea of us sponsoring a Bristol Property Management clean-up day in the Federal Hill area. For a number of reasons that never got off the ground however it’s clear to me that he was looking out for the citizens then and as far as I can tell, he is doing the same today.

Watch the paper in the days ahead for more on this issue.

Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

Rimcoski angry at downtown commissioners

After reading this story in the Press, Republican city Councilor Mike Rimcoski said he is “disappointed and disillusioned” that the downtown corporation plans to hire the Maguire Group to guide the revitalization of the mall property.
Rimcoski said he “couldn’t believe the stupidity” of downtown commissioners who recommended that the new nonprofit hire the same controversial consulting firm that worked on former Mayor Gerard Couture’s mall plan in 2004 and 2005.
“It makes me question whether we put the right people on that committee,” Rimcoski said.
Here's the whole story, from The Bristol Press.

Copyright 2007. All rights reserved.
Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

Highlight of annual chamber dinner

The biggest laugh -- and the only standing ovation -- at the annual chamber awards dinner Thursday went to Jack Hines, who won the E. Bartlett Barnes Distinguished Service award, named for the late Bristol Press publisher and Mum City booster.
Hines, who is the executive vice president at the First Bristol Federal Credit Union, has been involved in the hospital, the United Way, youth organizations, sports and in education, serving on the school board and starting the Academic Challenge Bowl, among other things.
During his acceptance speech, Hines recognized his family, including Beverly, his wife of more than 45 years. He said he knew she was "Miss Right" when they were in high school, adding, "I didn't know her first name was Always." -- Jackie Majerus

Copyright 2007. All rights reserved.
Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

June 14, 2007

Zoppo criticizes Stortz on Federal Hill security issue

One thing about this little blog is that the news moves faster.
Here we are, only an hour after the mayor issued his press release calling for a police substation, and already the responses are starting to come in.
Councilor Ellen Zoppo, a Democrat running for mayor, said that is "unfortunate that the mayor is using this very serious issue, which has been festering for years, as a written press release, as opposed to having a constructive dialogue on this issue Tuesday night."
"Leadership is needed when the issue is at hand, not when you have a few days to compose a written press release," Zoppo said.
Zoppo, of course, is unhappy that Mayor William Stortz failed Tuesday to support a move to at least consider buying the 303 Main St. house that library directors had asked the city to purchase to start cleaning up the problems in that area of Federal Hill.
With Bristol Hospital asking for help in improving the area's security as well, some city officials, not just Zoppo, were surprised that the council did nothing at all at its meeting to lend a hand.

Copyright 2007. All rights reserved.
Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

Federal Hill security

No doubt reacting to events reported in this story the other day, Mayor William Stortz this afternoon told reporters he wants the Police Board to consider creating a substation on Federal Hill. Here's the press release the mayor sent out a few minutes ago:

Bristol, CT, June 14, 2007 - In a prepared release, Mayor William T. Stortz announced that he is asking the Police Board to consider a Police Substation in the Federal Hill area.

Owners of Bristol Property Management were once willing to provide space for a possible police substation in the Federal Hill area, to help address some of the issues.

Said Stortz, “I will be meeting with Mr. [Michael] Cordano [of Bristol Property Management] to explore the possibility and discuss other aspects of the concerns as noted. We realize that there are costs associated with doing something like this. Additional new costs are based on the costs of the facility, as well as other costs such as administration and personnel.”

Stortz continued, “We do have one other substation in the City: that will add to our analysis in this particular situation.”

“We realize that there are problems on Federal Hill, just as they were noted and pointed over three years ago. A substation, if implemented will not be a total panacea. Many other steps will have to be taken to address these issues, on Federal Hill, and other areas throughout the City,” said Stortz.

Stortz concluded, “I am appreciative that Mr. Cardano is willing to cooperate and assist us in addressing these problems.”

Copyright 2007. All rights reserved.
Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

Downtown corp.'s budget and plans

Two stories from today's Press about the downtown corporation, which holds its next meeting on Monday, June 18th:

Downtown corp. looks to Maguire Group

$350K marked for downtown board's operations

Copyright 2007. All rights reserved.
Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

June 12, 2007

Public vote on school plan sought

BRISTOL – Organizers of a petition drive to force a public vote on the $115 million plan to build two new schools said they’ve already collected more than 500 signatures from residents who want a say on the proposal.
Tom Doyle, one of the organizers of Let Us Vote, said the petition drive has only been underway for a week.
He said the Board of Education "did not listen to the people" in its sole public hearing on the plan to construct two new 900-student schools that would each serve kindergarten to eighth grade.
City councilors referred the petition to the city attorney’s office for review.

Copyright 2007. All rights reserved.
Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

Zoning, finance reappointments made Tuesday

BRISTOL – Four longtime city commissioners were reappointed Tuesday.
City councilors unanimously agreed to offer four-year terms to Board of Finance commissioners Roald Erling and John Smith. Their terms run until 2011.
The council also backed four-year reappointments to the chairman and vice chairman of the city’s Zoning Commission. Frank Johnson, the panel’s chairman, and John Lodovico were each tapped to serve on the volunteer board until 2011.
But two councilors opposed Johnson and Lodovico.
Councilor Craig Minor said he favors term limits for land use commissioners because of the need for new blood and the loss of effectiveness by people who stay too long.
But only Councilor Kevin McCauley sided with Minor so the pair were reappointed on a 5-2 vote.
Both Johnson and Lodovico also serve on the board of the new Bristol Downtown Development Corp., which has the responsibility of revitalizing the mall property.

Copyright 2007. All rights reserved.
Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

Stortz offers charter revision ideas

Mayor William Stortz issued this press release today:

Bristol, CT, June 12, 2007 – In a prepared release, Mayor William T. Stortz announced that one of the key issues of the Charter Revision Commission, will probably be the modification of the sections of the City Charter regarding the Mayor, the City Council.

“There has been significant discussion over the idea of a City Manager, and I’m sure that this will be one of the charges to the Charter Revision Commission,” said Stortz.

Stortz continued, “I support the concept of a City Manager for Bristol. I support it with the caveat that the job description be well thought out, that it be non-political, and that the appropriate oversight and accountability be included. Then, and only then, would it be good for Bristol.”

Stortz added, “I also support the idea of increasing the City Council to nine members, with multi party representation. This would reduce the workload and provide some checks and balances, as well as attract more people to the process. When I put forward the request to form a Commission, I did it with those thoughts in mind.”

“By giving the Commission until 2008 to report, and have the recommendations voted on in November 2008, adequate time is provided for thorough discussion and review, by the Commission and the public.

Also, by having this voted on in November 2008, and if the changes are approved, then the City will have time to plan, to interview, to implement, and possibly have the changeover take place near or at the end of the 2007 electee's term (in November 2009)”, said Stortz.

Stortz went on to say, “By having the vote taken during a non municipal election cycle, the issues can be decided on their merit and not influence, or be influenced by the elections and candidates.

Failure to act on this issue now, with a 2008 vote, pushes the item off at least one, maybe two years, and could also impact implementation. If the idea is right, the sooner it is done, the better – as long as it is done right.

Clearly, this is the purview of the Commission. They choose what issues to consider and pass on to the Council.”

Stortz said, “If the issue were to be put on the ballot as a simple yes or no, and it did pass, the Charter Revision Commission would still have to work out the details which are extensive, as the Mayor’s role permeates the Charter and Ordinance. In reality if that was done, the right of the people would be significantly reduced as the Charter revision and the Council has to submit something to be voted on, and flexibility is lost.”

Stortz concluded, “The schedule I submitted gives the Commission and the public adequate time to evaluate the concept, prepare the details, discuss the details, make changes as appropriate and that the public will vote on. If this issue were to be placed on this years ballot (November 2007), the process would have to be resolved and approved by the Council by no later than September giving the whole process including public hearing, only 8 to 10 weeks. My schedule allows for more than ample time for input and feedback, giving the public a true opportunity to participate, before the question, fully explored, discussed, and detailed, is voted on.”

Downtown corp. has "a problem"

When city leaders were talking about creating the Bristol Downtown Development Corp., they missed something that's turns out to be quite astounding: city employees are hamstrung in helping the new nonprofit do its work.
Take a look at Jackie Majerus' story in today's Bristol Press.
Here's the essence of it, in the words of Frank Johnson, the vice chairman of the downtown board: "What we've done is create a corporation that's closely linked to the city but we can't use the talents of the people we have working for the city."
"That's a problem," Mayor William Stortz said

Copyright 2007. All rights reserved.
Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

June 11, 2007

Ward issues "Leadership" position paper

Democratic mayoral contender Art Ward recently issued the following statement as a "Leadership position paper" --

Never before has a Bristol Mayoral election been so much about leadership in both style and substance -- than that which is facing us in November.

Four years of military service, nearly forty years of community service, including, seven years of service as a member and chairperson of the Bristol Zoning Board of Appeals and almost fourteen years as an elected member of the Bristol City Council have afforded a multitude of opportunities to learn the various aspects of true leadership.

Over the past fourteen years, regardless of party affiliation, I have strived to be a responsible voice for the best interests of all of us - the people of the City of Bristol Connecticut. I have always believed that realistic, responsible decisions are made by listening to, digesting and addressing issues open mindedly. While responsible opposition is the obligation of elected officials if poor decisions will be the end result of items of consideration, so is it the obligation of those same individuals to support items of positive importance, regardless of party affiliation.

It is hard for me to comprehend how the public can be expected to believe that the supporters of bad decisions during this administration will now propose that they will be the panacea for correcting these same mistakes tomorrow. I have not sat back while less than beneficial decisions have been made nor will I refrain from responsible opposition in the future if the issues are not in the best interests of the community as a whole.

An effective city leader demonstrates a passion for the community which enables them to put the good of the people above everything else, working with others without the "all or nothing" or "my way or the highway" perspective on governmental management. An effective leader is never an island unto themselves.

The best leaders listen, they listen to those of differing opinions, they encourage the sharing of ideas and potential solutions, they are not afraid to hear different voices, differing view points. An effective leader may not always agree but they always respect others and look for good, alternative ideas which affords the flexibility to arrive at the best possible solutions.

A leader is not afraid to make decisions, to lead, to set a direction and a purpose - indecision breeds wasted time, listless effort and a lack of purpose.

One of the most important aspects of leadership is the ability to foster teamwork amongst everyone involved in the functioning of the process, to coordinate the talents, abilities and contributions of others in order that a mutual benefit is realized for everyone, not only for a chosen few.

It was once asked "should a leader be either loved or should a leader be feared? I say neither. Rather a democratically elected official should be respected but not feared or disliked by those around them and that respect is attained only by extolling those virtues which have already been expressed.

The willingness of this administration to micromanage, to single out department heads, employees and volunteers alike have had a profound, negative affect on the morale of those very people who are expected to provide positive results for our community.
A Mayor should be a leader of vast integrity and respect, not the tzar of managers. The office of mayor should be a vehicle of progress, not the haven to spew vindictiveness or to "even the score" with vendetta-like actions.,

As mayor, I will initiate the following positive agenda for improving city government for all;

1. I will continue to work in concert with the Board of Finance to establish fiscal responsibility that will protect the citizens of Bristol from "tax shock," Investment in our community will be geared toward establishing a viable downtown, a fully developed Southeast Industrial Park, the renewal of the Park Revitalization Program, quality schools, safe neighborhoods and programs which enhance the quality of life for all of Bristol's citizens.

2. In conjunction with our state legislative delegation I will immediately establish communications with the appropriate State of CT officials to initiate the process of securing any/all funding which will assist in the development of our downtown, incorporating our own professional development and planning staff into the process.

3. Address better means of communication between the Board of Education, the city, the parents, the school organizations and the general public through well-publicized neighborhood meetings in order to afford the public the opportunity to express their views on the spending of educational tax dollars.

4. I will convene a Charter Revision Commission to address the issues of the need for establishing guidelines for public referendums on major issues affecting this community.

5. I will request that this same Charter Revision Commission consider the potential for the implementation of the town Manager form of government if it is determined to be in the best interests of our community.

6.I will eliminate the existing morale decay which is so rampant throughout the system, expecting each and every one of our employees to perform their jobs to the best of their abilities but without the fears of retribution resulting from micromanagement.

7. I will establish panels of inter-departments working together to deliver the utmost of proficiency in city services. The Public Works, Planning, Engineering, Economic Development, Police and Fire departments may meet on a regular basis in order to better coordinate activities and/or Social Services, the Senior Center, Youth Services and Community Development might join forces to more effectively address mutual community goals.

8. All persons, volunteers, employees, staff and department heads, without exception, will be treated with the utmost of respect and courtesy in all facets of employment and (re)appointments, always being afforded timely notice and due consideration in the process.

9. Any and all information which is pertinent to the decision making procedures of our elected officials will be forwarded in a most timely fashion and not be held in abeyance for the purposes of political gain.

10. Quality education, a desirable downtown, a functioning Southeast Industrial Park, improved parks and neighborhoods and a reborn respect for that which is right will be the path that we will forge ahead on in order to move Bristol forward.

City manager should be on November ballot, says Ken Johnson

Press release issued this morning by Republican mayoral hopeful Ken Johnson's campaign manager:

Ken Johnson Announces Campaign to Put City Manager Issue on Fall ’08 Ballot, Pledges Not to Apply for Position.

Bristol mayoral candidate, Ken Johnson, announced today that his campaign intends to obtain signatures to put the city manager issue on the fall ’08 ballot and promised not to apply for the new position.

“The people have a right to vote for their form of government,” Johnson said. “If the charter revision commission does not recommend a change to the city manager system we will launch a door to door campaign to gather signatures.” he said.

Other Bristol residents including prominent businessman, Craig Yarde, have advocated a change to city manager. Johnson wants city hall to know that it is a sentiment shared by many Bristol residents.

“People are fed up with the way things are run around here and deserve to have their voices heard.” Johnson said. “Our ballot initiative will give people that chance.”

“The politicization of the administration of city affairs and the short election cycle distracts the mayor from conducting business efficiently.” Johnson said. “The short election cycle coupled with partisan bickering with the council once the mayor is elected is a recipe for disaster,” Johnson added.

The solution to this problem, Johnson said, is to change Bristol’s charter so that the administrative power is given to a city manager appointed by the council. “The council-manager system combines the strong political leadership of an elected city council with the managerial experience of a qualified city manager educated in public administration,” he said. “The manager would essentially be the CEO of the city.”

“This change will allow members of the city council to focus on their duties as council members and not their campaigns for mayor,” Johnson said.

“I promise not to apply for the city manager position and urge my opponents to do the same,” Johnson added. “I am running for mayor to do what is best for Bristol, not to advance my own career.

“A city manager would be very responsive to the needs of the people because he or she could be fired by the council for poor performance at any time,” said Johnson.

Johnson said that the city manager system could help Bristol’s economic problems. “A study published in Public Administration Review concluded that cities run by managers had more strategic planning and business attraction programs than cities run by mayors,” he said.

Johnson said there still could be a mayor under the new system, whose duties would be largely ceremonial.

June 10, 2007

Council hopeful Rich Kilby weighs in on script controversy

1st District Democratic City Council contender Rich Kilby recently sent me this statement:

I feel nothing wrong was done, wouldn't you would like to know what's happening at a very special Ordinance Meeting, so you could do your homework, when questions are asked you could give a detail summary of whatever plan is on the table, get the taxpayers comments and move forward in the best direction. Whether it's Art, Ellen, or Bill you need to know what is going on.

My sympathies to Ken Johnson and his family

Warren O. Johnson, 75, of Bristol, CT and West Barnstable, MA, widower of Evelyn Alice (Ebb) Johnson, died Friday, June 8, 2007 at The Reservoir in West Hartford. Mr. Johnson was born July 8, 1931 in Hartford, CT and was a son of the late Pehr Rudolph and Agnes (Oden) Johnson.
Mr. Johnson was a U. S. Army Veteran having served in Korea with the 5th RCT during 1951 and 1952, where he earned the Combat Infantryman's Badge.
During his 35 year career in education he served first as a teacher and then as an administrator at both Hall and Conard High Schools in West Hartford, CT. Warren was a talented woodworker who used his creativity to complete many projects for his family and friends. He was a member of Bethesda Lutheran Church, which is now known as Gloria Dei Lutheran Church, where he devoted his time and energy serving on various committees in many capacities. When staying on Cape Cod, he was an active member of First Lutheran Church in West Barnstable, MA. He was also an avid supporter of Camp Calumet Lutheran in New Hampshire.
Mr. Johnson is survived by two sons and daughters-in-law: Kenneth R. and Liz Johnson of Bristol, and Carl R. and Debbie Johnson of Farmington; a daughter and son-in-law: Cheryl and Dr. William Brown of College Station, TX; a brother and sister-in-law: Richard and Joan Johnson of Marston Mills, MA; and several nieces and nephews. He was a loving and devoted 'Pop-Pop' to his eight grandchildren: Jennifer, Vicki, Cory, Dusty, Mandy, and Amy Johnson, and Linnea and Mic Brown. Warren¹s gentle and giving spirit will be remembered by everyone who knew him. He helped anyone who asked for help and never expected anything in return. Funeral services will be held Wednesday, June 13, 2007, 11 A.M., at Gloria Dei Lutheran Church, 355 Camp Street, Forestville, CT. Burial will follow in Forestville Cemetery.
Relatives and friends may call at the Funk Funeral Home, 35 Bellevue Ave., Bristol on Tuesday from 4 to 8 P.M. Warren's family wishes to thank the entire staff of Harborside Health Care at The Reservoir for their loving care and attention. Memorial donations may be made to Gloria Dei Lutheran Church, 355 Camp Street, Forestville, CT 06010 or to Camp Calumet Lutheran,
P. O. Box 236, West Ossipee, NH 038900. On-line guestbook available at

June 9, 2007

Auction at the mall

Stopped by the auction at the downtown mall this morning. The city's selling off the contents, which include everything from old Christmas ornaments to posters from the mall's heyday, such as it was. Most of the stuff is old shelving and furnishing, of course, but it's a yucky day and the event is at least a little interesting.
There's not much of a crowd so bargain seekers might want to get on over and take a look.

Update: Herald Press story about the auction

Story about this blog in today's Bristol Press

Press's new political blog seeks to enlighten with original sources

BRISTOL - A new Bristol Blog aims to take a detailed, and hopefully enlightening, look at what's happening at City Hall and in political circles generally.
The blog, written by Bristol Press reporter Steve Collins, started off as an experiment in early May, but it's already won an audience.
It's a little more personal and conversational in tone than a news story can ever be," Collins said. "But my goal is to make sure that journalistic standards remain high.
"The blog can be found online at www.bristolnews.blogspot.com and through the Press Web site, www.bristolpress.com.
It gives readers a chance to read documents mentioned in news stories, get political updates faster, catch tidbits that don't make it into print, and to comment on what they see.
This week, for example, e-mails and "scripts" that formed the foundation of a couple of Press stories were available in their entirety on the blog.
"As a reader, I love to turn to the original sources to find out more than news stories can include in the limited space available in print. That's one of the services that this blog can provide," Collins said.
Though the blog encourages readers to comment, all readers' posts must be approved before anyone can see them.
Those that are offensive, malicious or potentially libelous won't make the cut.
"I've seen how vicious commentary on the Internet can get," Collins said, "and I won't let that happen."

June 8, 2007

McCauley defends Zoppo

City Councilor Kevin McCauley sent this statement recently about the "script" controversy:

First off, I don't think "script" was the best word to describe the process of gathering and organizing a mountain of information which contained concerns, questions, desires and input from all the council members. Ellen’s ability to effectively compile all that in an orderly outline so we would all have our particular areas of concern brought onto the record highlights her leadership (Mayoral) qualities.
This particular outline even addressed Art Ward’s issues. Even after Art had made his position quite clear early on that he wanted no part of his Democratic colleagues working with the other party and went his own way, we respected his viewpoint just as we always have, and January’s meeting was no exception. Art Ward’s comment about having no knowledge of this form of government is disingenuous, as he has participated in similar outlines in the past. For him to infer this happens all the time does a disservice to the public trust because he is well aware of it’s inaccuracy.

GOP chairman turns up the heat on Zoppo

City Republican Chairman Art Mocabee issued this statement this morning:

In light of Ellen's arrogance in responding to the her scripting, further comment is warranted.( "No apology")

What would have happened if some councilmen refused to follow her attempt to control the flow of business? Is this what she calls leadership? It is more micro management then some others have been accused of. However, the overriding problem I have is that so many of our elected officials went along with the script. It proves just how dysfunctional this council is.

Councilman Minor and the Democrats call it "meeting preparation". I would argue that it is direct manipulation of an issue to achieve a desired result, otherwise known as a fix!

If our elected officials can not think for themselves, then they either do not or can not understand the "complexities" or the "legal issues" of the City's business as Dean Kilbourne suggests. In my opinion, those Councilmen who need a script should not be conducting the City's business if they don't understand it.

This issue being scripted, (BDDC) I happen to support and am pleased with the fact that it is a reality.How- ever, what about the people who do not support it? I think they may feel robbed of their representation.

What else was scripted by her?...the Burgryn Property debate...the purchase of the mall. Is the failure of the Roberts Property funding from the Bd. of Finance an example of what happens when you do not follow her script?

Bottom line is that it is bad management, bad government, bad for the process and the taxpayer and voters once again takes it in the end!

June 7, 2007

Couture: No to Letizia

Former Mayor Gerard Couture said he's not sorry he threatened to punch ex-city Finance Chairman John Letizia nine years ago, an event that precipitated Letizia to leave the the panel.
At the time, Letizia said the only reason he did not pursue criminal charges against Couture was because of "the love and respect I have for my sister and brother‑in‑law."
Couture said Thursday that his brother married Letizia's sister "so I'm not a relative" of the former finance chief, who is eyeing a run for treasurer.
But he scoffed at Letizia's talk of "love and respect" for his sister and brother-in-law.
"He hasn't spoken to his sister or my brother since then," Couture said. "If he loves his sister so much, he should visit her once in awhile."
He said that Letizia hasn't spoken to another of his sisters in 20 years.
"The only person John Letizia loves is himself," Couture said.
I don't think I'm going out on a limb to guess that Letizia won't be breaking his long silence with Couture anytime soon.

Lydem formally enters council race in 2nd

Democratic City Council contender Bruce Lydem sent in this press release today:

Today, lifelong Bristol Resident Bruce Lydem filed papers to run for City Council in Bristol’s 2nd District.

“I am running for City Council in the 2nd District because we need more economic development, especially in downtown, state of the art schools for our children and lower taxes,” Lydem said.

Bruce was born and raised in Bristol. After his wife, Linda, and three children, Michael, Justin and Melanie, Bruce’s greatest passion is the City of Bristol. “As a kid, growing up in Bristol, I remember the many good times I had at Muzzy Field, Rockwell Park and as a student at Bristol Central High School. I want to ensure that the families in Bristol continue to create long lasting memories and enjoy a high quality of life,” says Lydem.

Bruce is excited about his race for City Council and looks forward to meeting and talking to voters soon.
“I believe in Bristol because I am a product of this community.” “I believe I can be a positive force for Bristol on the City Council and I look forward to talking with old friends and meeting new ones to share my vision for the District and our City,” said Lydem.

Who's running for what?

Let's take a quick look at how the campaign is shaping up so far.

Republican Ken Johnson and Democrats Art Ward and Ellen Zoppo are in the race. Incumbent GOP Mayor William Stortz isn't saying whether he'll run again. And Rich Armington is seriously eyeing the prospect of an independent run. Ward could also end up running as an independent if Zoppo secures her party's backing.

Longtime Treasurer Patti Ewen, a Democrat, is stepping down. So far, there's only one person who's admitted to contemplating a bid for the post, former Finance Chairman John Letizia. But Democratic Party Chairman Dean Kilbourne said he expects other candidates to emerge.


Incumbent Republican Mike Rimcoski is seeking another term, but Ward is giving up his seat. Democrats Cliff Block and Rich Kilby are in the running. The GOP hasn't got anyone else lined up to run with Rimcoski... yet.

The only incumbent seeking reelection is Kevin McCauley, a freshman Democrat. Zoppo is looking at the mayor's office instead. Democrat Bruce Lydem is running and former city Councilor Tom Ragaini might be. On the Republican side, Ken Cockayne and Joe Geladino are running. Independent Mark Blaschke also said he's in the race.

Both of the Democratic incumbents, Craig Minor and Frank Nicastro, are likely running. Minor has said he's in, while Nicastro has stopped short of entering the race so far. Charles Cyr is also eyeing the race as a Democrat. For the Republicans, Robert Merrick is in the mix already. The other slot remains open.

The big news that's still to come, of course, is whether Stortz will try for another term.

Burlington's leader giving up the reins

The news in today's Bristol Press that Burlington's first selectman, Ted Scheidel, is stepping down after this year's general election is a stunner. Scheidel has been at the helm for so long that he is synonymous with the town, which has undergone dramatic growth since he took office in 1981. Over all those years, he's also been the epitome of a New England town government leader, straightforward, open and clear. He's been a good neighbor for Bristol.

Armington toys with idea of running for mayor

Link to story in today's Bristol Press

Zoppo stands by scripted meetings

Story in today's Bristol Press

City Councilor Ellen Zoppo also sent me a more detailed statement after the paper went to press last night. Here it is:

If people take the time to read them as posted, they would realize they are more of a combination expanded agenda and talking points and not a script where people had lines.
Neither the mayor nor the Council were told by me what to say, as the term script would imply....that word is the part that I think people are reacting to. People were not scripted, they were simply given the outline of how I was going to chair the meeting and what order was going to be used including when we would hear from the public, when they would have the opportunity to comment, and then a second round for any additional thoughts or closing remarks for them to go on the record as to how they were going to vote and why, which I thought was important for the public. It leaves more questions that it answers when people just vote yes or no without stating on the record why.
I don't think it hindered "open government,"I think it enhances the quality of the dialogue concerning important issues that have many pieces. There are few occasions where an important point is "forgotten" when these types of expanded agendas or outlines are used.
I have used this tool for years for various events and meetings, starting back in Hartford when I worked for the MetroHartford Chamber of Commerce and continue the practice today in New Britain. In some form or another, I use it for meetings I chair when there is going to be lengthly debate or many issues to be considered.

June 6, 2007

Is Mayor Stortz running for reelection?

I asked Mayor William Stortz recently whether he's going to run for reelection.
His response?
"Who knows? The Shadow do."

Another mayoral contender?

Rich Armington, a financial advisor, told me recently that he's eyeing the possibility of running for mayor as an independent. He's capable of mounting a real campaign that would be take seriously. Watch for a detailed story in The Bristol Press soon.

June 5, 2007

Treasurer's race stories in Bristol Press today

Ewen out: longtime official stepping down to travel

Letizia in: Finance Board veteran eyes treasurer's post

What do you think about scripting city meetings?

Feel free to add your comments here. I will post any that aren't hateful, libelous or malicious. If you do comment, please be civil. I'm not going to let this turn into a free-for-all.
Just click on the comments link immediately beneath this line of type.

Scripting city meetings

Before you go further, read this story in The Bristol Press. What follows are the emails and scripts mentioned in the story, along with city Councilor Ellen Zoppo's explanation this week about what she was doing and why.
Let's start with the Jan. 4 email from city Councilor Ellen Zoppo to Mayor William Stortz that opened the door to the story. Here it is:

10:42 a.m., Jan. 4, 2007
I am designing a script for the 6 of us (minus Art) to follow for tonight. I need to know the following:
1. Does the mayor want to make an opening statement or just be poised to respond to the questions and suggestions made by the Council?
2. There needs to be a reference to the budget and costs. In one of our previous meetings this week it was stated that the taxpayers should know that at this point, existing staff and city resources, and most likely the existing project manager, will be retained to get the initiative started, at no additional expense to the taxpayers. Once a budget is submitted by the corporation, if approved, the council and Board of Finance will have the opportunity to approve, modify.
3. Mike Rimcoski needs to be brought into the loop by the mayor's office and told that there is a role for him to play and questions within the script. I have designed a land use/zoning question for him since that is his area of expertise. Please confirm that you have called him and he is aware of the game plan in advance of tonight.
4. Art will not have a script and Mike needs to be discreet since he is seated adjacent to him.
5. All scripts need to be collected at the end of the night so there are no leaks.
6. Mayor will opportunity to make brief comments prior to adjournment where it would be appropriate to praise the spirit of bipartisanship and substantive dialogue that has shaped the evening and is the first step in moving the downtown initiative forward. Start practicing in the mirror after lunch.
Please let me know your preference on these items asap. I am out of town until 2:30 p.m. and would prefer email as opposed to a call while I am at work. Once these final pieces are in place, I will forward you the script.

Here is the script that Zoppo finished shortly before the Jan. 4 meeting:

Ellen to open the meeting:

The purpose of the Ordinance Committee is to first investigate whether an ordinance is necessary, and if so, to work in collaboration with departments and others to develop one that meets several thresholds including state enabling legislation, and other related ordinance and policies.

The purpose of the meeting is a continuation of the first public hearing that was held in November to evaluate the mayor’s proposal to form a downtown development corporation to oversee the development of the 17 acre mall parcel.

Clearly, there are many people who feel strongly about this issue. Those who are in favor are here to advocate their position. Those in opposition will also be heard, and I hope, will offer constructive solutions. One of the strengths of having public hearings is that differences of opinion sometimes produce the most powerful results, when common ground is found. We learn more from those who disagree with us, than from those who agree.

I would like to ask that a level of respect and consideration be shown by all who participate tonight. The direction needs to be one of looking forward, not back, nor playing the blame game or becoming nostalgic for the past and what we remember of downtown 40 years ago before redevelopment.

Over the last six weeks, the Council has reviewed the draft ordinance, asked questions of professional staff, and evaluated options. Tonight, we will again have the opportunity to hear from the public, and I hope we will also have a dialogue amongst ourselves concerning suggested revisions to the draft.

I am sure I speak for the Council when I say that we appreciate peoples’ time, energy and contributions. The goal is to restore downtown to a vibrant center instead of the nearly vacant and deteriorating shell that defines the parcel now.

Ellen asks Mayor Stortz to make brief opening comments.

If there is anyone who would like to speak on the ordinance as it is currently drafted, please come to the microphone and state your name and address for the record. Please note that the only relevant comments tonight relate directly to the draft ordinance.


At the conclusion of the public participation component, EAZ states that members of the Council will now have an opportunity to react to comments from the public and/or ask questions, starting with Councilman Nicastro.

Councilman Nicastro to discuss
-the importance of downtown
- may discuss the need to gain community support and earn the confidence of elected officials is to work as a team to identify citizens who would like to serve on this panel.

Mayor Stortz has indicated that he will state that he would welcome the input and states that yes, he would encourage the members of the Council to submit names. [He noted that when this has occurred in the past such as with the Housing Appeals Board, Ethics Commission, etc, it has been extremely beneficial and resorted in a very good mix of people in these particular situations. ]

Councilman Minor wants to spend a few minutes reiterating that the 17 acre parcel is not an island and must be developed and states that there is a role for BDA to bolster the efforts of the Corporation, if approved, in terms of the work that will be needed to complete the Municipal Development Plan as required by the State, as evidenced by the BDA’s plan to continue the streetscape to Main Street.

- may discuss the BDA be designated to begin looking at various community development opportunities in the neighborhoods adjacent to the mall property.

Councilman McCauley wants to be on the record to express concern with the role of elected officials on the corporation and requests a revision to modify the language so that there are 7 members named from the private sector, and that the mayor and a councilmember are added temporarily as the eighth and ninth member only, to provide some linkage and administrative support to the corporation as it begins its work for the short-term, but not be a permanent presence.

Mayor Stortz may offer the suggestion that the terms of the mayor and council member run concurrent with their elected terms to November 2007, at which time there is a sunset provision eliminating the two elected officials members from the panel, which would revert to seven members only. If not this, further discussion may be needed on this point.

Councilman Rimcoski wants to discuss that along the same lines as the BDA having a role in conjunction with the corporation, he feels strongly that the land use boards, particularly Zoning & Planning, needs to be involved as well.

Mayor Stortz has agrees with this and will most likely respond that many departments as well as boards and commissions will be involved with the corporation. The corporation will have the opportunity to use the project manager assigned to the revitalization effort, it is also his intent to involve city staff from various departments for technical expertise at various stages within the process.

Councilman Ward will have the opportunity to review documents he has submitted to the DECD and their answers, as well as any other items that may be of interest to him….

Councilman Nicastro – additional comments if any

Councilman Minor may speak about examples of the benchmarks and the associated timelines he expects the corporation to be cognizant of as they begin to structure their work. Examples given include RFP sent out, remediation and demolition plan.

Councilman McCauley wants section 18-192 be revised to remove the reference to other special development authorities so that the reference clearly reads that upon termination or dissolution of the corporation the responsibilities will revert back to the BDA and not leave it open to the possibility of other special development groups being formed.

Councilman Rimcoski …

Councilman Ward….

Councilman Nicastro – closing comments.

Councilman Minor – closing comments.

Councilman McCauley – closing comments

Ellen asks if it is the consensus with new information that the public hearing should be continued so that suggested revisions drafted and questions answered. With that being the consensus, the motion is made to continue the public hearing to a date and time to be determined.

Closing remarks
She states that the meeting tonight was extremely beneficial in bringing together many separate issues and starting to shape them into a directon that everyone feels comfortable with, and expresses support for moving forward.

She references the work already done by the BDA to develop downtown design guidelines, the Zoning Commission’s work to review and redesign the regulations on downtown which while only half completed , have done much to actually lessen regulations and make development more attractive downtown

Leading up to this weekend, I was skeptical that the corporation was necessary, mostly because there are and were, so many irons in the fire already, so the concept, in my mind was a duplication and not necessary.

Today, I have a different view – All of the work that has been done can be, and should be, coordinated in order to jumpstart revitalization and work toward a plan that achieves community consensus.

I think now that the Corporation can be the glue that brings all these pieces together and start sewing together the fabric, literally and symbolically, of what the plan will be.

Here are Zoppo's comments this week on why she wrote up a script:

Since I was thrust into the position of chairing the matter since the Council was serving as the Ordinance Committee as the whole, I wanted the meetings to be working meetings of substance so the public would understand and see the process of how we arrived at the decision-making we did, so I thought it best to organize everyone's thoughts and ideas and create a working script that flowed and created a dialogue as well as would give the members of the Council an opportunity to react to the public comments.
When you have an issue of importance such as this, there are many layers and I had council members telling me they wanted to make sure we addressed Point A, Point B, etc, or that they still had questions on Point C, etc. I took all that, reviewed the previous minutes, and created a list, which evolved into the script, so that we could keep track of the various points, such as Craig's insistence there be benchmarks, Art's letters to the DECD, and Frank's concern about how to select panel members, etc.
It had worked well with the Housing Property and Maintenance Code in 2005, so I informed the Mayor and Corp Counsel that since I was chairing it, I would be organizing the meeting that way again in order to ensure that all points were covered, and that all council members had the opportunity to discuss their points and get the answers they needed in a public forum.