Let me get this out of the way first: Any time I hear Joe Ganim talk about crime, I get a little chuckle out of it. I bet he wished his sentencing judge was a little softer on crime back in 2003. But now, in the wake of a tragic shooting at the Trumbull Gardens housing project in which eight people were shot and one died, the felonious former of Bridgeport is politicizing the heartbreaking event. Not to be outdone, Democratic candidate for mayor Mary Jane Foster also couldn’t resist turning the shootings into a political issue as well. Both are abhorrent.
Ganim and Foster are both trying to replace Mayor Bill Finch and apparently will do just about anything to do it. Ganim says Finch is soft on crime. “Finch is failing to act as residents seek help from City to improve public safety in Trumbull Gardens. As Mayor, I would take the immediate steps to improve safety for residents by providing the community with a 24/7-onsite police outpost. I would increase police patrols and assign officers to work with community leaders to make the community safer.” Thanks, Joe. Good to know you’re one the job. We missed you for those seven years you were locked up.
For those who don’t remember, Ganim was convicted on 16 federal corruption charges for accepting kickbacks and bribes in exchange for awarding city contracts. He continued his fight for vindication up until January of this year when he finally apologized (a politically expedient move if he planned on running for mayor again).
Everyone should be given a second chance. But if a bank robber is let out of prison, you don’t make him a teller. Just sayin’.
Despite the horrific events at Trumbull Gardens, overall crime in Bridgeport is down. Shootings are down nearly 18 percent. “This is about the lowest crime rate we’ve had in nearly a half century,” Finch recently said. And he is not resting on those numbers. “We throw a lot of resources when there is a major problem at the problem, and we will do that here,” he said. “And we will bring the guilty to justice.”
What was Ganim’s response?—he organized a vigil at the crime scene. Magical things those vigils, they’ll stop gun violence, right? Finch actually took action and is setting up a gun buy-back program and is enlisting local businesses to contribute. Such programs usually end up with everything from handguns to assault rifles. So which approach is more effective? Finch’s will get some guns off the street. Ganim’s will keep the candle makers in business.
Foster, while not as brazen, has also chosen to politicize the shootings. Defeated by Finch in 2011, Foster is trying again. Of the shootings, she said, “What I am seeing is a lot of hand-wringing, but not a lot of energy being expended to find solutions.” Nonsense.