A wel­come serv­ing of crow

Connecticut Post (Sunday) - - Opinion - MIKE DALY Michael J. Daly is re­tired edi­tor of the Con­necti­cut Post ed­i­to­rial page. Email him at [email protected] ct­post.

The day fol­low­ing a fine Thanks­giv­ing meal with our fam­ily, I’m OK with eat­ing a lit­tle crow.

Maybe Gov.- elect Ned La­mont didn’t have to help with peel­ing pota­toes, as I did, the day be­fore Thanks­giv­ing — had I Ned’s riches, I would have staff do­ing that, too, I sup­pose — but what­ever the case, there he was at the Church of the Blessed Sacra­ment on Union Av­enue in Bridge­port on Wed­nes­day morn­ing help­ing to dis­trib­ute Thanks­giv­ing tur­keys and gro­ceries.

It was a ges­ture, of course, a ges­ture of recog­ni­tion to a com­mu­nity that helped put him over the top in his run for gov­er­nor.

This was the same neigh­bor­hood La­mont worked with Bridge­port Mayor Joseph P. Ganim a few days be­fore the Nov. 6 gu­ber­na­to­rial elec­tion.

Ganim had been a La­mont op­po­nent in the Au­gust Demo­cratic pri­mary and had painted La­mont, a wealthy Green­wich en­tre­pre­neur, as an out- of- touch­with- the- hood, horse coun­try ef­fete more com­fort­able in the posh sur­round­ings of a coun­try club than with, say, the en­vi­rons of a Tae’s Lounge, a work­ing man’s bar on Strat­ford Av­enue.

Af­ter the pri­mary, though, Ganim and La­mont made their peace. It was forged more from prag­ma­tism than af­fec­tion, to be sure.

“We’re pretty dif­fer­ent cats. There’s no ques­tion about that,” La­mont said in the pri­mary’s af­ter­math. “But he wants to turn around his city, and he wants to get re- elected in his city.”

“We don’t party to­gether,” the vic­tor of­fered.

La­mont’s visit on that Oc­to­ber Fri­day, with Ganim as his guide, at­tracted a lot of cam­eras. The two were ac­com­pa­nied by a pla­toon of can­di­dates, in­clud­ing U. S. Rep. Jim Himes, D- Fourth dis­trict, and U. S. Sen. Chris Mur­phy, D- Conn., both of whom also won big on Elec­tion Day.

Nearly 23,000 Bridge­port Democrats voted on Nov. 6, con­tribut­ing sub­stan­tially to La­mont’s 40,177 mar­gin of vic­tory over Repub­li­can Bob Ste­fanowski.

There’s no ques­tion that the Bridge­port Demo­cratic ma­chine, its levers, pul­leys and other machi­na­tions guided be­hind the cur­tain by the steady hand of the wiz­ard him­self, town chair­man Mario Testa, did in­deed go all out for the coun­try club guy.

The day af­ter the Oc­to­ber visit, when the cam­eras and the politi­cians were gone, I vis­ited the neigh­bor­hood and noted that the long- ig­nored East End of Bridge­port looked pretty much the same.

Some guys in the neigh­bor­hood that I talked to that day were, shall we say, skep­ti­cal about what would likely change on The Av­enue, Strat­ford Av­enue, when the elec­tion was over. I had to count my­self among them.

The East End has seen can­di­dates come in those elec­tric days be­fore an elec­tion ... and dis­ap­pear when all the shout­ing was over. And any re­porter who has cov­ered Bridge­port for a long time, has seen the same.

On that Oc­to­ber morn­ing, af­ter the whirl­wind tour, La­mont told Hearst Con­necti­cut Me­dia re­porter Brian Lock­hart that he would be back to the neigh­bor­hood.

So, cer­tainly, this was an en­cour­ag­ing ges­ture from the man who will soon be­come the gov­er­nor of Con­necti­cut.

La­mont, of course, doesn’t have to visit the East End of Bridge­port reg­u­larly through­out his com­ing four- year term.

He will have many ways to make his pres­ence known.

It’s im­pos­si­ble to drive through the East End of Bridge­port and not rec­og­nize the is­sues that trou­ble the in­ner precincts of all the state’s cities, per­haps chiefly the idle­ness of groups of young men out­side bode­gas and on street cor­ners, schools that are strug­gling to cre­ate a fu­ture for kids from fam­i­lies that are also strug­gling to keep their heads above wa­ter.

La­mont can make his pres­ence known by sup­port­ing pro­grams for young peo­ple in the neigh­bor­hood, like the Ralphola Tay­lor Com­mu­nity Cen­ter at 790 Cen­tral Ave.

A cen­tral part of his suc­cess­ful cam­paign was his iden­ti­fy­ing him­self not as a coun­try club guy but rather as some­one who be­came suc­cess­ful through his busi­ness acu­men and close re­la­tion­ships with the busi­ness com­mu­nity, busi­nesses both large and small.

La­mont, for in­stance, vol­un­teered time not so long ago teach­ing busi­ness classes at Harding High School.

He can make his pres­ence known, as he said he would do dur­ing the cam­paign, by steer­ing some of those small busi­nesses into Bridge­port.

It’s good that he came back to say “thank you.” Help­ing all the East Ends of Con­necti­cut is just the right thing to do.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.