The recent release of former Bridgeport Mayor Joe Ganim from prison is followed closely by the release of a new image commercial for Connecticut’s beleaguered biggest city, and the resurrection of the Crocodile Club at Lake Compounce.
They meld into a semi-amusing memory. So let’s start with the new commercial.
I like it. It’s nicely shot, narrated well, and the “Surprise” slogan is subtly self-deprecating, given the city’s sometimes less-than-stellar reputation, fostered in part by Joe Ganim’s greed.
As Connecticut Post political reporter/blogger Ken Dixon points out, this is the first image spot for the city since Ganim starred in a series of spots a dozen years ago.
Which brings us to the Crocodile Club, where politicians and political junkies gather to eat roast lamb and gently roast each other. I was “President” of the Crocodile Club for a few years in the early ’90s. Ganim, who had aspirations that involved a move from Bridgeport to Hartford, was a speaker. My introduction of Ganim got a good laugh.
“And now the star of the commercials that would lead you to believe that only well-off white people live in Bridgeport, Joe Ganim!”
Ganim looked at me, and under his breath, said, “You just cost your station a million dollar buy.”
I believe I responded, “Go ahead and try it.”
He didn’t. But it told me everything I needed to know about an ambitious, humorless wannabe who served time instead of the electorate.
The meat of Dixon’s report is the cost of the campaign ($350,000) and who is paying for it. Mayor Bill Finch (who appears in the spot) had a classic Bridgeport response.
“It’s paid from public and private money,” Finch said, adding that he believes the City Council was aware of it. “I think they voted for it. It’s in the budget somewhere.”
It’s in the budget somewhere? Hey, it’s Bridgeport.