Saturday, April 23, 2011

East Haven's Economic Development continues to flounder due to Capone Administration

As a young man when I used to get in trouble and my first reaction was to try to find the scapegoat or some reason why it happened without the finger ever pointing back at me. Well after 6 solid years of Catholic Education I learned about many things but one thing that has remained a constant was accountability. As former Democratic President Harry Truman said "The Buck stops here." I guess none of the Capone Administration have learned those lessons or heard about give em hell Harry!

Reading the recent article in the PATCH regarding the local East Haven business survey's saying that the number one request was to lower taxes for business and I couldn't agree more! What I took exception to was Deputy Director Paul Hongo's comments about Car Max. He made reference that the deal Car Max received was too sweet a deal!  I guess Mr. Hongo needs a history lesson on that particular property since he doesn't reside in our Town and obviously listened to someone who wants to make this political.

As far back as I can remember the property that Car Max sits on was the old Toy's R Us and Bradlee property. Before them I believe it was the old Stop n Shop property. For years the property lay in disrepair with the Bradlee building literally having rising floors that made walking a shopping cart through the building feel like you were battling 2 foot choppers on the Long Island Sound while looking for the perfect bathing suit. The building structure was literally sinking into the earth! The parking lot itself was at times like a large river during heavy rain storms and when it settled we had Lake Frontage to look at. Finally, both tenants had enough and eventually vacated the property leaving the building borded up and a complete eyesore on the largest and most visable retail property in East Haven.

I remember making appointments to see Art DeSorbo and various other members of the Maturo Administration to ask what was going on with the property. To his credit I learned quite a bit from Mr. DeSorbo about the history of the property and what was needed to get that property in shape just to make it presentable to a prospective developer. I don't remember the figures but in order to set the pilings into the ground and divert the water away from the property was going to cost millions. But because of the proximity to I-95 the Maturo Administration was able to attract Car Max to the site and close the deal. Was there a tax incentive? Absolutely and I say that with great pride because by repairing the Car Max led to one of the biggest box store chains (Home Depot) to open where the old K-Mart store once stood. We invested in the future of Frontage Road and it paid off!

Times were good and tax incentives were good investments to businesses to do business with our Town. So while Mr. Hongo can continue to play the blame game it's time that he look in the mirror and realize this that his Mayor, himself and the Economic Development Commission are fully accountable for the loss of business and loss of revenue in the Town of East Haven. I am not directly blaming them for driving business out but holding them accountable to have a plan of action to stop the trend.

Instead of looking at what we did 7 years ago what has this Commission or Mr.Hongo done about the vacant lot that is directly next to Car Max? What has this Administration done about the former Mobil Gas Station on Frontage Road? What has Mr. Hongo done about one of the only Home Depot plaza with no major support stores? What has Mr. Hongo done about the former A&P property? Shall I continue?

Am I getting grumpy or is it I am sick and tired of these people in the Capone Administration always blaming someone else for their problems. I feel like I am back in the 5th grade saying to Ms. Costin..."It was Jimmy that pulled Annie's hair", but it was me that told Jimmy to do it! Is this what this administration has come to?

What a sad situation, when the people we pay our taxes to act more like children than responsible and accountable adults. Mr. Hongo, when you want to take this Town serious give me a call, I'll sit you down and tell you what's going on.

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