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When injuries brought an end to my 10-year professional baseball playing career, I had about $5,000 in my bank account.
A friend in Stamford suggested I consider opening a restaurant in Downtown's Columbus Park, in a storefront next to his printing business.
With the support of many wonderful people from this community, the original Bobby V's Sports Gallery Cafe was open for 37-years, with the help of my partner Joe Romano. My first employee, Mangonese Balthazar (known to all as Max), walked in when I was sweeping the floors, and was with me for 30 years before returning to Haiti.
Some people remember the restaurant as their favorite late-night spot for nachos, the first stop after a ball game, or the place credited with creating the wrap sandwich.
I mostly think about the hundreds of people we employed, the challenges getting permits for expanding our footprint, cleaning tables after long nights, and helping families celebrate special occasions.
While I'm no longer an active participant, the restaurant industry is the 3rd largest employer in Stamford, behind City government and the hospital. I will always support the many hardworking men and women who make our culinary scene vibrant.
I'm still an active small business owner, operating the Bobby Valentine Sports Academy in Springdale with my partner Frank Ramppen. For the last 15-years, our talented coaching staff has instilled the value of hard work and sportsmanship to thousands of area youth.
When we launched my mayoral campaign in May, we made a conscious decision to hire Stamford residents, and to support the Stamford small business economy.
Our first hire was Brian Alba, a 26-year old videographer that lives on Summer Street, and is building his own media company. His campaign content has now been viewed all over the world by millions of people.
We've supported 11 Stamford design and print firms over the last 6 months to help produce our brochures, t-shirts, lawn signs, and mailers.
In sharp contrast, I am deeply disappointed to learn that my opponent, who says she supports Stamford business, outsourced all but a tiny fraction of her campaign spending.
Through September 30, Caroline spent $119,000 with Bryson Gillette, a California based political consulting firm that created her misleading mail pieces. Interesting to note that this firm is run by President Obama's former Deputy Press Secretary.
Her second largest expenditure of $19,300 was to a firm called Breakthrough Campaigns in New York, run by a former Obama and Hillary Clinton pollster.
Incredulously, Caroline outsourced catering for a Shippan Point fundraiser to a Monroe-based restaurant called Vazzy's. She couldn't choose to support one of Stamford's many fine pizza establishments???
My financial reports, along with Caroline's, can be found here.
If I'm elected on November 2, I promise to manage our city for the benefit of all our constituents. I will serve with honesty and integrity, and will be a vocal and REAL advocate for our small businesses. They are the heart of our community, and need our support.
Please consider Joining Me to make a difference in Stamford's future!
I look forward to sharing more policy initiatives with you, and invite you to visit our website, www.bobbyvalentine.com, for more updates.
Your friend and neighbor,