Drive safely – Mayor Finch is watching.

Driving on I-95 you can’t miss the giant electronic sign erected earlier this year outside of Webster Bank Arena at Harbor Yard.

That, of course, is the point. Harbor Yard officials and Mayor Bill Finch’s administration, which teamed to seek the necessary zoning approvals late last year, argued the sign will draw more patrons to the city-owned/privately-managed venue and let motorists know, “Hey, we’re a real city with a concert/sports arena! Stop by!”

And heck, why not let those same folks know who runs Bridgeport?

The above message was in rotation earlier this week.

According to Finch spokesman Elaine Ficarra the contract between the city and arena for the sign allows the administration limited use “to promote city destinations, attractions, public events and public service announcements.” The city contributed $1 million to the $2.2 million project.

“In the coming weeks you’ll likely see a new rotation of billboards promoting citywide events and destinations,” Ficarra said.

It’s not uncommon for elected officials, Democrats like Finch and Republicans, to appear in ads related to their office.

They’re not elected to be shut-ins and one could argue promotion – be it of the city or state – is part of the job. But such ads can also raise questions about the fine line between doing that job and using public resources to campaign.

Secretary of the State Denise Merrill a few months back popped up in a billboard encouraging residents to vote, drawing scrutiny from the Hartford Courant.

I see Finch getting criticized for these billboard appearances if they’re frequent around election time, but that’s off in the future.

So for now eat your heart out, Governor Dannel Malloy. All you get is an old fashioned road sign and no photo.

Brian Lockhart