A Bronco For Bridgeport? Plus: Rell Schmoozes Mayor

We’re 18 months from a potential Democratic gubernatorial primary featuring Secretary of State Susan Bysiewicz, Stamford Mayor Dan Malloy and former House Speaker, Bridgeport native, Jimmy Amann who will officially announce his candidacy tonight at the Klein.

Do you have a horse? Or would you rather saddle up with someone else? The latest poll by Quinnipiac shows Republican Governor Jodi Rell in solid shape with the electorate despite the economic madness. Jodi is the Tooth Fairy of state politics. A little whiskey on those gums and all is forgiven. (For now.)

Speaking of the governor she was in Bridgeport today encouraging Mayor Bill Finch to support her budget. Dealing with a super majority Democratic legislature has the governor reaching out to Democratic municipal leaders that support her call for eliminating unfunded state mandates. Finch said all the right things today at his press event with the governor. Never hurts to have a decent relationship with the state’s chief executive.

Right now SuBy’s polling numbers match up the best against Rell because of her name recognition. She’s also a relentless campaigner who’s not afraid to kick an opponent in the groin.

The poll’s results revealed miserable news for Senator Chris Dodd. Voters think he’s doing a sucky job. He gets a mortgage deal while they’re trying to hold on to their house. But you cannot beat someone with nothing, can you? So, what GOP candidate will step up to challenge Connecticut’s senior senator?

Chris Shays could give him a run, but the former Republican Congressman, who’s not a man of wealth, is up to his eyes trying to raise money to retire a $200K campaign debt caused, he says, by his former campaign manager’s personal spending habits.

A candidate to give Dodd a run must be out there soon raising money and moving around the state because Dodd, by virtue of his banking chairmanship, will have a major fundraising advantage. So, has Dodd shit the bed, or will you give him another chance?

Teary Testimony

My friend Marsha Pitera took the stand in her own defense on Tuesday in what I believe is an over-the-top government prosecution. I was not in the courtroom Tuesday, but relatives and friends who were there say CT Post reporter Dan Tepfer has a strong account of what occurred:

Pitera denies driving drunk
Staff writer
Posted: 02/10/2009 04:42:15 PM EST
BRIDGEPORT — Sobbing into a crumpled tissue, Marsha Pitera told a Superior Court jury Tuesday she wasn’t driving drunk when her sports-utility vehicle crashed head on into a van on Main Street in Stratford a year and a half ago, killing two of her three young children.

That drunk-driving charge was also called into question by a forensic pathologist, testifying for the defense earlier in the day, who said that Bridgeport Hospital employees may have made a mistake in determining that Pitera’s blood-alcohol level was over the legal limit.

The 38-year-old Shelton woman went on to testify that the crash occurred as she was desperately trying to rebuckle her 9-year-old son’s unfastened seatbelt.

“I prayed so hard that I could change it somehow, but I couldn’t,” she sobbed on the witness stand.

Three female jurors wiped tears from their eyes as Pitera related the last moments leading up to the death of two of her children and the nearly fatal injuries to the third.

Pitera is charged with two counts of second-degree manslaughter with a motor vehicle and three counts each of second-degree assault with a motor vehicle and risk of injury to a minor.

According to earlier testimony, Pitera was driving a 2007 Nissan Murano on Main Street, also known as Route 110, in Stratford with her two young daughters and son when she crossed over the yellow line and struck a van head-on shortly before 9 p.m. July 4, 2007.

Pitera had a blood-alcohol content of 0.123, exceeding the legal limit of 0.08, police said.

Two of her children, Morgan, 6, and John, 9, died in the crash; her 7-year-old daughter, Haley, was injured, but survived.

Pitera was called to the witness stand Tuesday afternoon by her lawyer, Norm Pattis.

Dressed in a tan sweater and brown pants, her long brown hair loose about her shoulders, Pitera clutched a wad of tissues in her left hand as she sat in the witness box.

Pattis asked her right from the start if she had five or six alcohol drinks prior to the crash as alleged by a state expert.

“No,” she replied, shaking her head.

During a July 4 party at her ex-husband’s house in Stratford, Pitera claimed she had one mixed drink and half a beer, but no other alcohol.

As the weather turned nasty, she decided to leave the party.

“I remember gathering up the kids and saying, ‘Let’s get going you have camp tomorrow.’ ” Her two daughters were sitting in the back seat of the Nissan Murano and her son was in the front passenger seat.

“There is no question in my mind they had their seatbelts on,” she added.

It was raining hard as they approached the Sikorsky plant on Main Street in Stratford.

“I was telling the children a story. Sikorsky has this big street light and I was telling the kids that when we lived on Soundview Avenue I used to turn my chair toward the window when it rained because I liked to watch the rain in the street light,” she testified.

She was driving through the blinking traffic light in front of the plant when she said her son John unfastened his seatbelt.

“I hollered at him to put it back on, but he defied me. I unclicked my seatbelt and reached over to him and tried to put his seatbelt back on. I got my hand on him and then I saw headlights in my face,” she sobbed.

The next thing Pitera said she remembers is waking up in a hospital room. “My children didn’t make it,” she cried, covering her eyes with a tissue.

Dr. Michael Baden, a pathologist for the New York State Police, who also helped investigate the O.J. Simpson case and the assassinations of John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King, testified that the injuries Pitera suffered in the crash could have resulted in a “false positive” for alcohol levels in her blood.

“The amount is seriously interfered with and it should have been confirmed by another test that was not done,” he said. “That test should have been done differently and in my opinion the test was not reliable.”



  1. I like Jodi Rell for governor. The democratic candidates listed today make you wonder Is this the best we can come up with?
    Chris Dodd: This jerk belongs in jail. What he and his cohort Barney Frank did with the mortgage industry is a major factor in our economic troubles. He along with Frank knew that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were out of control and making bad loan after bad loan. They fought tooth and nail to stop re-regulation of these two mortgage giants. This sanctimonious bastard is now trying to come across as a savior in this economic storm. He is of the same cloth that Chuck Schumer is cut from. Schumer yesterday stated that there is nothing wrong with a little pork in the spending bill. I will never vote for Dodd no mater what, 35 years in the senate is enough. It’s time he got his fat ass out into the real world.

  2. I am heartbroken for “I’m a poor man” JIM AMANN.
    I also thank someone who set us wise to his $120,000.00 job as advisor/consulant, although I would go so far as to label it a CON JOB!
    Please consider that $120,000.00 breaks down to $2400.00 per week or $480.00 per day based on a 50-week work year (I am granting AMANN two weeks off to lug that loot to the bank).
    Excuse me for a moment, I am feeling tears welling up inside me for that poor unfortunate I’M A POOR MAN JIM AMANN,–WoW $480.00 a day and the Hartford group doesn’t really meet 50 weeks a year.
    Jim wants to be governor, what would he and importantly we get then?
    “Jim bite this.” That’s all you’re worth.

  3. Here’s what CT needs from its Governor … Control spending, unfunded mandates and take on the public-service unions.

    The overwhelming Democrat majority in the House and Senate seem to do little more than carry the union’s water as a reward for past favors … Or make boneheaded moves like Amann’s $120K or the speaker’s press guy at $140K+.

    Rell is nowhere near as tough as I’d like her to be but she’s far better than the alternatives. That’s why it’s Rell for me.

  4. Can someone tell me why this blog is heading toward a day or so of Rell or highwater. There is a very important election coming up this year … our ill-lustrous city council!!! I’d like to here more from my fellow bloggers on how we can effect some change in B’port by getting rid of the deadwood and boneheads running this city. There will be plenty of time to discuss 2010. What happens HERE this year will affect the leadership and direction and survival of this community.

    1. *** What happens nothing; in the beginning, the same old Dem. 3-way party split ’til after the primaries. Then the “odd” group out, joins in with their support of the endorsed candidates for the general election to elect those picked by the local Dem. district town committees & claim that their support was instrumental in certain people winning the election to hopefully get something for nothing! Meanwhile, the Republicans have finished fighting among themselves and have finally decided who & what districts they want to concentrate on for the general election! The media plays up certain issues that may be in the local city news & a few political spats between the candidates may arise, but nothing too juicy to make a difference. Outcome in the long term concerning Bpt. politics & the 2009 city election in a phrase! *** “PLAY IT AGAIN, SAM”! ***

  5. It ain’t happy news for Chris Dodd, but it ain’t unexpected.

    Anyone catch Nick Keppler’s piece in the weekly about reforming marijuana laws (reducing the penalty for possession of one ounce or less to an infraction)? Nick advised his readers to contact the members of Bridgeport’s legislative delegation to inquire about their positions on the issue. (An infraction is punishable by a fine; the current law makes possession of four ounces or less a misdemeanor that carries a potential one-year jail sentence.)

    I ran into Anthony Musto at Borders last December and asked him if the legislature would authorize Sunday liquor sales to generate revenue. (Connecticut loses about $5,000,000.00 a year through consumers driving into Massachusetts, New York State and Rhode Island to purchase booze on the day of rest.) Mr. Musto didn’t think the revenues generated would be worth the trouble. I’m not making this up, he really is a clueless GQ boy.

    1. In defense of Rep. Musto, moving the hours ’til 9:00 showed limited sales growth for liquor stores. As in all things in life, those wait ’til the last minute, then waited another 59 minutes to go buy their beer.

      Not sure that forcing small store owners to stay open Sunday is going to generate any more than they already sell … Other than the state forcing more expense upon small-business owners.

      Stipulating that BPT kid is right about $5 million, take the sales tax on that $5 mill = $300,000 and compare that to what the labor costs would be if mandating Sunday sales on all liquor stores.

      This only benefits Stop & Shop, CostCo etc.

      If only legislators would start to consider “unintended consequences”.

    2. Sounds like “The Bridgeport Kid” knows very little about liquor sales in Connecticut. If it’s true that Connecticut is losing $5 Million to out-of-state liquor establishment on Sundays–I’d like to know how much liquor is sold (illegally) after-hours and on Sundays in Connecticut.
      I’m sure the cost of sale of liquor during prohibited hours and days is much more than $5 Million; especially when one considers that liquor costs more during prohibited hours and days. Did you read the recent liquor bust story posted here last week? If they sell to minors, they sell after-hour.

      1. I’ve lived in Bridgeport for nearly nine years. Before that I lived in an upper-middle-class but buttoned-down conservative bedroom suburb of Hartford. Selling beer, wine and liquor off licence hours was unheard of there; in Bridgeport it’s a fact of life. I read about the big bust last week. Aside from the criminal consequences for the permittees that were caught selling alcoholic beverages to minors, the numbers alone show that there is a large market for beer and liquor after nine PM and on Sundays. Connecticut’s liquor stores were allowed to stay open until 11:00 PM until 1960. The hours were amended as a knee-jerk reaction to the criminal activities of one Vinnie “Mad Dog ” Taborsky, a career criminal that specialized in liquor store robberies. His M.O. was to shoot and kill the cashier and then take the money. (Mr. Taborsky was the last man to die in Connecticut’s electric chair.)

        Allowing Sunday liquor sales will not force small mom-and-pop operators to remain open seven days. Connecticut could adopt legislation similar to New York’s, giving store owners the option of closing another day during the week. Monday is a good choice. There are plenty of televised sporting events broadcast on Sunday. Football for example. What’s a football game without beer and hot wings, eh? And since all of those store owners in Bridgeport were popped for selling beer after hours, why not expand sales hours to eleven o’clock? The consumer base is there. No one would be forcing liquor store owners to stay open that late, but the bodegas and grocery stores would do brisk business without fear of legal reprisal.

  6. Independent Soul; We will not get any new people to run for the council for a number of reasons:
    1. Most people are busy trying to keep the bill collector from the door.
    2. The party does not want new people to upset the good old boy system.
    3. Anyone with any brains does not want to get involved with these a-holes.
    4. It seems there are 2 prerequisites for running for the council. You need to work for the city or have a relative who works for the city and you need to have your head on a swivel so it will bob up and down when you are asked a question.
    5. If you watch Lyons and AmyMarie trying to do their job and see the bullshit they go through why would you run for this office?
    Reasons to run for the council:
    1. You or a relative need a job
    2. You like saying yes when you should be saying no
    3. You like to have a $9,000 slush fund
    4. You like talking into a microphone
    5. You like your neighbors calling for assistance from the city and telling them you will help them when you know you are lying.

  7. As Ben Franklin said: In wine there is wisdom, in beer there is freedom, in water there is bacteria.

    No matter what you’re talking about, Ben Franklin has a worthwhile quote!

  8. *** Unless New Haven’s Mayor runs for Gov. I’ll probably be supporting Rell over those Dem. pretenders! And as for city council, you don’t have to be a college grad. to do the job. Just common sense, street smarts, never committing ’til the last minute & a personal desire to help your district and the city as a whole. Also having the balls to say “NO” to the admin. when allied with the Forces of the “Dark Side”! *** Many liquor stores would rather close @ 8:pm, take Wednesdays off & open on Sundays instead! ***


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