Big Mac’s Plate, Plus: Housing News From Finch And Boat News From Shays

City Council President Tom McCarthy has a lot on his plate, and I’m not talking about Big Macs. (Okay, that was a lame aim.)

Big Mac has a full-time job in the city’s Labor Relations Department while trying to move along council business during a mighty tough budget cycle that will increase taxes with the hope of restoring jobs eliminated by Mayor Bill Finch for the budget year starting July 1.

McCarthy still hasn’t ruled out a run at the state senate seat occupied by Republican Rob Russo. Mac gave me a little needle the other day after I wrote that he’ll not be a candidate because there’s too much going on around him. Anthony Musto, the treasurer of the town of Trumbull, has been making the rounds and looks like he will take a shot at Russo. That means Mac, a bright, strong campaigner, would have to wage an August primary. It also means he must make a decision soon if he wants to make a play at the Democratic Party endorsement that takes place next month and/or raise the moolah required to take out Musto.

Democratic Town Chair Mario Testa (Mac supported him for town chair) has nodded that Musto will likely be the candidate. Mario does not appear to be in a primary mood. He wants to avoid primaries against state legislative incumbents such as Chris Caruso, Bob Keeley and Jack Hennessy.

So why hasn’t Mac made a final decision? My sense is he’s leaning against a run, but a little birdie has been whispering in his ear of late. Finch, though mayor of the state’s largest city, is still protective of the seat he had to give up. Bird Man spent seven years in the state senate and enjoyed his time there. He misses the legislative joviality. And he wants a Dem in his old seat. Russo whaled Tom Mulligan, the Democrat Finch supported in the special election to fill Finch’s seat in March.

Ironically, Russo has been supportive of helping move along state business that helps the city financially. Just six weeks into the job, he’s been in regular contact with the mayor’s office, and has been pushing a flashpoint issue: trying to secure the state funds for a mega audit that would finally show us–hopefully–a clear image of where the money is going for a more than $200 million city education budget.

Russo has also taken a position that city employees should not serve on the city council, and wants state law to forbid it, a direct shot at Big Mac who says Russo’s rule is a bunch of hooey.

Russo will be hard to beat in November. He’s doing all the right things while building bridges on both sides of the political aisle.

So it comes down to this: does Big Mac have the fire in his belly? He’ll need to find the propane.

New release from Mayor Finch

Mayor Celebrates Housing Success in Bridgeport’s East Side

Mayor Bill Finch (D-Bridgeport) today attended a ribbon cutting ceremony at the East Main Mews site at 588-612 East Main Street in Bridgeport. The project, co-developed by E/N Properties and Regan Development Corporation, involved the rehabilitation of six vacant, boarded up buildings located in Bridgeport’s East Side.  The project revitalized these historically significant buildings into 20 affordable rental apartments and 3,015 square feet of newly renovated ground floor neighborhood retail space. The goal of this project was to provide affordable housing both to low income and very low income households.

“East Main Mews is a great example of how new development in Bridgeport can play directly into our City’s Consolidated Plan priorities by fighting homelessness and blight at the same time,” said Mayor Finch. “By taking these boarded up and vacant properties and turning them into useful, productive housing vital to our community, we are truly moving Bridgeport forward.”

The Mayor was joined at the event by Alanna Kabel from the City’s Department of Housing and Community Development; Julie Fagan from HUD; John Craford from the Connecticut Housing Finance Authority; Jason Epstein from E/N Properties; Ken Regan from the Regan Development Corporation; and Carmen Colon from Alpha Community Services.

Financing for the project was acquired through owner investment, Bridgeport’s federal allocation of HOME funds, State of Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development Flex funding, Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) equity and Historic Tax Credit equity. The partnership exemplified by this project also helps the City of Bridgeport to meet the goals identified within the City’s Ten Year Plan to End Homelessness and can serve as a model for other developments to achieve these objectives. The Bridgeport Housing Authority was also thanked for providing project-based Section 8 assistance for 13 of the apartments in the building.

Press release from Chris Shays

Shays Announces $863,515 Grant for Derecktor Shipyards

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Christopher Shays (CT-4) announced today Derecktor Shipyards, located in Bridgeport, Connecticut, will receive a $863,515 grant from the Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration. The funding will be used for a welding tank, welding machines, air casters and hydraulic bender.

The grant is part of the new Assistance to Small Shipyards program, set up under the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2006.

“This grant will help Derecktor improve their efficiency and cost-effectiveness by allowing them to make capital and infrastructure improvements,” said Shays.

“Derecktor has been in Bridgeport for seven years and they have a tremendous business here,” stated Joe Riccio, Executive Director of the Bridgeport Port Authority. “This funding will be a great boost to their capital needs and keep them competitive in the global marketplace.”

The Maritime Administration is the agency in the Department of Transportation dealing with waterborne transportation. Its mission is to improve and strengthen the U.S. marine transportation system, including infrastructure, industry and labor, to meet the economic and security needs of the United States.



  1. It will take a hell of a lot of some real tasty special sauce to swallow that Big Mac. It seems like the Council Prez would make a real nice piñata for Rob Russo’s reelection campaign. Cap local tax hikes and bar city employees from serving on a city council due to an apparent conflict of interest. Can you say Happy Cinco de Mayo, Senior Russo!

  2. I dont see how McCarthy can consider a run for the senate this time. People will be looking to lay blame for the future tax increase somewhere and its going to land on the council people seeking higher office. You take the tax increase and the yet to be announced 4.5% increased sewer tax and you have a bunch of angry people.
    Russo will use that as his main campaign platform along with his tax cap platform and walk into a 2 year term.
    My suggestion to McCarthy is if you are planning on seeeking higher office you have to step up and speak up.

  3. McCarthy is a smart kid and a hard campaigner. He’s given a lot to the city in terms of public service and did I mention he’s smart (a rare breed in this city.) I am perplexed by Mario throwing him under the bus already. When I hear that a candidate in Trumbull is already Mario’s guy, I can’t help but think that the town chair in Trumbull is a DiNardo. Does Slimmy Sal also have his hand in the Senate race too?!?!? Who else is in this guy’s wallet? Actually, the question should be, who doesn’t!

    If intelligence and experience is still losing to the mighty dollar, then our new chairman is setting the tone reminiscent of the Ganim Administration.

  4. Monty Take a step back and think about this; Like i aid in my previous post and this has nothing to do with McCarthy’s character, work ethic or the like. The taxes in Bridgeport are going up this year, people are going to lose their jobs. the Wpca is raising their rates by 4.5% . The voters are going to be angry and looking for someone to blame(justified or not). Russo will be using the tax increases against any city council person that runs against him.
    Mario and mccarthy have been talking almost everyday so your comment about McCarthy getting thrown under the bus is incorrect.
    I think you comments about smart people being a rare breed in Bridgeport is out of line. maybe the people that did not seek public office are really the smart ones.
    BTW a loss in this election would damage McCarty’s reputation. The deal with trumbull is if Musto does not win then in 2 years Trumbull will support a Bridgeport candidate.
    I would bet you if the common council lections were to be held this november there probably would not b an incumbent elected because of the coming tax hikes.

  5. I think Mario can read election results pretty well, and that’s why he’s supporting a Trumbull Dem for that seat. Though I would be curious to ask Lennie and the assembled commenters if they think ethnic politics is a factor in Mario’s preference … (I always thought he was a practical–yet sentimental–guy.)

  6. Hi Nose:

    Your assessment of Mario is correct. Trumbull wants a crack at it so he said, be my guest, and especially after the filleting Russo gave Mulligan. McCarthy has not shown that he has the fire to run which made it easier for Mario to make that deicison. If McCarthy gets into the race, McCarthy won’t have to worry about Mario pumping hard for Musto. Mario and McCarthy get along just fine so ethnic politics plays no factor. Plus Trumbull Dems are still sore at Finch for his “bucolic” remark.

  7. I’m a new kid on the blog.

    Monty22- That’s a hall of a statement that you made about Sal. I’m sure he appreciated you calling slim as he he is a dapper guy. I must be in his fat wallet. Because without the amount of taxes paid to Bridgeport by his company my taxes would be further slimming my already svelte and getting svelter bank account. I can’t wait for United Rentals to get on the tax rolls so Bridgeport can get some more dough in its coffers.

    Hey Monty! Whats’ behind Door Number Two?

  8. Hi Nose:

    Ethnically speaking I think Mario knows it is smart to pass over McCarthy this go around. I hope Rob has his tenor tuned for the “Oy Vey Maria”. I think Russo is going to be serving up some Filet of Sole O’Mio to the Dems this year.

    If anybody knows this race it’s The Nose.

  9. I think Tom McCarthy should stay put. Maybe Finch will get another job offer and leave. I’ll take my chances with Tom as Mayor over Finch any day!

    And quit the negative remarks about city employees. There are a lot of hard working people who make little pay and get no recognition. Finch should take the time to talk to some of them. I’m sure they have good suggestions to cut the budget deficit. I know I do.

  10. I thought I’d interject a little Joni Mitchell, because I couldn’t say it better my self.

    Rows and floes of angel hair
    And ice cream castles in the air
    And feather canyons evrywhere
    Ive looked at clouds that way

    But now they only block the sun
    They rain and snow on evryone
    So many things I would have done
    But clouds got in my way
    Ive looked at clouds from both sides now
    From up and down, and still somehow
    Its cloud illusions I recall
    I really dont know clouds at all

    Moons and junes and ferris wheels
    The dizzy dancing way you feel
    As evry fairy tale comes real
    Ive looked at love that way

    But now its just another show
    You leave em laughing when you go
    And if you care, dont let them know
    Dont give yourself away

    Ive looked at love from both sides now
    From give and take, and still somehow
    Its loves illusions I recall
    I really dont know love at all

    Tears and fears and feeling proud
    To say I love you right out loud
    Dreams and schemes and circus crowds
    Ive looked at life that way

    But now old friends are acting strange
    They shake their heads, they say Ive changed
    Well somethings lost, but somethings gained
    In living evry day

    Ive looked at life from both sides now
    From win and lose and still somehow
    Its lifes illusions I recall
    I really dont know life at all
    Ive looked at life from both sides now
    From up and down, and still somehow
    Its lifes illusions I recall
    I really dont know life at all

  11. Yo Polly:

    Roger Whittaker wrote Both Sides Now (Clouds)? Me thinks you’ve snorted too much pollyanna. Joni Mitchell wrote it! Roger covered it, as did dozens of others. But thanks for the lyrics, anyway.

  12. Your right Wind. I knew Mitchell wrote it, except I listened to someone else who told me I had it wrong, serves me right for not double checking. However, don’t you think your snorting inference was a bit harsh?

  13. In The Know:

    You are right on target. Tom is one of the smartest, experienced and most effective resources the City has right now. A valid question is where and how he could best apply these skills.

    Tom has a strong sense of timing and the subtle winds of political direction. He is in a good place but I am sure that he will make any moves when it is the right time for The City; the party; and himself.


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