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Campaign 2015–Who’ll Throw First Punch In Mayor’s Race?

April 28th, 2015 · 22 Comments · Analysis and Comment, City Politics

Who’s gonna draw first blood in the mayoral race? The first punch? First attack? The quest to serve as the city’s chief executive is now taking shape. Mayor Bill Finch seeks a third four-year term, Joe Ganim wants his old job back and Mary-Jane Foster has entered presumably to frame herself as the viable alternative. School board member Howard Gardner and multiple-mayoral candidate Charlie Coviello are candidates as well. A September Democratic primary beckons.

What candidates will bring dear old MOM along on the campaign trail? Yes, campaigns are all about Money, Organization and Message. Ganim and Finch are already knocking on doors. Ya think they know this will be a battle? Foster’s gotten in later than expected, but maybe drive a wedge between the boys?

Will be interesting to see who will be most assertive this campaign cycle. In the spring of 2011 Foster made the first strike against Finch hitting him on broken campaign pledges, taxes, jobs and schools.

Remember this?

The first campaign strike at Foster came from a Connecticut political action committee called A Better Connecticut castigating Foster for saying one thing and doing another. The video generated howls of protest from Foster campaign operatives claiming the content was false and misleading. And so it goes in the world of campaigns.

The good news for Foster this cycle is the subjects of the parody Charlie Coviello, Tito Ayala and Joel “Speedy” Gonzalez are not supporting her this campaign. Ayala and Gonzalez are supporting Ganim. Coviello is a candidate for mayor. But for how long?

It’s been a long time since a mayoral campaign has featured two candidates–Finch and Ganim–who extract so much passion: Finch, the policy wonk; Ganim, the nuts and bolts campaigner. Throw Foster into the mix and there’s a trifecta with an intriguing history of friends falling out. Kerplunk.

Don’t expect this campaign to be like an afternoon tea party. More like a battle royal. Who’ll be declared the winner?

Let the games begin.


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22 Comments so far ↓

  • Steven Auerbach

    I still believe it will be a yawn!

  • Ron Mackey

    Finch really can’t run on his record because all those past tax increases, underfunding the BBOE for seven years, his failed takeover of the BBOE to take away the Bridgeport voters rights away for them to elect who they wanted to be elected to the BBOE, and this is just a short list. Bridgeport voters have grown tired of Mayor Finch. Finch will attack Joe Ganim because that is his only hope. Ganim will attack Finch’s record and it will get dirty with them going at each other. Mary -ane Foster will be laying out her plan for the voters of Bridgeport.


    Joe Ganim doesn’t need to throw punches, just stay above the mud he was once knee deep in and win easily. He is obviously the most qualified, and when he wins everything will be above board as he will be watched locally and nationally.

    • The Phantom

      So that makes a net zero. What has Grinch built? Everything being erected started eons before he was elected. This is a Mayor who paid his and his staff’s bar tab by giving the bar owner a six-figure job. Hypocrisy at its best!

  • charlie

    I can guarantee if Ganim were to win the office, there will be second and third thoughts about any new business coming to the Park City. I know of one that will hesitate about being under his shadow.

  • Steven Auerbach

    BPT REBEL, you sound just plain ridiculous!

    Charlie, you are on the money.

    Ganim cannot attack Finch because there is nothing Finch could not crush him with.

    Mary-Jane Foster cannot attack Finch on the BBOE because nobody cares.

    Finch needs to announce upscale housing and a hotel soon for Steelepointe or the project will be viewed as a failure looking no different than the Dock in Stratford.

    I think Finch will get another four years.


      What is ridiculous Steve is you backing Finch only because you get paid to.
      You backed Foster guns a-blazing four years ago, no one pays attention to your babble, you talk to yourself here.

      • Steven Auerbach

        BPT REBEL, are you brain dead?

        Who told you Finch pays me? That is a joke, right? Lololol, I am laughing my ass off. You are not going by what I said months ago that Finch is paying me to comment. Finch has never even thanked me! Ever! Omg, he pays me? Lolololololol.

      • Steven Auerbach

        BPT REBEL, four years ago I supported MJF guns a-blazing until she lost the primary and then I supported Finch, signs on my lawn. Four years before that I supported Bill Finch guns blazing. I never had a dislike for Bill Finch. I just felt MJF could have put Steelepointe on the fast track. Now things are happening. I still think MJF will make a fine candidate, but I am supporting Finch. No guns a-blazing but everyone I know will know who I am voting for.

    • John Marshall Lee

      I believe you are employed a certain number of days per year as a substitute teacher in the public schools. You have brought more than one story from a variety of City schools about the state of education in the City.

      There are more than 20,000 youths of various ages who attend the different Bridgeport schools. And you are saying for the most part their families do not care? Would you wish to expound on this? It may be one of the most revealing things you have opened up in the course of your steadfast Finch defense. If you share more, perhaps the people will finally wake up. Time will tell.

      • Steven Auerbach

        JML, I do not recall making this comment recently , but I will say this. If I had a child in the Bridgeport school system there might be 10 of 30 schools I’d consider. I totally support charter schools and parents deserve an opportunity to decide where their children should go. I do believe parents should he required to sit in a class and watch how a special-needs student will derail any attempt at teaching a class. Students eat breakfast in school, lunch in school and snacks. They stay after school. Many parents do not care about the school other than to babysit their children. It is sad and that is my take. The teachers unions need to go. Some teachers need to go and charter schools are a good thing. Bridgeport schools have been failing for over a decade. It is the number-one reason young families attempt to move out of the city. Mayor Finch should be commended for addressing this situation. Most people have no idea who they are voting for when casting their vote for the BOE. When I talk to many students and hear how uninvolved their parents are, it is heartbreaking. However there are many students with great potential who are stifled because of classroom issues with students with anger issues and other psychological issues that stop a teacher from doing their job.

        • John Marshall Lee

          “Mary-Jane Foster cannot attack Finch on the BBOE because nobody cares.”
          I took this comment from one of your above posts today to mean what happens around education of Bridgeport youth has no constituency who would listen to a candidate, and I wondered whether you had been hearing that from parents.

          You raise many troubling challenges to the system, not for the first time, but the notion of parents not caring I had not heard from you previously. Somebody needs to care, and if it were to be a Mayor, perhaps it would be one who was happy to deliver the money from local taxpayers, keep up an offensive at State Legislature and BOE to move our City per-student funding ratios closer to New Haven and Hartford and let someone else take credit for the necessary changes. Was the Charter change the only way? Was his political control the key to more funds? The BOE under Vallas brought in to reform, has continued a very clear sharing of fiscal data in a timely fashion including numbers employed by department or school and even includes data on the substantial grants for education. Can Bill Finch see his way to that or would disclosure, accurate, timely and comprehensive, break the Sherwood crystal ball? Time will tell.

          • Steven Auerbach

            Throwing more money at education will not change the students. Many teachers need to go. I credit Finch for acknowledging Bridgeport’s consistent failings and trying to institute change.

  • Bob Walsh

    Steve is being paid by Finch to post this nonsense???
    That’s nonsense!!!

      • John Marshall Lee

        Spending the money we do in the City from the operating budget as well as bonding for the Capital budget, may be the same as “throwing money” at an issue, unless there are goals and objectives that are quantifiable and actually measured, then reviewed to see whether the money meant anything, etc.

        Forget education and what may amount to haphazard current results in your eyes, what about the youth who are due that education assuming they do their part as students? Who speaks for them? What about taxpayers who look for some affirmation for the dollars they pay in taxes currently? Is it Mayor Finch who only wants to help if he controls? When did he become a CHAMPION OF EDUCATION with sufficient experience and competence to earn such a title? When did he begin to be OPEN, ACCOUNTABLE and TRANSPARENT in his governance?

        Believe me when it comes to fiscal reporting to the public and the Council, Mayor Finch does not and has not “acknowledged Bridgeport’s failings” as produced by his administration, and while he may have tried to change things and failed, perhaps it is because he does not listen to the people affected, but rather charges forward in his armored personnel carrier purchased by $245,000 of Fire Department grant funds four years ago. Anybody seen it lately? Time will tell.

  • the old quarterhorse

    I am writing this before I read any tributes to this guy and before I started to cry. I loved this man. And now he is gone.
    Tom Lombard at the tender age of 60 has left us. But enough grieving, we have plenty of time left for that crap. Let’s start celebrating.
    This guy was an original. He was the person who once said to me if there were two of you the world would stop. And he meant it.
    He was a mixture of love and mischievousness, and I challenge anyone whoever encountered him, not to run away with a smile on your face. You had to love him. That was Tommy.
    If you were an artist and had to depict an Irish American, you would have found him. He was textbook. He had the beard and the blue eyes and when he wanted, he could throw you the brogue.
    In the meantime he loved Bridgeport.
    If there was a fight he was there. And he wouldn’t mince words. He often found himself in the middle of battles with the Board of Education and their advocates. Many times I heard him smeared by people saying, “You’re not a parent!” And he would rejoin, “‘Cuz u got laid u know what you’re talking about?”
    Tommy would always take care of me with a shot of whiskey or a $20 bill. It was like I was his protégé. I would like to write more and I will. But for now I just miss him. Cheers.

  • Maria Pereira

    Well, let me be the first to throw a punch.

    I am 100% committed to ensuring Kenneth Moales, Hernan Illingworth, Jacqueline Kelleher (sorry) and Kadisha Coates are defeated this September/November.

    At last night’s BBOE meeting, without advance notice to the community the majority of the BBOE voted to add the approval of a MOU with the Mayor to allow him to bill the BBOE for $2.3 million in services the city is currently paying for. This included over $850,000 in crossing guard service, $40,000 in snow plowing, over $300,000 in trash removal, and $1.1 million in an Internal Service Fund.

    Andre Baker was a complete embarrassment. He kept referring to the document as a MIO or MRO. If the a number was $374,588, he would read it aloud as three seventy four five eight eight. Average parents in the audience were making fun of his inability to read aloud the amounts in the MOU.

    There was discussion around a topic and Dave Hennessey recognized Howard Gardner to speak. Hernan Illingworth started whining like a five-year-old that he was next and wanted to speak before Howard Gardner. Dave Hennessey stated Howard Gardner was being recognized first, and then Hernan would be recognized. Howard graciously stated he had no problem letting Hernan speak first and he would wait to speak. Hernan thanked him, and then preceded to make remarks indicating Sauda and Howard were making misleading/dishonest statements. Immediately after Hernan made his comments, he made a motion to close debate so that Howard would not be allowed to speak. Howard asked Dave Hennessey if he was going to be allowed to speak because he had acquiesced. Hernan interjected by reiterating he made a motion to close debate. Dave Hennessey, Joe Larcheveque, Kenneth Moales, Hernan Illingworth, Andre Baker an Kadisha Coates voted to close debate so Howard would not be able to speak and rebut Illingworth’s ridiculous assertions.

    Next, Hernan Illingworth expressed outrage that $1,000 was spent on legal fees to review the MOU between the BPL and BBOE to place a public library in Tisdale School without BBOE approval. Howard Gardner was brilliant. He stated “I believe there is hypocrisy in the air.” He stated there is sudden concern about a $1,000 legal expenditure to review a MOU about a library, yet both Fran Rabinowitz and Andre Baker just shared our law firm had reviewed the MOU to allow Mayor Finch to bill the BBOE for $2.3 million in services without any BBOE approval. You could hear crickets. Fran Rabinowitz’s cheeks turned bright red, Andre Baker just had a sheepish grin and Hernan Illingworth sat there completely dumbfounded.

    Here we have the very same BBOE members who spent $50,000 on two RFPs for superintendent search firms, and then made a decision to extend Rabinowitz’s contract by not one year, but two without any notice or input from the public, therefore flushing $50,000 in taxpayer funds down the drain, and now they are devastated by a $1,000 legal expenditure to review an MOU.

    Remember, Hernan Illingworth and Kenneth Moales Jr. voted to spend $50,000 of taxpayer funds to pay for Vallas’ legal defense even though he was sued in a personal capacity and the BOE was not even a named defendant.

    You are so right, Howard. Hypocrisy was definitely in the air last night.

  • Follow the Money

    A Better Connecticut, another oxymoron name of a PAC similar to People for Excellence in Government, never included their Looney Tune as an expenditure in their SEEC report.

  • Lisa Parziale

    OMG, that will teach Howard Gardner not to ever be considerate to these ingrates!

  • Bob Walsh

    Let’s see what the Edukation Mayor has to say about that!!!

    New charter schools approved to open next fall in Bridgeport and Stamford would not be funded under the state budget advanced Monday by the Legislature’s Appropriations Committee.

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