Caruso “Blindsided” By Removal Of Columbus Statue

In Bridgeport the cultural wars continue.

Behind the scenes former State Rep. Christopher Caruso and ex two-term Mayor Lenny Paoletta engaged in multiple conversations with community leaders supportive of scrubbing the statue of Christopher Columbus from Seaside Park to reach some common ground.

Caruso said progress was being made then he was “blindsided” by Mayor Joe Ganim and even City Councilman Jorge Cruz who had initially called for the statue to be taken down then reversed himself in support of a community dialogue.

“Jorge Cruz is out there pretending he took the statue down when he agreed to back off from taking it down and have a conversation,” says Caruso. “Ganim blindsided me after agreeing to let the dialogue play out. The Italian community that has done a lot for this city through philanthropy is being disrespected.”

Monday afternoon when Caruso believed discussions would continue the statue was removed.

“A lot of emotional decisions are being made across the country,” Caruso said. “I support Black Lives Matter but some people are hijacking the message to the detriment of others. We looked at this as a history-teaching moment to work together to create context that works for everyone.”

Caruso added that if Bridgeport has no plans to repurpose the Columbus statue, Shelton Mayor Mark Lauretti wants it in his city.

Caruso added this prepared statement:

In the current climate of national unrest, members of the Bridgeport Common Council and leaders in the Greater Bridgeport Italian-American community are determined to peacefully work together on sensitive issues that have potential to fracture the Bridgeport community. After a meeting initiated by Councilman Jorge Cruz with Italian-American representatives, the Councilman accompanied by colleagues Alfredo Castillo, Maria Pereira, Denese Taylor-Moye and Eneida Martinez, decided not to pursue the removal of the Christopher Columbus Statue in Seaside Park. Everyone agreed that after years of not only peacefully co-existing but supporting each other through cultural celebrations, community events and natural tragedies and disasters, it is important to continue a dialogue to find consensus on potentially divisive issues in order to continue to unite Bridgeport. Members of both groups agreed to meet again to discuss promising opportunities to work together on projects such as, but not limited to, honoring the legacies of other Bridgeport ethnic and community leaders.

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33 comments

  1. I copied and pasted my comment from last month.

    Perhaps it is time to remove all remaining vestiges of the European population that made Bridgeport great.
    The ‘white flight’ began after WWII and appears to be complete.
    The Columbus Day Parade move to Shelton should be permanent.
    The Barnum Festival was started by leaders in local industry. The industry is gone and the Festival has fizzled. It had a good run.
    The days are numbered for the University of Bridgeport.
    Sacred Heart University was originally chartered in Bridgeport but changed its town of location to Fairfield.
    Even WICC moved out of Bridgeport.
    Move the statues of Columbus, Barnum and the Whitehead monument to other towns where they are welcome.
    Defund the Police.
    Close the remaining Catholic churches and give the property away.
    Don’t need no Caucasians here. (except to pay taxes)

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    1. Someone told me that Mario is so pissed about the removal of Columbus that he’s thinking about moving his restaurants out of Bridgeport.
      I’m a atterhere too!!!!
      Saluti!!!!!

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    2. *** You learn something every week on O.I.B. like caucasians are the only ones that pay taxes in Bpt.?*** In these new pandemic & civil-unrest changing times where everyone may not agree with the sudden state & local political decisions about past historical signs, flags & statues because of there “real” close dark historical relationships to colonialism slavery, southern leaders & traitors who seceded from the Union of the United States of America, loyal followers of Jim Crow laws & anyone else or item that may have been considered some type of patriot from America’s past & honored all this time! Well, times they are a changing & all these (dark history) items that may have been on display at public places, government buildings & properties, etc. all need to be moved to a museum where those that “really care” can go view them. Along with many of the old American history books, (white-washed) by the daughters of the confederacy & many of the Jim Crow law’s followers, etc. As long as there are history museums in the U.S.A. , where people can go view & learn about (the good, bad & the ugly) real American history. Then now’s the time for the change; so its “out with the old & in with the new”, no??????????????

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  2. Tom: While there are those on this blog that disagree with you — even vehemently — about just about all of your politics/philosophical stances, your concrete observations, stated above, cannot be denied…

    Bridgeport, while still retaining the largest population in the state, is a “dead” city. There is virtually nothing left of our internal economy, cultural/artistic/historical attractions, or even hospitality and retail attractions… We are run and politically-controlled by out-of-towners/out-of-town interests… Nothing but a Gold Coast/suburban dormitory-servants quarters (and place to keep regional jails, hospitals/disease, energy-infrastructure, and sanitary/waste-disposal infrastructure…

    Now we have lost our University and will soon lose the Discovery Museum/Learning Center, et al…. We have no downtown, as such, though we like to pretend to have one (and there are those valiant business-persons/entrepreneurs trying to hang-on and reimagine a real downtown…).

    Job prospects are chronically bleak, with only low-paying jobs if there are any available at all.

    The illegal-drug trade (with open dealing in venery neighborhood in the city) is the largest employer in Bridgeport — and the only business paying a “living”-wage (to workers likely to be killed long before retirement age…).

    There is hardly any reason, beyond a family homestead (liable for unaffordable property taxes) for a young person — or any person — to stay here…

    Bridgeport is an economic-political Chernobyl..

    If the state is too weakly-led/weakly-governed to take over and oversee the remaking of this dead place, then maybe its population should just be assisted in relocating to more viable communities (though, these white/elitist communities wouldn’t want us…) and this place plowed under and environmentally-remediated/prepared for total resettlement… It is becoming increasingly unlivable in its present, COVID-DEPRESSION/politically incapacitated form…

    Goodbye Columbus! (maybe, good riddance?…)

    RIP Bridgeport?! What say you, Governor/Doctor Lamont… Do you want to see your largest city dead, and out of your misery, or do you want to try some heroic measures to save it?!…

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  3. Wow!!! I didn’t know anything about discussion were going on and then the rug was pulled out from Chris and Lenny. I’ll take the word of my good friend Chris Caruso over Mayor Ganim and Council member Cruz anytime every day.

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  4. There’s a history and a culture to this land. There’ve been people living here for tens of thousands of years before Columbus supposedly discovered America.
    Columbus shouldn’t be painted as a bold explorer to be celebrated, but rather as a war criminal who oversaw the genocide and enslavement of the Native American population. One can’t overlook a painful history of colonialism, enslavement, discrimination and land grabs that followed the Italian explorer’s 1492 arrival in the Americas.
    “Learning about the history of Columbus allows us to make a connection between the painful history of his time in America and the ongoing marginalization, discrimination, and poverty that indigenous communities faced then and today.
    Removing this statue isn’t a slap in the face of Italians, instead it’s righting a wrong in American history that has lasted for over 500 years.

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    1. Day, if you want to be more accurate in Columbus history he was a bold explorer who discovered unknown land. He was a Jew who worked for the Spanish Crown who conquered a large po

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  5. Let’s face it,if the city didn’t take it down,just like in other locations throughout the country,eventually protesters would have ripped it down themselves and possibly destroyed it.
    Let’s just hope where ever it’s stored it;s under lock & key,we all know what happens to scrap metal in this city..

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  6. Let’s be somewhat honest here. Christ blindsided the Port when he pulled the parade from the city and moved it to Shelton.

    Jeff, not sure about Tom’s assessment though.

    Chris moved the parade out of the Port. Ron is willing to throw PT under the bus thought. But the days of UB has numbered 20 years ago and only stayed afloat by the Moonie and their foreign students, WICC no comment. Don’t listen to AM. However, there are issues to be made about policing. Have you seen the Bearsley Zoo Park arrest? Comrade Ron, should we get rid of the Zoo too that was inspired by PT when his circus animals would stay in the Port? While there’s a large Latino population in the Port who are Catholics that’s just “Tom White is White. In closing when did the Italians particularly the Southern Italians became white in Protestant America?

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  7. Based on this opinion, the perpetuated Italian myth of Columbus was the reason White Protestant Americans changed their mindset on Italians, becoming white. Now that Columbus statues and status is being removed From American history does this mean Italians are going back to their Mulatto ancestry roots? Even though Columbus was a Jew, Steve’s and Marcus’ people? Come on and Chris did abandon the Port, embrace Italian’s black ancestry? Personally I think it was Hollywood more than Columbus that gave rise to Italian’s whiteness. But that’s what happens what pop smoke a Tobet and pop quatalu. The Aliens are looking at Earth like it’s Crock-pot, mixing it up, making it spicy. 🙂

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R5v1u7ozNhE

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  8. I feel bad for Former Councilman , State Rep. and an outstanding member of his Italian Community etc etc. I totally understand his feeling of betrayal. Along with Leonard Paoletta one of my favorite Mayors that brought the concept of Steelepointe to life. those seeds he planted 40 years ago has at least started though at a snails pace. He and Caruso have for decades worked enthusiastically to assure that The Italian culture/Columbus Day Parade was exciting and successful. I am certain that Jay P., Johnny V. Luigis, Lebarca etc etc etc. Those that make Bridgeport great and contribute to every Council member in every corner of this city and their communities are devastating. I do not believe that any Italian are celebrating the atrocities associated with Christopher Columbus. Where does this end? Is this countrywide moment going to deliver Donald Trump another 4 years and destroy our country? I do believe this is a moment. I absolutely support the peaceful protesters. and I do believe change is coming. Maybe this statue can be moved to the Italian Community Center?
    As for the Ganim Administration quietly removing the statue, I will say this to Chris Caruso. I think the statue was removed knowing that people can be very disrespectful,. Better the statue be removed intact then defaced or destroyed. If we understand that the statue represents to many what the confederate flag represents to many . It becomes more palatable. I believe these statues need to find their way to a museum. They are works of art. They can give the history as we know it and the revised history as historians see it. Either way, The city protected the statue that most likely would have been sadly vandalized. I think this is also a very sad day for the Italian Community. I am sad for Chris Caruso. The feeling of betrayal sucks.
    It must have been painful to be so experienced and articulate Such a community supporter and feel that you were dismissed. As well as those that give give give give and give some more. I can not imagine the ramifications of whats happening but I am certain it can’t be good. I do believe Rowena White was most articulate in her comments in the Post. Sensitivity to the current shift in our culture and protection of the statue were key. It is what it is.
    I can only say the Italian Community in the 134th is very disappointed. I know this as we are in campaign mode and people are shocked. Chris Caruso is a favorite son here.

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    1. You are a foolish man- Did you know Christ was a Jew? Did you know he never changed his religion? What is your point??? You mentioned that a few times. For the record. I believe Christopher Columbus was in fact a Jew. I believe his goal was to find land for the Jews that were being Persecuted by the courts of Inquisition. I am sure Columbus’s life will still be further defined over the next Century. I am not a historian. Did you know Michael Angelo, Leonardo Da Vinci, Alexander the Great and Tchaikowsky were Homosexuals? I know that- who the hell cares. Columbus a Jew? BFD. This Post was about the removal of a statue. Christopher Caruso and betrayal. Not about conspiracy theories.

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      1. Just was in our history books that Colombus was a Jew. Do you think most Italians knew he was a Jew or Cruz,Day,Ron knew if he was Jew? Jesus the Jew, didn’t change his religion he changed the religion. Did you know you Jewish religion condeamned and killed homosexuals? P.S this post was about the removal of Columbus’ statute who was Jew. Just wonder what else our books history books are not telling. Maria you are a smart woman. Did you know Columbus wad a Jew? Oh, that’s right you are banned , don’t answer that.😂

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  9. This was in today’s Wall St Journal…Seems reasonable to me:
    “Meanwhile in the Big Ten, there’s a new leader on campus. Amanda Hoover writes at NJ.com:

    Jonathan Holloway, who last week became the first Black president in Rutgers University’s 254 year history, said he has no plans to change the school’s name, which honors a man who owned slaves…
    “The reason we’re not going to change the name is that names have value that exceed someone’s existence,” Holloway said.
    “If I were to walk around feeling bludgeoned by every name I see, I couldn’t get out of bed… My existence, my humanity, my complexity, cannot be reduced by the fact that Rutgers was a slave owner, that he could not imagine me,” Holloway said. “That’s his problem.”

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  10. The midnight creeper, Little Stevie A. is back on OIB, here are his last two post July 8, 2020 at 12:14 am and July 8, 2020 at 2:52 am. As we all know that Stevie A can NOT post on OIB during City business by Mario Testa. Did you notice his kiss ass comment in support of Mayor Ganim in breaking off the discussion with Chris Columbus, Stevie A still doing Mario’s what Mario wants.

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    1. Ron Mackey, Do you ever get tired of being redundant. We get it – you don’t like Joe and you don’t like Mario and you don’t like me. Can you just get over it. Seriously, You make yourself look like a clown.

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      1. Stevie A you are the perfect example of what the DTC is all about, if someone keeps their mouth shut and follow the directions given to you and always praise little Joe and little Mario then you to have a good chance of getting a good paying City job just like you Stevie.

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  11. Denis OMalley, you hit the nail right on the head when you said, “the first Black president in Rutgers University’s 254 year history.” His black ass better not walk in the door and suggest a name change for this fine institution of higher learning. I can assure you that this isn’t a surprise in the Black Culture. ☻☻

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    1. Well, my wife works for the president of Rutgers university and she’s told me that Mr. Holloway is a fine individual who she is honored to work with. Her only hope is that he heeds her advice when it comes to real estate matters UNLIKE the foolish Bridgeport zoning board members who went against her recommendations when it came to regulations and zoning laws regarding the Defilippo liquor store issue.
      Mr Holloway obviously did not let ANYTHING, including social injustices against the black race from standing in his way of achievement. That is why he is an admired individual and now leads one of the largest and most diverse public learning institutions in the country.
      Cheers!!!

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  12. Day, if you want to be more accurate in Columbus history he was a bold explorer who discovered unknown land. He was a Jew who worked for the Spanish Crown who conquered a large portion of newly land. But, lets not forget the black race involvement. The black race may not have discovered the Iberian peninsula or the Italian peninsula but they conquered it leaving a mix race of people who you are speaking of. That being said,comrade, why don’t you and you conrade Ron, ask BLM to march on the black churches to have them removed? As will as all the Latin Countries to abandon their religion that came with the jew’s discover? P.S. please be vocal on condemning the black race for their atrocities of land they conquered and occupied for thousand of years. J.S

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  13. Ron Mackey, Do you ever get tired of being redundant. We get it – you don’t like Joe and you don’t like Mario and you don’t like me. Can you just get over it. Seriously, You make yourself look like a clown.

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    1. Stevie A you are the perfect example of what the DTC is all about, if someone keeps their mouth shut and follow the directions given to you and always praise little Joe and little Mario then you to have a good chance of getting a good paying City job just like you Stevie. Stevie A, remember what you said about yourself, that you are the superstar of OIB, you are truly a legend in your own mind.

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  14. Stevie A you are the perfect example of what the DTC is all about, if someone keeps their mouth shut and follow the directions given to you and always praise little Joe and little Mario then you to have a good chance of getting a good paying City job just like you Stevie. Stevie A, remember what you said about yourself, that you are the superstar of OIB, you are truly a legend in your own mind. Stevie, you are the poster boy on how to get ahead in the DTC and others can learn from what you are doing to get a good paying City job, kissing ass does work, right Stevie.

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