Caruso’s Cafe Encounter With Marilyn Moore Forges A Ticket

The ticket: Alma Maya for city clerk, Chris Caruso for town clerk, Marilyn Moore for mayor.

Unexpected political thrills occur organically. They don’t often happen by design, although design can also boost campaign enthusiasm. Sometimes they can happen over a conversation in a cafe.

On Thursday State Senator Marilyn Moore’s campaign for mayor received a needed jolt of juice landing two-time mayoral contender Chris Caruso as the candidate for town clerk and recruiting Alma Maya, who recently retired from Mayor Joe Ganim’s payroll, for city clerk rounding out a top-of-the-ticket.

For Moore’s camp the plan may have been simmering for a while but organically it did not come together until a few days ago. Little things in life matter including trusted relationships. In 2008 Moore challenged party-endorsed Anthony Musto in a Democratic primary for State Senate. She came up short. Caruso, then a State House member, supported her. Six years later Moore did the improbable knocking off incumbent Musto in a primary. Caruso supported her bid, albeit quietly on the state payroll appointed by then Governor Dan Malloy. Appearances must be kept.

Who’s Chris Caruso? Some history:
In the early 1980s Caruso was an old head on a young body, a gifted public speaker, a few years removed from Notre Dame Catholic High School, elected to the City Council. He was a stick-in-the-eye to authority and built his prestige that way, damn the consequences. He was the lightning rod of city politics. To compare think school board Maria Pereira, although Caruso will argue he’s a bid more practical than the self-styled piranha of city politics.

Long story short, Caruso railed against back-door deals that could have as easily come out in the open. If Caruso was on your side you loved it; if he was against you oh my, the prehistoric noises from the establishment.

In 1986 he actually served one, two-year term as Democratic Town Chair. It was not a fit for the times. A few years later he defeated incumbent State Rep. Bob Keeley in a primary to represent the 126th State House District. Caruso stayed there for 20 years surviving, handily, primary challengers recruited by Democratic Town Chair Mario Testa.

Along the way Caruso ran for mayor in 2003 finishing a close second in a primary to John Fabrizi who had assumed the mayoralty as City Council president when Ganim was forced from office following his conviction on federal corruption charges.

Fabs went on to win a four-year term in November. Gregarious with a connection to the ordinary voter, Fabs had his own issues such as cocaine usage that hit the front pages. The bigger blow, however, came in the spring of 2007 when he quietly walked into a court room seeking leniency on behalf a of man charged with sexual assault of a minor. The man was friends with Fabs son. The father stepped up for his boy. It cost him. Fabs didn’t count on Connecticut Post reporter Dan Tepfer sitting in the courtroom. The news cut across every demographic group in the city.

The Democratic Party conducted a poll. Fabs was toast against a Caruso candidacy for mayor. Party regulars persuaded Fabs to reject reelection. They recruited then-State Senator Bill Finch to step up. Why? A Caruso mayoralty would powerwash the political system. Can’t have that. They needed someone to beat Caruso.

The party regulars did just enough to eke Finch into office.

Caruso continued as the political watchdog. In 2010 he supported Dan Malloy for governor. Malloy won. Caruso received a state job backed by (holy cow) the establishment who wanted Caruso out of the way. (Please take him so he won’t torture us in another mayoral cycle.)

Caruso settled into his state job in the Department of Labor that has an office in Downtown Bridgeport.

So for the better part of the past decade the political warrior was largely disengaged from city politics. He retired a few weeks ago coupling his State House tenure with his Labor Department earnings for a pension.

Caruso’s passion for politics and government endured.

A call from Marilyn Moore. Let’s get together to catch up. Hello Crown Cafe in the North End. A few days ago Moore and Caruso sat down.

Caruso wasn’t expecting the question. How about joining my ticket? Whoa. I’m retired with a passion for the city, why not? A ticket marriage was made.

What does it mean in the larger picture?

Caruso supporting Moore on this level energizes her campaign in the short term.

The larger question becomes, how does the Moore camp contrast her opposition to Ganim, a supreme retail politician who will outspend her mightily?

Four years ago at this time Ganim was inspiring new voters to the polls to back his second-chance message. It worked.

It comes down to this: the argument must always be made, here’s why you should hire me and fire him.

Share

36 comments

  1. LOL, you rekindled my scout days. I quit while I was working on my eagle scout project because scouting wasn’t cool in the hood. One of my regrets from my youth.

    It may have taken some time but I’m proud to support Moore, Caruso, and Alma. Integrity and love for the city with an understanding of why we’re failing. So it’s game on and the best part is, the DTC and it’s rusty machine is slowly realizing just how unpopular Joe really is. They have an uphill battle as the other wave is gaining support. BTW, I”m happy for Maria P. and Suliman joining the fray. Bad news for the operatives.

    It’s a strong slate and let’s not forget my buddy Kyle Langan and his new partner. Kyle is wildly popular with constituents in his district for his hard work and transparency. Integrity matter and people are finally listening.

  2. I visited one of my favorite senior voters. She is a fiery, petite italian that tells it like it is. I want to be just like her if I make it to my eighties.

    She told me she found a piece of Ganim literature IN her mailbox, which is illegal, and was nice enough to pull it out of the trash.

    It is about the size of a 5 × 7 and on paper stock.

    The lies Joe Ganim will tell are as follows:

    “KEEP PROGRESS MOVING ON THE RIGHT TRACK.”

    ” this campaign is about how we build on our progress to develop our economy, create jobs, REDUCE TAXES, KEEP THE NEIGHBORHOODS SAFE, IMPROVE OUR SCHOOLS and make Bridgeport a place that attracts young people, families, and new businesses.”

    Can someone tell me how Mayor Ganim has the gal to talk about what he has done regarding taxes, crime, and especially our schools?

    I will now use his piece of propaganda to state the truth as I go door to door.

    Voters are very angry about their taxes. They have not forgotten Ganim’s 29 miles increase in 2016 that Nessah voted for.

    I am really spending time with all minority voters on Ganim’s failure to propose ZERO additional funds four four consecutive years and how Nessah has repeatedly voted to provide ZERO or minimal funds. I make sure that they understand our schools are 88% Black and brown, therefore Ganim is refusing to educate your children, grandchildren, nephews, nieces and more.

    I have spent time discussing the mismanagement of the BPD and Chief Perez overspending his OT budget by two million three consecutive years. I explain Captain Porter was significantly more qualified and lives in our neighborhood. Many actually read the CT Post editorial calling for Chief Perez to be replaced

    Interaction with voters has been pleasant and engaging. I just love the residents of Thomas Hooker. For the most part they are very welcoming and pleasant.

    1. Maria- I think you meant gall and not gal. Also it was a 29% mill rate increase not to be confused with miles increase. Your fingers must have done a lot walking the last few days. Thumb fatigue.

  3. A City Ordinance passed several years ago requires every elected official to fill out a residency form and submit it to the Town Clerk by January of every year. Evidence of your residency must be provided.

    In addition, an elected official that moves must submit a new residency form with the Town Clerk within 30 days of moving. Once again they must provide evidence of the new residence.

    As of today, City Councilwoman Karen Jackson has failed to fulfill the requirements of the ordinance.

    I don’t believe for one minute that Karen Jackson is a “bonafide” elector residing with in the 138th District.

  4. Both Alma and Chris are excellent additions to Mayor Moore’s ticket. When Chris was in the State Legislature and they were threatening to put an asphalt plant in the East End it was Chris and his people that went out there to demonstrate to stop this project because of its health affects on my people. Not the elected officials from the district, but Chris. As president of the Firebird Society we received an award at the NAACP annual Dinner and I used my time of acceptance to thank Chris and needless to say there was much consternation on behalf of some of those in attendance at my proclamation of thanks. I didn’t understand how the Black community wasn’t eternally grateful for the actions of Chris.

    I had the pleasure of meeting Alma through her husband firefighter Marcus and she was always kind, considerate and friendly and showed her love for the City of Bridgeport by her actions.
    Bridgeport, Mayor Ganim is alright as mayor, but don’t you deserve better than ALRIGHT?

    1. Don, let me follow up about asphalt plant, there were to be two asphalt plant, one at the foot of the Pleasure Beach bridge and the other asphalt plant on South Ave. in my backyard. It was State Rep. Chris Caruso who held meetings every Saturday morning at Conti’s Restaurant to discuss tactics and strategy on how to prevent those asphalt plant from being built. The health effects from exposure to asphalt fumes include headache, skin rash, sensitization, fatigue, reduced appetite, throat and eye irritation, cough and skin cancer. It was Chris who bought n experts to inform us about the health hazards to black and brown children in the East End and the South End. Let’s not forget that State Rep. Chris Caruso was not other State Rep and neither of our City Council members or Mayor Ganim said or did anything to help stop those two asphalt plant from being built.

      Don in the early 1980’s when Chris was a City Alderman, I didn’t like Chris Caruso because of a few comments that I read in the Post, so I wrote a letter to the editor about Chris. Well, one day at I was at the New Colony Diner and Chris was leaving and he stop and said to me that I misunderstood his comment and that at some point he would like to talked to me about it. Well, we did have a sit down and we became friends, then he became a State Rep and if I needed information about anything concerning State legislations Chris would mail it to me. It was Chris Caruso who really educated me about the DTC and the rules, regulation and the policy and the 90 members of the DTC, it Mary Bruce who first got me involve and Lisa Honey Parziale who was always in my corner.

      Don, you talk about a fighter, let me tell you Alma Maya and Willie Matos, former Young Lords People (YLP) leader in Bridgeport, when you saw those two together I knew that they were working on something positive, plus Alma has a very supportive husband in Marcus

  5. The way things fall into my lap are just amazing.

    I knew well over a month ago that Karen Jackson was about to be evicted from Nob Hill Condominium for non payment of rent.

    I called her three weeks ago because I heard she had been snuggling up to Mario Testa and meeting with him about running with Nessah Smith.

    I explained I knew she had been evicted and asked her where she was residing. I explained that if she was no longer living in the 138th District and serving on the City Council she would be violating the law

    She exclaimed she was living on Goddard Avenue near the German Club with a friend and that her 3 children were staying with a friend. I didn’t buy it for a second..

    I asked her if she was running for the City Council and she stated she was. I asked her who was she running with. She stated she was running by herself. I wanted to see if she would blatantly lie to me. I already knew she was meeting with Mario about running with Nessah Smith.

    As I stated previously, a city ordinance requires any elected official that moves to file a new residency form with the Town Clerk with evidence of residency within 30 days. As of Friday Karen Jackson has failed to do so.

    Today I was walking in Eastwood Condominium when one of my voters answered the front door. As I entered the dining area I could hear Karen Jackson speaking with another long term voter of mine who resides at the same residence. I simply move to the kitchen table to sit and speak with the initial voter. Karen Jackson just opens the back door, steps into the home, looks me up and down as if she is about to explode and says “really. really.” and then walks out.

    I thought this was incredibly inappropriate behavior in someone’s home.

    Prior to that I was speaking to a close friend of a lovely elderly voter I had known for years. She was explaining that a woman had moved in with her and that the women’s Volvo was ticketed by the BPD recently for failure to display plates.

    This surprising to me because this elderly voter has called me frequently about assisting with picking up her mail at her P.O. Box on Boston Ave., picking up grocery items, medicine and repeated noise complaints regarding her neighbors.

    I decide to stop at her home because she needs an AB, I was circulating my petition, and although I had left her a message a couple of weeks ago, she had not returned my call.

    This was unusual for her.

    Keep reading because this gets really good…

  6. I have to cross a parking lot and pass Karen Jackson without incident as she is speaking to a gentleman and his daughter.

    I arrive at this frail 78 year old woman’s front door. She had a terrible fall in 2018 and has had a long recovery with physical therapy and many doctors visits while moving with great difficulty using a walkee.

    I ring the door bell, and who answers the front door but none other than Karen Jackson’s youngest son. I was stunned and confused. I see voter registration cards and papers on the sofa and kitchen table.

    I look at this elderly voter who is one of the kindest and humble people you could ever meet. She is a lovely person.

    I ask her are Karen Jackson’s children living here. She responded “no.” I then ask is Karen Jackson living here. She responds “yes, she is staying with me for a little while.” I ask her where is your son. ” Is he aware that Karen is living here?” She states he was deployed to Kuwait and will not return for a month or two.

    Karen now enters through the back door and stands there with her hand on her hip hovering over us while we are speaking.

    I explain I had called her and left a message and she states she doesn’t remember receiving it. I know her memory and physical condition has been challenging.

    I was explaining that I had a relapse with my back and had been having pain and we discussed her health and physical recovery for a few.

    I explain that I am circulating a petition to gain access to the ballot. She appears uncertain because she promised Karen that she would sign her papers. I explain that Karen does not have a petition and that signing the petition gets me on the ballot. She looks back and forth at us and Karen Jasckson has the nerve to grant her permission to sign.my petition. I have known this voter since 2013 and introduced Karen to her in 2018. Who is Karen to grant this voter permission about anything?

    I further explain I am running against Karen. Karen states “she is only running for the City Council because she can’t win the Board of Education.” I simply respond that is not true. Don’t you.just love when someone who ran for the BOE twice and lost twice feels compelled to criticize someone who ran for the Board of Ed. twice and won twice?

    I then explain that I want to order her ballot due to her fragile health. She again looks at both of us. Karen then objects stating “now your interfering with my ekection” I am in the Twilight Zone. I state ” the ballot is hers. It is not yours or mine. She gets two choices for City Council. Neither you or I can be present when she fills it out, nor can we assist her.” Her son assists her as I showed him how to do it.

    I chat with the voter and explain I am feeling a bit better and that if she needs her msil or groceries picked up and can help her.

    Karen interrupts with “I’ll take care of that for her. She’s just being nice to you because she is using you for your vote. That’s what she does, uses people.”

    I state you behavior and comments are inappropriate in front of BLANK and whatever differences we have are not her concern, especially in her home.

    I then remind her of the city ordinance and that as of yet she had failed to file the required documents with the Town Clerk. She remained silent.

    Now the crescendo. Karen has the nerve to announce that I had to leave. I stated you don’t have the authority to demand anyone leave. You are not the unit owner, you are not on the Deed, and I highly doubt you have a lease.

    She repeatedly attempts to order me to leave. The poor elderly woman looks so distraught. It is for that reason I say my goodbyes and give the voter a hug.

    Karen literally is walking directly behind me as I exit. I was walking through the front door when she literally closed the door on me hitting me in the back. I pushed back on the door me and told her I was about to call the police. I just stated I was having issues with my back and this maniac hits me in the back with the door.

    I could see the elderly woman’ face and she looked so distraught. I just left.

  7. So let be clear, Karen Jsckson was evicted from Nob Hill Condominium on Virginia Ave. This elderly voter lives about 100 feet away in Eastwood Condominium.

    Karen Jackson took advantage of a 78 year old woman who is physically and mentally fragile. She has moved into this lovely woman’s home while her loving son is deployed in Kuwait.

    She appears to be attempting to control this woman who she barely knows and is in no way a relative or close family friend.

    Another neighbor told me about Karen’s Volvo being tagged by the BPD in the Eastwood Condominium parking lot adjacent to this elderly voters unit.

    I took several photos of the Volvo missing the plates and the BPD orange tow sticker Each unit owner gets one parking permit to hang in their rearview mirror. There is NO visitor parking. What did I find hanging on the Volvo’s rear view mirror? None other than the elderly woman’s sole parking permit.

    I doubt that Karen Jackson is contributing to this elderly voters common charges, utilities food costs and more. This elderly woman is on a fixed income. I believe that Karen Jackson is likely taking advantage of this elderly woman, whom has a heart of gold, in a variety of ways.

    I am going to have to connect with her son in Kuwait.

  8. If I were that elderly woman, I’d kick Karen Jackson out,change my locks, and never answer the door for either of you.The woman is sick and sounds frail,being respectful to both of you because she doesn’t want any problems,and here you two are arguing with each other in front of her.You both should just let her be and move on to other potential voters.

  9. Harvey, what right did Karen Jackson have to stand over us as the elderly woman and I chatted? I have been visiting her and assisting her for eight years.

    Karen Jackson was behaving like she was this woman’s mother. She repeatedly interjected herself into our conversation making inappropriate and snide remarks. It was I who could see that it was upsetting the elderly woman. That is why I made the decision to leave.

    However, I am not going to tolerate Karen Jackson shoving a door into my back? Would you?

    1. Maria, as soon as you saw Miss Jackson there,you should have simply said” I’ll call you later”, then perhaps set up a time to go back when Miss Jackson wasn’t there.Im sure that woman didn’t need the stress of you two in her apt sniping at each other.

  10. Maria, what did Johnson do to end up homeless,and in the situation she finds herself? Homelessness is not something that just generally happens, especially a city council member. It seems extreme for even Port politics, a city council seat. I would even say sides, but where’s her side. But then again a council vote is very important, right Port. #besteslclassever. #jmlpeopleneedtogettheirshittogether. SMDH.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kSSSPVPB4zI

    1. Homelessness is one paycheck away for a lot of people in the USA. IMHO,I think the one paycheck rule is even a greater factor in Bridgeport. Income Inequality has reach historical standards that may go back to the 1920’s and the Stock Market crash. This is not funny. This is a very serious subject. I feel uncomfortable condemning a person who has lost their home. That is a TRAGEDY.

  11. On a side note,BPT just had it’s 12 homicide surpassing last year’s total of 11. So,here we are in July with 6 months to go. When Joe Ganim ran 4 years ago he said, LOWER TAXES AND LOWER CRIME. Ganim has had 3 1/2 and his mayoralty has FAILED and Ganim deserves to be FIRED by the People of Bridgeport. BTW,things got tense between the BPT police and the crowd that had gathered at the homicide site.The BPT Police had to disperse the crowd. The BPT Police department has been Ganim’s pet project for JG2 and it looks like we have a Police Department that is not popular with the people of BPT. Is it possible that we are sitting on a powder keg?

  12. Maria, you made your point and now you need to move on because you are going into overkill, you don’t need a shotgun to kill a fly. Maria, don’t turn people away.

  13. I am just responding because I had a very long day on the campaign trail.

    First, the minute Karen Jackson was not a “bonafide” resident of the 138th District residing in a “dwelling” she was serving on the City Council illegally.

    Second, Karen Jackson had to be a “bonafide” resident and voter in the 138th District residing in a “dwelling” within the 138th District in order to be endorsed for City Councilwoman of the 138th District. What address was used on her DTC endorsement form?

    Third, Karen Jackson has become a squatter in an elderly 78 year old woman’s home. This lovely woman is mentally and financially fragile. I introduced Karen to this lovely woman because they lived about 100 ft. from each other, are both Jamaican, and I asked Karen to help her pick-up her Mail and groceries. She is completely taking advantage of this senior citizen while her loving and caring son is deployed in Kuwait. I highly doubt Karen Jackson is contributing to any of the household expenses while this elderly resident lives on a fixed income.

    Fourth, Karen has been financially unstable and asked me to loan her $3,000 in December 2017 to pay her rent due to an eviction notice. Karen left me with $1,200 in unpaid campaign debt after she failed to raise $1 in campaign funds for her own campaign in 2017. This was the Summer I was in the hospital for 5 consecutive weeks. I came to face the stress of that situation.

    In closing, those reading this should not be concerned about Karen’s and my differences. They should be concerned that Karen Jackson is squatting in a vulnerable senior citizens home doing who knows what. The reality is Karen Jackson has been using her taxpayer funded stipend in violation of the guidelines and likely the IRS requirements.

    What if she is doing something related to this elderly woman’s finances?

    Harvey, when I entered the elderly woman’s house Karen Jackson was not in the home. I was speaking with the elderly voter when Karen stormed in the back door and hovered over us with her hand on her hip. It was Karen making a scene, not me.

    I asked her to stop and she continued. I could see the elderly woman become distraught so I left.

    This in not appropriate behavior for any ordinary citizen, nevermind an elected City Councilwoman.

  14. And on another note: if Lennie decides to post the article about Testo’s chef who has been detained by ICE then we can comment on how Testo never helps those who would probably deserve assistance.
    More to come if the topic is posted.

  15. How do you support your daily upkeep? How you eat, transport from one location to another, secure a place to sleep at night and live during waking hours, provide for clothing yourself and then take care of wants and other needs???
    Aren’t these major questions as we look at the assembly of fellow citizens who are likely to run for office in 2019?? Conflicts of interest are a subject from long past with City Council persons having favorable positions with the City for employment, or other close family members in the same position. There is party leverage for voting and for keeping your oversight curiosity under control. (Thou shalt not embarrass the party or any political leader!!)
    When you consider candidates this year, take a look at their history and claims of honesty and integrity. Take a close look at how they support their living needs. And finally look at how they work beyond their own needs, respectful of the needs of brothers and sisters in the community, to support the weak and vulnerable.
    This campaign may get some folks to exercise their voting muscles. Voting by a majority of Bridgeport citizens will change the results and may re-set the City trajectory. Time will tell.

    1. John Marshall Lee, the bigger question is why should I vote for a candidate for mayor, what is it that they plan to if elected, what is their vision for Bridgeport and how will they accomplish that vision, are they honest and transparent and how will their actions effect me?

      1. Ron,
        Thank you. I have provided the words OPEN, ACCOUNTABLE, TRANSPARENT and HONEST many times on this site, as you and others well know. During this “second coming” of Ganim, I have asked frequently about his agenda and the priorities he is pursuing. That would deal practically with your wish to know about vision and methods in pursuit of vision. Hope that we can tell from all of that about visions, but perhaps not. Just got to look at some Capital planning numbers for the City and from them I cannot tell whether the Tiger project was contemplated but not articulated several years ago or whether a nightmare of Ganim2 awakened him and left him with a way to claw a few more votes with a furry and fuzzy topic?
        So Chris Caruso and you got together in person after you were initially not in agreement. Wonderful. Is it time for us to meet? You name it. Time will tell.

Leave a Reply