Council Accepts Troll’s Apology

What happened to the old days when we had the Monday Night Fights?

Everyone was adult-like, on good behavior. No threats, screaming, yelling. Good grief. What’s the world coming to? Civility on the City Council. The city’s legislative body accepted an apology from councilman Bob Walsh to his district partner Evette Brantley and the city as a whole Monday night after he had berated her in a racially charged phone message following her support of Mayor Bill Finch’s Steel Point development agreement.

The council took no formal action against Walsh beyond resolving to accept his apology and seeking a diversity training program for all council members. Roughly 100 people attended the City Council session, some supporters of Brantley, some supporters of The Troll who say despite his passionate call to Brantley he’s no racist. In the end, following a heartfelt apology, that too is essentially how Walsh’s council peers voted. In fact, a number of council members told OIB they wished this issue had been settled privately between Brantley and Walsh. Technically, the council session was a committee meeting of the whole that moves on to the next council session for final ratification.

The issue made its way to the council for action a few months ago after Brantley shared the phone message with City Council President Tom McCarthy who turned over the message to the City Attorney’s Office for guidance on what authority the council had in such a situation. The City Charter provides sanction authority to the council for members that get out of hand, including office termination. Walsh’s lawyer Max Medina claimed in a letter to John Mitola, the city staff attorney handling the case, that the council has no removal authority over one of its members because city ordinance is superseded by state law that provides no such provision.

The evening began with the playing of Walshs phone message in which he scolds Brantley for submission to her “masta” and then a subsequent phone call in which he apologized. Walsh is white, Brantley is black.

It was then Evette’s turn to speak and she told a council audience of roughly 100 “What happens to a human being after they have been confronted after racism has raised its ugly head? As for me, having experienced racism raising its head, I am hurt, I feel betrayed and belittled. I am shocked to know that my City Council colleague, Robert Walsh, would venture out to make a mockery out of my ancestors, my culture and the people we represent. Simply because he felt that he needed to have control over me and who I extended thanks to because they stepped up to the plate and agreed to enhance the economic development of the city of Bridgeport.”

Evette was referring to Robert Christoph, developer of the 52-acre urban renewal project. Walsh criticizes his district partner in his phone message for visiting a Christoph development in Miami, as did several of her council peers. Evette complimented the support she had received from Mayor Bill Finch who condemned Walsh’s comments, as well as thanking McCarthy for the handling of her complaint.

Walsh followed Brantley with a heartfelt apology saying it was not his intention to hurt. He also, at the urging of Brantley, apologized to the citizens of Bridgeport and entire city. “Apology accepted,” said Evette. The audience cheered.

Check out two audio files below from the Monday night meeting. The first is Walsh’s initial call to Brantley followed by an apology that she felt was half-hearted.
{running time: 2:16}

The second audio file starts with Brantley’s speech, followed by Walsh, and remarks from McCarthy and council member Warren Blunt. A number of council members spoke urging the acceptance of the apology and to move on to city business. The audio is not perfect because of the council chamber’s challenging acoustics.
{running time: 17:12}

News release from Ned Lamont


Businessman Ned Lamont, potential candidate for Governor of Connecticut, announced today that his exploratory committee will report raising $77,224.15 in the fourth quarter fundraising report covering the period from the committee’s formation on November 4th to the end of 2009.

“I am humbled by the hundreds of grassroots supporters and small donors who continue to urge me to explore a run for Governor,” said Lamont. “It’s clear that Connecticut voters are eager for new leadership that won’t accept the status quo, that won’t be tied to entrenched special interests in Hartford, and that will be able to put our state back on track.”

Lamont, an entrepreneur and the 2006 Democratic nominee for United States Senate, established an exploratory committee for statewide office on November 4th, 2009. Despite a relatively late start compared to other potential candidates and the challenges of fundraising during the holiday season, Lamont was able to raise $77,224.15 from 658 donors between November 4th and December 31st. The average contribution was $117. Of the contributors, 495 were Connecticut residents and 343 are considered “qualifying contributions” under state finance laws.

The Lamont 2010 Exploratory Committee followed SEEC guidelines for participating candidates in the Citizens Election Program in the fourth quarter of 2009 by limiting contributions to $375 per individual and by refusing all contributions from lobbyists and state contractors. The committee also refused to accept all political action committee contributions.

From Michael Fedele

Lt. Governor Michael Fedele Raises Over $67k In Less Than One Month

Lt. Governor Michael Fedele, Republican candidate for Governor in 2010, announced today that his committee raised $67,073 in qualifying funds since forming his campaign for Governor on December 3, 2009. In less than one month, Fedele received qualifying contributions from 729 individuals representing more than half of Connecticut’s cities and towns. The Fedele Campaign Committee is limited to accepting contributions of $100 or less, pursuant to the state’s new campaign finance law.

“The overwhelming response my campaign for Governor has received since I made my announcement is very encouraging. It is gratifying to enjoy statewide support not only from supporters who believe in my campaign, but also from the many elected and community officials who have endorsed me,” said Fedele who noted that he has already received 53 endorsements of government, community and business leaders throughout Connecticut and will release a third round of endorsements tomorrow.

“People are not only helping by donating to my campaign, but they are developing key grassroots support by discussing my candidacy with their neighbors and friends. I look forward to continuing my conversation with the citizens of Connecticut about the challenges facing our state and my vision for rebuilding our economy by creating new jobs and putting people back to work.”

Happy Birthday Ms. Mo

Hey everyone, it’s my wife Mo’s birthday today. Yeah I know, what is she doing with a mug like me? I’m still trying to figure that out!



  1. Well the common council went through their dog and pony show last night. Let me get this straight. Didn’t Walsh apologize to Brantley after he left the message? Yes he did. Did Brantley accept the original apology? No she did not.
    This seems to be a chance for Brantley to be in the spotlight and in the papers for an extended period of time.
    This is just another example of the lack of leadership on the council. Instead of settling this thing in a civil manner Bridgeport gets painted with another black eye and for what? Nothing. The gang of 20 went through the motions and that was it.
    Did I want Walsh punished? No I did not. I felt his original apology was sufficient and the city should have moved forward.
    McCarthy for Gods sake grow a pair and start leading this council stop trying to appease everyone. You will be facing some tough decisions shortly like tax increases for us long-suffering Bridgeport residents, layoffs or shorter work weeks for career employees and such. We need a leader not a puppet. You have stayed quiet during this period when Finch and Company have hired all of these politically connected people and laid off or trumped up charges against career employees. Where are you going to stand when the next tax increase is proposed and you know that is coming?

  2. I think the matter was handled rather well. That “a diversity training program for all council members” will be sought is a big step forward in the city’s governance. The Bridgeport City Council is an elected legislative body but its members are not paid beyond the $9,000.00 annual stipend that a few of them tithe to Mario Testa. All members represent clearly defined districts. Each district has its own needs and concerns. The City Council is also charged with looking after the needs and interests of the entire city. It’s unfortunate that the one-party rule (the “corrupt political machine,” in State Representative Christopher Caruso’s inimitable phrase) has been able to divide the city into separate fiefdoms that only serve the needs of a few.

    Modern culture tends to divide society into upper or lower classes. This is a relatively recent development: prior to the agricultural revolution we were divided into hunter-gatherer societies. Egalitarianism is an accurate description of these societies. According to Wikipedia, egalitarianism “is defined either as a political doctrine that holds that all people should be treated as equals and have the same political, economic, social, and civil rights or as a social philosophy advocating the removal of economic inequalities among people.”

    That sounds okay to me.

    1. Neither the City Council nor City Hall has dynamic, forceful leadership. With the notable exception of Chris Caruso, no one is willing to step up to the plate to take charge of Bridgeport for the good of the people of the city. I’m venturing a guess that Mario Testa doesn’t want strong leadership in the Mayor’s office or the City Council’s chambers. It wouldn’t serve the interests of his sport.

  3. Well, I’m tired and so weary
    But I must go along
    ‘Til the lord will come and call, call me away, oh yeah
    Well the morning’s so bright
    And the Lamb is the light
    And the night, night is as black as the sea, oh yes

    (There will be peace in the valley for me, some day)
    There will be peace in the valley for me, oh Lord I pray
    (There’ll be no sadness, no sorrow, my Lord,
    no trouble, trouble I see)
    There will be peace in the valley for me

    Well the bear will be gentle
    And the wolf will be tame
    And the lion shall lay down, down by the lamb, oh yes
    And the beasts from the wild
    Shall be led by a child
    And I’ll be changed, changed from this creature that I am, oh yes

    (There will be peace in the valley for me, some day)
    There will be peace in the valley for me, oh Lord I pray
    (There’ll be no sadness, no sorrow, oh my Lordy, no trouble, trouble I see)
    There will be peace in the valley for me, [for me]

  4. enlightened, is the lion Chris Caruso and the lamb Finch? Brings to mind terrible images, and I don’t mean the Thomas Kincade painting. If Bridgeport continues to bog itself down in this kind of minutia nothing will get done. Everyone who is complaining should be thinking of concrete things to do, whether you support Finch, Caruso or anyone else.

    Also, I have a question … what does Mario want other than to have a packed house slurping linguine? Does anyone really aspire to manipulation the strings on Bridgeport’s Pinocchio puppets? Does anyone think there any deals to be cut with the “all” those developers rushing to build? In today’s no-privacy arena (with the help of OIB) and the long history of FBI interest can anyone get away with anything? Hell, we have a council in a twist because of an unthinking remark, we have access to messages left on an answering machine, City Hall is full of people who hate the current administration, nothing is secret. Does anyone really think this cast of characters can even pull off any stunts? It is a sad truth that many elected officials who are competent and get things done are more likely to be involved in corruption and many get away with it because they are smart and effective. I don’t see any great threat of that in this case.

  5. John: Other than bagging Ganim and a few of his friends and Ernie Newton what other corruption have they uncovered? None. That’s not to say that corruption doesn’t exist. I agree with your last paragraph. These guys in power are definitely the gang that could not shoot straight.

  6. “Bridgeport Now” Tue Jan 12 at 8pm on Ch 88 and on

    We will discuss local issues, and also have on a Native American artist.

    Hope for Park City?
    Recently, looking for someplace different for vaca, and frustrated with our city that is stuck and struggles to move forward, I visited a city with similar problems.

    Going to Medellin maybe was as frightening as someone from Darien coming to Bridgeport. The Colombian city was once the world’s most dangerous, host to a vast criminal organization and violence.

    However, Medellin developed policies that improved the economy, security, improved education and even promoted the city as a tourist destination. Can we learn anything? If Medellin can do it, why can’t we? Can we get back to business here and get beyond what is currently going on?

  7. johnb:

    A Kincade image is pretty hilarious.

    Nothing is getting done except the aforementioned land deal that got Walsh so ticked. Being angry at Walsh makes the mayor feel righteous. Since there is no public hanging in Connecticut the mayor can pull his best Cotton Mather imitation without the expense of building a gallows.

    Walsh apologized. Doesn’t mean a damn thing to Finch even though most people want to accept it. The mayor and McCarthy get to throw mud at Walsh and hide behind American orthodox liberal white guilt.

    1. All the while not much is being accomplished for the benefit of the people of the city of Bridgeport. Mayor Finch is on the record as saying that the city needs to generate tax revenue to cover an ancient budgetary shortfall, among other things. (Regarding the purchase of the Black Rock Bank & Trust Co. building at 2838 Fairfield Avenue–until recently the building was unlawfully occupied by Joe “Snake oil, anyone?” Celli and his “nonprofit” arts group–the Mayor said “I’m expecting someone who can make the requisite repairs and who can pay taxes and bring in jobs.” There was an RFP process on the property, a developer was selected and … they backed out, for some reason that City Hall has declined to share with the public.

      If Mayor Finch is a policy wonk, it would make better sense for him to run for a different office. His political skills come up way too short in a leadership role.

    2. Not on topic but related:

      Nevada Senator Reid’s previous comments regarding President (then U.S. Senator) Barack Obama’s electability (Mr. Reid was quoted in a newly published account of the 2008 Democratic presidential campaign that Mr. Obama could become the country’s first black president because he was “light-skinned” and had “no Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one”) bear some similarities to Councilman Walsh’s remarks. While insensitive, Mr. Reid was merely voicing something that more than a few people were thinking. The GOP’s attempting to compare it to former Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott’s defense of former Senator Strom Thurmond’s racist philosophies. Thurmond ran for President of the United States in 1948 on the Dixiecrat, or States’ Rights, ticket. Lott said: “When Strom Thurmond ran for president, we voted for him. We’re proud of it. And if the rest of the country had followed our lead, we wouldn’t have had all these problems over the years, either.” (Thurmond had based his presidential campaign largely on an explicit racial segregation platform. Lott had attracted controversy before in issues relating to civil rights. As a Congressman, he voted against renewal of the Voting Rights Act, voted against the continuation of the Civil Rights Act and opposed making Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday a federal holiday.) Hardly an accurate assessment.

      Mr. Walsh’s chastising comments were clearly thoughtless. The Committee of the Whole meeting was able to turn the incident into a positive. The entire council must undergo racial sensitivity training, which might lead to all of them becoming more sensitive to the needs of the people of the city of Bridgeport.

  8. Kid:
    While talking about Walsh, they are not talking about the budget and what else. (Including the girls’ jail, as much as possible.)
    Like the wizard says, “Ignore that man behind the curtain!”
    This has less to do with policy wonk, I think.

    1. Less to do with policy (and whatever else gets wonked in the City Hall Annex) than a lack of direction and focus. The city of Bridgeport is not going anywhere. How can Mayor Finch be described as a leader when the city is only floating with the tides?

  9. “Hey everyone, it’s my wife Mo’s birthday today. Yeah I know, what is she doing with a mug like me? I’m still trying to figure that out!”

    Yeah Lennie, a coffee mug in the freezer is hotter than you. Happy Birthday Mo.

  10. I see the irony, in that Bob Walsh, the first white Bridgeport elected official to publicly support Barack Obama during the Connecticut Democratic Presidential primary, was forgiven, due in part by Obama’s example of forgiveness.

    1. Well, he ought to be punished somehow. How ’bout we make him wear a dunce cap and write “I’m a little fucking asshole” on a blackboard 500 times?

  11. *** It’s water under the bridge already & time to let the Walsh debacle go! Far too many foxes in sheep’s clothing up here in the North; down South it’s known exactly who the wolves are when it comes to race relations, etc. No need for smoke & mirrors with reflections of smiling faces like here in the North. In other words, diversity training in reality is a waste of taxpayers’ money but makes for good political P/R. *** And last but not least, a “Happy Birthday” to Ms. Mo! ***

  12. Diversity training does make for good public relations. It could also have some positive impact on the governance of the city.

    Mayor Finch and his major domo, Adam “Pecker” Wood, ought to take anger management training.

  13. Haven’t been here in a while … on OIB. Greetings. I signed in with my new fun alias and received a military grade password. Good thing it was changeable, or I would have to do nothing else but remember it. I am surprised some believe that just because you wish racial words were ignored or didn’t matter, they would just dissolve over coffee. That’s a long way from reality kids … Speaking of kids, hey Bridgeport, if a record were broken completely in half, would you still keep playing it? Much Love, still.


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