Countdown To Mayoral Primary

2015 Dem primary
Wednesday’s citywide ballot sans council candidates.

Two days left until 40,000 eligible Democrats head to the polls to choose Bill Finch, Joe Ganim or Mary-Jane Foster for mayor as well as candidates for city clerk, town clerk, school board, sheriff and City Council. The ballot pictured, featuring citywide candidates, is for districts without primaries for City Council. In districts that have City Council primaries, 130, 131, 132, 137 and 138, the candidates appear last on the ballot following city sheriffs. Polls for Wednesday’s primary are open from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Council candidates running on Finch’s line: 130th District, Katie Bukovsky, Scott Burns; 131st District, Jack Banta, Denese Taylor-Moye; 132nd District, Evette Brantley, John Olson;  137th District, Milta Feliciano, Aidee Nieves; 138th District, James Morton, Melanie Jackson.

Council candidates running on Ganim’s line: 130th District John Marshall Lee and Tyisha Toms; 131st District Jorge Cruz; 132nd Bob Halstead and Lisa Parziale; 137th District Juan Hernandez and Maria Valle; 138th District Anthony Paoletto and Nessah Smith.

Teresa Davidson in the 137th District and Charles Hare and Julia Concepcion in the 138th District petitioned onto the ballot and will be on Mary-Jane Foster’s line.



  1. The Democratic primary is in two days. Historically the Democratic primary in Bridgeport has decided the mayoral election held two months later. This year’s primary is not going to be a bellwether event. There are too many names on the general ballot, for one thing. Neither of the two front-runners has an impressive resume.

    Bill Finch was endorsed (for the primary, not the general election) by the editorial board of the Connecticut Post. Michael Daly, et al., cited the progress that has been made under Finch, from finally breaking ground at Steel Point to building new schools, etc. His flaws are just as well known; in some ways his character deficiencies outweigh his accomplishment.

    As a man Bill Finch has shown an appalling lack of self-control. His anger management issues are well known. His hostility toward the University of Bridgeport is a good example. The reason for this hostility most likely stems from the fact his employment there was terminated because he rarely showed up for work and when he did he didn’t do much work. An incident, noted by the Connecticut Post’s rather tepid endorsement, is also troubling: Mr. Finch, angered that a City Council vote did not produce the desired result, physically assaulted a Council member.

    Mr. Finch has underfunded the Bridgeport public school system, rated the worst in the state of Connecticut. With a dropout rate of 48% it’s not difficult to see why. (The mayor himself has shown a lack of faith in Bridgeport’s public education system by enrolling his children in charter schools.)

    For a chief executive who has boasted his administration is transparent, Mr. Finch has shown an appalling disregard for the people of the city of Bridgeport’s right to know what’s going on in their town. Withholding police reports, in violation of FOI and public-records laws, is Bill Finch’s way of thumbing his nose at the news media.

    His claims “Bridgeport is the safest it has been in 40 years” is just so much horseshit. The police department’s staffing levels have fallen so precipitously, public safety is being compromised. The gun buyback program, sold as an effective way to take firearms off the streets, has not had any effect on the level of gun violence. The fact of the matter is there have been eight reported shootings since the last round of weapons purchases, one of them fatal. Who is the mayor trying to kid?

    The Finch administration’s antipathy toward the poor, the welfare class and minorities is plain to see. The “boot and tow” program is a case in point. Intended to collect outstanding automobile taxes, the program reaps little if any revenue for the city’s coffers. Instead, poor, mostly black drivers are being punished for owing as little as $100, their vehicles booted, towed and sold at auction or for spare parts. When confronted about the inequities of this program, Mr. Finch responded “Those people should learn to pay their taxes.” (The only person to have benefited from the “boot and tow” program was Charles Valentino, a former state marshal who was arrested last June and charged with a total of 39 counts of forgery, fraud and criminal impersonation.)

    This is the man endorsed–for the Democratic primary, not the general election–by the Connecticut Post.

  2. I’m not terribly keen on Joseph P. Ganim, either. He did accomplish a few things in office; keeping taxes down was not one of them, although he likes to take credit for something the state of Connecticut did. A few of the projects Bill Finch has taken credit for–Steel Point, the new high school to be constructed on the former GE property (land contaminated with industrial pollution)–were begun during Ganim’s tenure. Mr. Ganim can justifiably take credit for lowering crime, beautifying the city and a few other things.

    The fact of the matter is Joseph P. Ganim is a felon, convicted of racketeering, corruption, filing false tax returns and betraying the public’s trust. We believed in him and he was charging for bribes by the square foot. He did get up in front of the Shiloh Baptist Church congregation on New Year’s Day 2015 to admit he broke the law. Since that admission,  Mr. Ganim has stuck to a milder “mistakes were made.”

    I for one have not seen or heard a sincere expression of remorse for his crimes. He was a crook, maybe still is. During his trial he took the witness stand and lied. Mr. Ganim was extremely fortunate he was not charged with perjury. He was convicted and sentenced to nine years in prison, a harsh penalty, but he did lie on the witness stand. He also lost his license to practice law.

    In 2012 a three-judge panel denied Mr. Ganim’s request to restore his license, citing his lack of remorse. Two years later the Superior Court upheld the earlier decision: “The defendant’s failure to either explain, or acknowledge any responsibility for, his extensive criminal wrongdoing,” the court wrote in a 26-page ruling, “or to express remorse for that wrongdoing, was a highly relevant consideration in the particular reinstatement proceeding in the case.” In Ganim’s defense there was an appeal of his conviction wending through the federal court system. An expression of remorse would have had a negative effect in that proceeding. His appeal was turned down. Either way he should have waited on the appellate ruling before applying to be reinstated to the bar. 


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