Craps At The Capitol, Plus: Education Candidates

Yikes. What happens if the Connecticut Legislature doesn’t approve the two-year moratorium Mayor Bill Finch wants regarding the city’s investment share in the pension fund for uniformed services?

I mean how do you make up roughly $20 million over that period? Can you feel the sweat forming on the foreheads of city bean counters?

The city seemed to be on track to win legislative support a few weeks ago when the State Senate approved the city’s proposal handily. The city is hoping that within two years the investment fund that has gone south in recent years will rebound as the market grows.

Then legislators in Bridgeport East (that would be Stratford) threw a grenade into the city’s plans with a stick-up job: we’re gonna tank this unless you guys in Bridgeport support a continued moratorium on airport safety zone improvements. The city-owned airport is located in Stratford and many Stratford pols won’t do anything to disturb the lifestyle of the Lordship neighborhood near the airport.

So now the city must either make peace with Stratford pols in the short term to get the measure passed, or face filling a major hole in the municipal budget year that begins July 1.

The challenge to the city is reviving a proposal during a special session of the legislature to approve a state budget. Believe it or not Hartford pols managed to deal the past five months with the death penalty, gay marriage and banning ownership of apes; but couldn’t agree on a new two-year budget.

If  House Speaker Chris Donovan says screw it, this special session is about the budget and only about the budget, the city is toast, even if it manages to strike a deal with Stratford.

And you thought they only played craps at Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods.

BOE Candidates

What are you hearing about potential candidates for Board of Education? Former State Senator Rob Russo’s on record running on the GOP side. On the Dem side I’m hearing retired Superior Court Judge Carmen Lopez, the first Latina to serve on the state bench in Connecticut, and former City Councilman Tom Mulligan may both run with two Dem slots available.

BOE members Max Medina and John Olson are filling out their final terms. Lopez and Mulligan would both be strong Democratic replacements. Carmen, never afraid to speak her mind, would make it fun. Then again, Max is not afraid to speak his mind either. Mulligan, smart, honest and measured, is one of the most decent people in city politics.

Party endorsements for the BOE, a citywide seat, will take place in July.

Check this out

The Society of Connecticut Sculptors, an association of sculptors whose work is derived from and inspired by the real world, is pleased to present a juried exhibit titled, “From Models to Monuments” through June 29th at the Barnum Museum, 820 Main Street, Bridgeport, CT.

The dictionary defines a monument as an outstanding and enduring achievement viewed as a model for later generations. The Society of Connecticut Sculptors has gathered original artists’ models of inspirational monuments in the United States for display.

Smaller scale versions of The FDR Memorial on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. by Neil Estern of West Cornwall and the U.S. Navy Memorial in Washington, D.C. and Virginia Civil Rights Memorial on the grounds of the state capitol in Richmond, Virginia by Stanley Bleifeld of Weston as well as the Holocaust Memorial, permanently on exhibit at Temple Israel in Westport by Steffi Friedman will be shown.

“The narrative for “From Models to Monuments” will describe the artist’s creative process from the attainment of a commission to the sculpture model and after many discussions, the installation of the final sculpture,” noted John Molloy III, president of The Society of Connecticut Sculptors.

“The SCS is fortunate to have access to nationally known sculptors generous enough to display their models (or maquettes) at this exhibit,” added Steffi Friedman, show chair and sculptor in the show. Ms. Friedman added, “The gallery at the Barnum Museum in Bridgeport is one of the best spaces available in the state to display the large pieces we will be exhibiting.”

A selected group of short descriptions of the sculptors and their work follows:

“For me, doing a public figure represents an exciting challenge, although it can be very daunting also,” said Neil Estern, in Current Biography (November 2008). Mr. Estern is responsible for the sculpture of Franklin Delano Roosevelt in the FDR Memorial on the Mall in Washington, D.C. Also, on display at the memorial is Estern’s life size statue of Eleanor Roosevelt. Estern, of West Cornwall, Connecticut, served as President of the National Sculpture Society from 1994-1996 and again in 2007-2008. Other Estern statues and busts include: President John F. Kennedy, Fiorello H. La Guardia, Danny Kaye, President Jimmy Carter, Frederick Law Olmsted (architect of Central Park).

A Weston, Connecticut resident for 35 years, Stanley Bleifeld, first burst on the scene with the 1964 World’s Fair Vatican Pavilion’s commission of a five-part bronze relief. A past president of the National Sculpture Society, Bleifeld was born in Brooklyn and attended Temple University. More recently, Bleifeld was selected from hundreds of American sculptors to create a national monument for the U.S. Navy in Washington, D.C. His larger than life sculpture, “Lone Sailor” was awarded the Henry Hering Memorial Medal of the National Sculpture Society. The process of conceptualization, modeling, sculpting, and casting went through five initial images, four different models (one of which will be shown), and well over a year of work before culminating in the unveiling at the formal dedication in 1987. Mr. Bleifeld will also exhibit the model of his most recent commission, “The Civil Rights Memorial” for the State of Virginia, installed on the capitol grounds in Richmond, Virginia.

Steffi Friedman, of Westport, Connecticut, is a sensitive and versatile artist, her focus is on originality, movement and emotion in both figurative and abstract sculpture working in many different media, including stone, bronze and cast glass. Represented in over a hundred public and private collections throughout the United States, important commissions also include “Holocaust Memorial” and a second Memorial “Rescue” for Temple Israel, Westport, CT, “Golda Meir” for the Federation of Jewish Philanthropies, in New York City and a Bicentennial Medallion for the state of North Dakota for the Danbury Mint. A teacher of sculpture for the past thirty-five years in Vermont and other locations, she has established a sculpture program for inner city, underprivileged, gifted high school students as part of MACH in Bridgeport, Connecticut. In recognition of her efforts, she received the 2008 “Pat Hart Award.” Ms. Friedman is a board member of the Society of Connecticut Sculptors, the National Sculpture Society, the International Sculpture Society and the Westport Arts Center as well as the chairman of the exhibit. “Never Again,” “Telephone World” and “Market Duell” will be exhibited.

Additional sculptors from the over thirty artists displaying their works will include Bruno Lucchesi-Ernie Davis; Wayne O. Southwick, MD-Basketball Players; Harold Wright-Acorns; Jules S. Shapiro, MD-Fibonacci’s Geometry; Norman Lagassie-The Eugene O’Neill Memorial; Ken Bujnowski-Gladiator; Denis Curtiss-Giraffe; Lloyd Glasson-The Caregiver; Eugene Daub-We Proceeded On(the Lewis & Clark Bicentennial Memorial at the Montana State Capitol) and Arnold Prince-Eagle.

The Barnum Museum, located at 820 Main Street in Bridgeport, is dedicated to the life and times of P.T. Barnum, has permanent exhibits on General Tom Thumb and Jenny Lind; a miniature circus; an Egyptian mummy; a Victorian palace; the people, places and products that put Bridgeport on the map and shaped the nation. “From Models to Monuments” will be held in the People’s United Community Foundation Gallery.

For more information about “From Models to Monuments” visit For Barnum Museum hours and admission, please visit

U S Navy Memorial in Washington, DC



  1. How to make up a $20 million problem? How about:
    * going after the big tax scofflaws
    * immediately consolidating government offices
    * cutting high-priced staff, especially redundant staff
    * outsourcing BOE custodial service

  2. Don’t know how the city will come up with the $20 million. The city council clearly does not have the balls to make the tough decisions. Most, not all, still answer to the little man on Madison Ave. which means hands off the political people, no matter how much they make or how little they do. Change is needed.

    Which leads me to the probable primary in TC’s district. I was at a barbecue yesterday with some people from TC’s district and they were talking about Curwen and his new running mate. I didn’t realize that it was Kevin the city painter (yes folks, another city employee on the council, just what we need). Although everyone agrees that Kevin is a nice guy, he brings nothing to the table. He is a party loyalist meaning that he works the pols and does what he is told. It is questionable how much he knows and understands about the real issues. My friends were also angry that district leader Martha pushed through the vote when most members of her tc wanted to think about it.

    It was suggested that Martha hold a “meet the candidates” night. Let the four candidates answer questions posed by members of their district. No setup, just questions from the audience. That way the people of the district can decide for themselves who the best qualified people are to represent them on the council. I’m sure Andy “TC” will agree.

  3. Lennie is the BOE vote a citywide vote? And will this be held over the summer or in November? And no primary in the Black Rock District, are you kidding me?!

  4. City Hall Smoker: I will say this, there was a rush or a push to get the vote completed. Two of the voting members were in favor of returning for another meeting after they had time to decide who they wanted to vote for. Martha was having none of this. I asked her what the rush was as we had until July to decide.
    I will say this that I was notified at 8:45 PM the night before the meeting that we would be meeting to discuss the upcoming DTC dinner and district issues. Ann & I did not know there would be a vote for endorsement that night.
    Ann and I left the meeting first and as I learned this AM the person that voted for Ann and me was taken to task for asking hard questions??? and for supporting Ann and me. If we had been there that would not have happened but they waited for us to leave.
    Ann & I will hold 3 open meetings during the course of this primary. We will spell out what we stand for and why there needs to be a change.
    We welcome any forum that would allow us to debate our opponents on neighborhood issues. We did not get into this primary because we did not like Bob or Kevin. We got into this primary because we are tired of watching our district deteriorate. We got into this because of the lack of response to real-life issues by our elected officials.
    BTW the question that seemed to mystify one of our opponents was “What would you do if you are elected to the council?”

  5. Kevin Monks is a very nice man. In my opinion he can’t compare to tc or the other candidate but isn’t that what the dtc wants … a nice guy who won’t make waves. Curwen doesn’t want someone who might show him up (please Bob, show some respect for your office and remove your hat in the council chamber). Mario doesn’t want someone who might question his power; and I think Finch is oblivious.

  6. Neither the Bridgeport City Council nor the Mayor’s office has the required levels of testosterone to take on any issues that are unpopular with the voters (or their handlers at the Democratic Town Committee). In the Mayor’s case, it’s about job security, a decent six-figure paycheck, etc. In the case of the mumbling heads on the City Council (no offense to the Troll or the handful of other decent types on the council) I don’t understand the reluctance to do something for the betterment of the city. They don’t get paid! That $9,000.00 stipend? Interesting how much of that money ends up in Mario Testa’s till.

  7. I believe a Mayor should condescend to take $125,000K not aspire to it. Can you say competence? It is sort of like George W. Bush, he was not successful in business and he was Governor by connections and we elected him President. Finch got elected the same way. He clearly had no pull in Hartford because most of the Legislature is against his pension bill.

    1. Hear, hear! The political system in Bridgeport is badly broken. Bill Finch got to where he now is by dint of a Pepsodent smile and well-honed political skills. He looks good at personal appearances, has good connections with the greater Bridgeport business community (meaning that he represents THEM as opposed to the rank-and-file voters that put him into the Mayor’s office), and has the blessing of Mario Testa, the kingmaker of Bridgeport politics.

      The Park City stinks like a whorehouse at low tide, to borrow a bit of motion-picture dialogue. Nearly half of all students attending Bridgeport high schools drop out. That’s appalling. The city is covered by a patina of litter–food wrappers, beer cans, soda and water bottles, crack vials, hypodermic needles, used condoms, etc. ad nauseum. Developers are reluctant to invest in Bridgeport, scared off by the endless parade of glad hands begging for green grease. Our legislators have no pull in the state capitol because everyone else up there knows with the utmost certainty that Bridgeport politicians are, with a few notable exceptions, a bunch of greedy self-interested crooks. Every elected official in Hartford, from Governor Rell on down, knows that political corruption in Bridgeport did not end when Joe Ganim and Ernie Newton and all the rest were sent to prison. The perpetrators simply became a little more discreet in their dealings.

      Chris Caruso had the right idea; he’s just the wrong man for the job.

  8. I was told today that the custodian involved in the light bulb for sandwiches caper was fired this morning. Maybe someone with a better source can confirm.

    1. The light sandwich man had a meeting with Larry (Trump) Osborne. Larry wanted the man to shed some light on the allegations against him. The light sandwich man said that the charges were Trumped-up. Larry (Trump) Osborne responded by saying, “You’re fired”.

  9. *** Promises, Promises, those kind of Promises! *** Great song to play during D.T.C. meetings & local elections in general, don’t you think OIB bloggers? ***

  10. CHS
    Twenty millon dollars and how to come up with it?
    Come on, open your eyes, ask Paul Timpanelli to earn his $2400.00 weekly pay and advise Bpt. on how to pull that off.
    I think he has a friend who owes the city that much.

  11. I spoke with some Democrats regarding the 138th Council endorsement. I was told that the 138th T.C. was prepared and offered Mr. Fardy the endorsement along with Bob Curwen. I was told that Fardy said “No”. Fardy wanted the endorsement along with his partner and did not want to run with Curwen.

    As for city hall smoker’s suggestion that Martha hold a “meet the candidate” forum so the people can ask questions. I would not go If I were town committee. What will town committee say when one of the people ask about the transfer of a house that the federal authorities were preparing to confiscate?

  12. *** Lennie: with all the crack-whip wannabe political & local current events reporters you have blogging on OIB, you could start your own part-time mini-news agency in Fairfield County! WOW, just add a Clark Kent/Superman type and you got a real live mini “Daily Planet”. ***

  13. Joel as is your wont you are wrong again. Let me straighten you out on what you posted. If you want to bring my family into this bring it on.
    First I was not offered the seat to run with Bob Curwen by the district members before I was committed to Ann Barney. Could I have had that seat? Yes I could have. Once I committed to Ann Barney that was it. I am a man of my word.
    Now let’s get to the house transfer: You state the house was transferred to keep it away from the Feds. This arose because of my son’s well-reported troubles. If you knew one damn thing it would be even transferring ownership of a house would not keep it away from the feds if they decided that they wanted it. The house was transferred to me because my son could not keep up with the payments plus he knew he was going away. Believe it or not he did not want it foreclosed on. I sold it, paid off his mortgage debts and walked away with zero dollars. Joel if you want to throw dirt on this campaign have at it. I wonder who put you up to this.
    Joel let me give you another update: My son is a union ironworker in New York City. He is up at 3:30 every morning and returns home at 4 :30 PM every afternoon. He has paid his debt and is putting his life back together.
    Joel you want to come after me? Bring it on. Leave my family out of this race.
    Joel here is another surprise. I will answer any question that is asked if there is a public debate which by the way I welcome. I will answer any and all questions. I am not afraid of the truth and have lived my life that way. Joel you would not go to the public hearing if you were me because you don’t have the guts to do so.


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