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Gomes, Moore Big Winners In 2016

January 1st, 2017 · 28 Comments · Analysis and Comment, City Politics

Gomes, Moore, Looney

Ed Gomes and Marilyn Moore with State Senate Leader Marty Looney.

Nationally, 2016 was the political year of Trump. If you like a good rodeo, prepare for a wild ride. But hey, Bridgeport politics is a breeding ground for ups and downs, right?

Winners and losers in 2016? Senators Ed Gomes and Marilyn Moore big winners.

Bridgeport’s incumbent state senators fended off Democratic primary challengers. It was a scratchy 2016 for Board of Education member Dennis Bradley who was viewed, and may still be given his ambition, a comer in city politics. The young lawyer who won a citywide school board seat in 2015 running on Joe Ganim’s mayoral line, challenged urban warrior Gomes and managed to win a close vote for the party endorsement.

Dennis Bradley

Dennis Bradley’s difficult 2016.

A paperwork snafu placed Bradley supporters at the center of a controversy that appeared to block Gomes from an August primary challenge. Gomes screamed dirty tactics. He marched into court with former federal prosecutor Christopher Mattei as one of his lawyers urging Superior Court Judge Barbara Bellis to overrule the decision by state elections officials denying Gomes’ ballot spot. Bellis agreed with Gomes asserting he had been submarined by Bradley political forces.

Bellis’ ruling fired up Gomes’ supporters. He lanced Bradley in the primary on his way to a general election win. The ballot battle did not end controversy for Bradley who had been elected by his peers school board chairman December 2015. School board policies and the job status of acting Superintendent of Schools Fran Rabinowitz took center stage the second half of 2016. Some board meetings devolved into heated exchanges between Bradley and board member Maria Pereira.

Bradley called for a boycott of meetings asserting that one singular board member out of nine, Pereira, had made it impossible to conduct business. Bradley said no meetings until Pereira resigned. Pereira was unmoved by Bradley’s demand, if anything digging in her heels deeper, demanding Bradley’s resignation. They were elected to serve, right?

Bradley had placed himself in a political pickle. Boycott and school board business languishes. Return and he looks weak. He tried saving face by cherry picking special meetings. The animosity and frustration grew. In October, Rabinowitz announced she’d quit at the end of the year declaring in writing that Pereira “has been relentless in her negative crusade to undermine and discredit much of what we have built for children in this school district.”

Rabinowitz’s resignation was viewed as a plea for help toward state education officials to create some order. But the administration of Governor Dan Malloy had no appetite to jump into local matters given the failed state takeover of schools in the summer of 2011. Meanwhile, an effort to embarrass Pereira was underway through education employees, including Rabinowitz, filing several complaints with the state Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities claiming Pereira discriminated based on race and age. All complainants are white women, just like Pereira. The matters are pending.

Bradley sought another year as chair, but failed to hold a solid coalition of five for success. Republican Joe Larcheveque was elected chair at the organizational meeting in December with a coalition of Pereira, Sauda Baraka, Howard Gardner and Ben Walker nominating Larcheveque, who accepted reluctantly.

Musto, McCarthy, Mario

Tom McCarthy, flanked by Anthony Musto and Democratic Town Chair Mario Testa.

The primary fight between Moore and City Council President Tom McCarthy intrigued given the nature of the senate district’s city-suburban makeup, all of Trumbull and portions of Bridgeport and Monroe. In 2014, Moore ran as a reformer winning a close primary contest against incumbent Anthony Musto of Trumbull on her way to a general election victory.

McCarthy worked the political establishment for the endorsement. Moore, not a political insider suck-up, said okay, game on, Democratic primary voters will decide this. And they did, convincingly for Moore. Racial whispers seeped into the campaign. Privately, Moore supporters wondered why suburban white pols had failed to step up for a strong black woman who was present in all sections of the district. McCarthy supporters were dismissive arguing Moore was not present at political events. Maybe so. But Moore was certainly present at many government events throughout the district that connected with constituents.

McCarthy’s campaign also had no rationale for running. In just about every successful campaign a candidate must state clearly here’s why I’m running and this is why you should fire the incumbent.

Even with nearly the entire suburban political infrastructure supporting McCarthy, Moore won the suburbs prophetically by one vote. A coalition of forces including operatives of the carpenters union unleashed a mighty door-to-door suburban campaign that reflected Moore’s voice of the people mantra. In Bridgeport, Moore clobbered McCarthy by more than two to one, even defeating him in his own council district. Moore ran up huge pluralities in black precincts. But she also won white and Latino areas handily.

What’s the political future for Bradley and McCarthy? Bradley is young and ambitious, but will he learn patience and winning strategy? McCarthy, City Council president for nine years, is pondering another run for council. He’s not made a final decision. Council presidency is relevant on several fronts including successor to mayor if the seat is vacated. He’s also close with Democratic Town Chair Mario Testa who does not want to lose McCarthy’s presence on the council.

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28 Comments so far ↓

  • Lisa Parziale

    Again, I’m proud to have been a part of returning Senators Gomes and Moore to Hartford. While the challengers had every right to exercise their desires to pursue the office of State Senator, unfortunately they have become part of a political trend that recently emerged. In the case of Bradley, he made a modest intro into public office, it seems he surrounded himself with a small margin of individuals who saw him as a rising star and filled his head with fairy tales that had nothing to do with political reality. Add to that poor leadership, an apathetic mayor, and the narcissistic nature of the candidate in question, it became more important for the practical portion of the party to step in to ensure the right results of these elections. I have observed a few people with potential, I hope they look back at successful political advancement and realize it takes time and effort to transfer what one perceives as potential to the voters. They’re not privy to the attaboys, high-fives, and marginal admirers, they want to know who they’re voting for and why. I personally realize there has been no substantial, integral leadership for too long, but one can find reliable guidance if they have an open mind and the willingness to put their egos and premature aspirations in their back pockets. Remember, “first in, first out.”

    • Ron Mackey

      Lisa, first Happy New Year, now for your assessment, as usual it’s direct to the point and accurate. Let me talk about how important Senator Marilyn Moore’s victory was. Today the State Senate is in a tie with 18 Democrats and 18 Republicans and if Marilyn Moore had lost the Republicans would be in charge of the State Senate 19 to 17.

      Senators Ed Gomes and Marilyn Moore were the big winners in another way, they didn’t have to go around and kiss Joe Ganim and Mario Testa’s asses in order to get elected. Bradley has shown he is a rookie in trying to run for office because he was not in control and he allowed others to run things and soon he’ll be on the outside looking in.

      Lisa, on a side issue I find the entire Bridgeport Board of Education have lost their way and it’s more than just the bad leadership of Dennis Bradley (who needs to stay out of the mirror) but the entire board because nothing positive is being done for the 21,000-plus students in the Bridgeport school system.

  • John Marshall Lee

    Is it possible that reliance on the ‘resident machine,’ the DTC, has made those folks so confident they will not imagine any challenges? Unlikely, but possible. Marilyn and Ed, as known quantities as persons with histories were able to overcome challenges by “Issue Light” McCarthy and “Fast Track” Bradley. Had either of them bothered to develop a meaningful record of public service to which they could point with pride (and to which the community could review for accuracy), things might have been different. Provides hope to the young who are not current ‘machine family’ but who are interested in a place at the table deciding the future of Bridgeport. Perhaps a good place to start would be with Joe Ganim’s OP-ED self-reported B+ grade for his first year in office. Why not run that column on Monday this week and let’s see what readers find humorous in his ‘truth optional’ recitation, Lennie? Time will tell.

  • Robert Teixeira

    John, I wouldn’t count out Bradley. Gomes is 80. He’s probably not even going to run in the next election. Bradley will still be on the BOE by the time the next election is here. He’s no longer the leader on the BOE drama. Whatever guiding influence he had will still there. Why is Bradley being blamed for doing what was expected of him? If it was a failure he is not to blame. So I’m having a hard time understanding why his failure was because he was thrown under the bus. If he was, then they might have burnt a lane to a bridge that leads to Hartford. Maria lost by 43 votes. If she doesn’t self-implode she should win her reelection bid as well. Tom, that might be an uphill battle. The state Dems brought out some heavy hitters for Moore. Time will tell, specifically two years.

    • Ron Mackey

      Robert, you are showing how little you know and understand politics in Bridgeport. How long have you truly been involved with politics in Bridgeport?

    • John Marshall Lee

      Robert,
      As you know most of us left high school and popularity contests some years ago. However when it comes to political candidates, we retreat to the language of high school reunions where ‘looks’ and ‘seems’ outpace ‘accomplishments’ and ‘character.’

      If you were to ask Tom McCarthy what he has done for the people of Bridgeport as a service to his constituents, and subtract what he has done for pay and stipends, I would be very interested in his listing of such service. I have watched him as a legislative leader and unfamiliar with using his talents to differentiate the Council representation of the people including watching all sources of revenue and spending.

      Dennis has a much shorter duration in service, but an even harder story to frame as to his accomplishments. Why are we limiting our future choices to the two ‘losers’ of 2016? (As a personal ‘loser’ of 2015 it is unwise, I suggest.)

      Why don’t we begin our future candidate search with some qualities to be included in their resume? Experience in representation? Integrity in financial and personal dealings? No obvious conflicts of interest? A skill or workplace experience that has carryover value to a public office? Some reason to look towards the candidate for good communication skills that are congruent with public values like open, accountable, transparent and honest governance? Time will tell.

  • Robert Teixeira

    John, what has any Bridgeport politician done for the city? Even Ganim’s first term (and I could be wrong) could seem as progress for the city. However it was based on an influx of hundreds of millions of state and borrowed money. Any city and politician will come out on top. If I borrowed millions of dollars and went on a spending spree, I would look like a success. I hope all that money had a purpose for the city. I won’t demean Bradley, Maria or Tom’s abilities. You learn nothing from victory, but much from defeat. You are the one person who questions Bridgeport finances. John, I believe you ran for council and lost. In a district that is up in arms about taxes now. Sometimes it’s not the politician but its leadership.
    In my opinion, like all my posts, I find Maria and Bradley similar political calibers. But one seeks power and the other seeks drama in their political position. Maybe even in situations where it was clouded and power or drama is unwarranted. The two on the board made a perfect storm.

    • John Marshall Lee

      “John, what has any Bridgeport politician done for the city?”
      1) They spend all the dollars of revenue available in most years including Grants budget spending that we are not told about concurrent with the spending;
      2) They borrow funds with a very weak five-year planning effort, and then do nothing substantial or effective to monitor whether the money spent is really necessary;
      3) They sign labor contracts that have huge costs built in for future taxpayers but don’t reveal the likely expenses that will be necessary in future budget years;
      4) If you are Joe Ganim, specifically, you sell the concept of creating a fund to pay future pension expenses based on being able to earn more in the plan as a return than the expense of interest on the bond, guaranteed by taxpayer payments. How does it feel to know that Joe, and John, and Bill, and now Joe again, over seventeen years have seen taxpayers spend over $500 million as bond repayments while the original $344-350 Million earned, returned and paid out but has decreased to around $65 Million today? What do we do if we don’t put in an extra $1.5 Million today because of recent losses and/or deferrals? What happens if one or two years of retiree income payments plus a market decrease leaves us with $30 Million annually of obligations to retirees PLUS $30 Million annually of principal plus interest on the Pension A Bond obligation? Is that a part of Joe Ganim’s B+ self-appointed grade for his first year in office? (Joe does not attend the quarterly Pension A meetings. Bill Finch held most of those meetings monthly plus had legal counsel present. Ken Flatto is doing what he can to “manage” where we are today. Prayer?) Time will tell.

      • Robert Teixeira

        Let me get this straight. In 17 years Bridgeport taxpayers paid out $500 million towards a $350 million loan and Bridgeport still owes $285 million on the loan. If this is what you’re saying, God I hope I’m misunderstanding this, at this rate it will take roughly 75 years and $2.2 billion to pay off $350 million in bonds.

        • Robert Teixeira

          And there’s nothing substantial to show for it. Whoever is holding these bonds is ripping off the city, I would think. John, if the city files for bankruptcy will the bond holders lose out on the remaining amount? If I were Joe I would do what Trump did, file for bankruptcy and renegotiate the current loan agreement. If I understand this, they made $150 million. Or find a new lender and borrow (with much more favorable terms) to repay the old loans. I would go with the latter. And renegotiate these contracts. Then get back to developing meaningful revenue projects. That’s just common sense.

        • Robert Teixeira

          Moreover if this has been going on for several mayors, it’s not the person (Mayor), but the Bridgeport leaders selling out the city.

        • Robert Teixeira

          To be fair, Finch came into office during the crash of 2008. John was dealing with the hangover of JG1. So let’s see how JG2 and the current leaders of the city clean up this mess and move the city to re-establish its glory. TWT.

          • Ron Mackey

            Robert, you have no idea of what you are talking about, that’s why nobody is commenting on what you wrote.

          • Robert Teixeira

            Ron, this will be my last post towards you.

            1. It’s JML talking.

            2. I clearly stated I hope I’m misunderstanding this.

            3. My assumption and I asked (let me get this straight) $500 million on bond repayment over 17 years to date. On a $350 million original loan that has only decreased by $65 million. That is my assumption I was working off of. I don’t know what he meant by “earned, returned.” If john wanted to clarify and correct it, he could have. I may not know much, but John does, not sure how religious he is but he’s asking for PRAYERS over the city’s finances.

            4. Ron, you said, “Robert, you have no idea of what you are talking about, that’s why nobody is commenting on what you wrote.” This is a comment on something I wrote. However you are right nobody comments on my stuff because you’re a NOBODY.

            5. This is why you are a “nobody.” Did you say Rob, this is what John meant? Did you try to give any useful information towards the conversation between me and John? No! All you did was butt into our conversation and attack me. Why? You gave such an eloquent informative clarification on when you said I misunderstood Day’s comment, when he said Maria was a great meal on top of a garbage can lid.

            Yes Ron, I don’t know much and I never claim to, either. Let me and my simple mind make my post without being attacked. I clearly said I will not comment on anything you post (all things black, anti-Maria), please refrain from butting in on my posts. To quote JML, “Robert, as you know most of us left high school and popularity contests some years ago.” I left high school and high school drama as well. I should have listened to Maria when she said don’t respond to you. Now I know why, maybe she was thinking if you don’t respond you will go away. Thanks.

          • Ron Mackey

            Robert, you said, “If I were Joe I would do what Trump did, file for bankruptcy and renegotiate the current loan agreement. If I understand this, they made $150 million.”

            Robert, in reading about Trump’s bankruptcy I came across this:

            Those who suffered as a result of Trump’s bankruptcies were his own casino employees, who collectively lost millions of dollars in retirement savings when the company’s value plummeted.

            Trump’s company encouraged its employees to invest their retirement savings in company stock, according to a class-action lawsuit filed by employees against Trump Hotels & Casino Resorts following its 2004 bankruptcy. Then, when the stock price was near its nadir as bankruptcy loomed, the company forced the employees to sell their stock at a huge loss. More than 400 employees lost a total of more than $2 million from their retirement accounts, the lawsuit states.

            Trump himself fared well through the bankruptcy. He kept a $2 million annual salary after the company emerged from bankruptcy and took in more than $44 million in compensation over the course of the 14 years he served as chairman of THCR. “I don’t think it’s a failure,” he said of the bankruptcy in 2004. “It’s a success.”

            As I said Robert, you don’t know what you are talking about plus JML didn’t mention bankruptcy. I see why you follow Maria’s directions as she tells what to say.

          • Robert Teixeira

            Ron, I already established I don’t know much. You are correct in your assessment of my knowledge. So there’s no reason for you to comment on any of my opinions. That’s all they are, my opinion. Now go away. JML, thanks for clarifying it.

          • Ron Mackey

            Robert, I’ll comment on anything I want, now we know you can’t comment anytime you want until Maria gives you permission.

          • Robert Teixeira

            Ron Mackey // Jan 2, 2017 at 10:09 pm
            “Robert, you have no idea of what you are talking about, that’s why nobody is commenting on what you wrote.”

            Ron, be somebody, not a nobody. Let me part with this, for clarity. The reason I say you are all things black is because you spoke against the corrupt DTC. You railed against it being racist because they endorsed (Tom) a white man against (Moore) a black woman. (Ironically, Tom is Irish, the white slaves brought to this country.) But you praised them for endorsing (Stallworth) a black man over a white woman (Maria). That being said, be a somebody.

        • John Marshall Lee

          Robert T, may the duck come down and award you $300, as Groucho Marx used to say. You understand the Pension A Bond deal. The City promised to pay over $30 Million annually in principal and interest (from 2000 to 2029) so Ganim1 could place $344 Million into the Pension A Investment fund.

          At the start of 2017 the City must make those payments through 2029 (not 75 years as you suggest) at which time taxpayers will have forked over more than $900 million to have created an advantage in the year 2000 to invest, assuming we could manage the investment funds better than we handled the responsibilities and obligations of authorizing retirement benefits.

          I keep writing about this subject but get to witness very few who suddenly see the mishandling by elected managers who shut out competent and curious voices and do not learn from their own history. Ganim2 has signed his own report card and given himself a B+. He provided no list of priorities that might indicate what he sees himself doing well at. He changed the crew operating some key positions and introduced some new faces, but provided no chart to know who reports to whom. Is part of what departmental budget and earning what compensation as Mayoral appointments not part of Civil Service? What’s up Mayor? If our trust is failing, what can you show us to verify your rosy words? Time will tell.

  • Bob Halstead

    So glad to see Marilyn so established outside the confines of the “machine.” Just a hard-working, politically savvy, effective and smart woman.

  • Maria Pereira

    Everything Dennis Bradley runs for, Citywide office or a district seat, he is going to be defeated in the 138th District.

    He had about a 240-vote lead over myself in the Democratic primary for the BOE. That was before voters came to know how beholden he is to Testa, Ganim, Ford, etc. Convincing 120 voters to switch from Bradley to another candidate in the 138th will not be difficult. It will not be difficult at all.

  • Robert Teixeira

    PS Lennie, I can see why you don’t have an edit option for the comments. However maybe upgrading your comment box to be more user friendly with some features that will help us catch some of the grammar mistakes.

  • John Marshall Lee

    Robert,
    For the most part I can be viewed as a grateful, thankful and prayerful person. I have been provided much in life by birth, family and community culture, and an expectation that I would do my work, serve others faithfully, especially those weaker and more vulnerable, and gain in wisdom all the days of my life.
    The work of this blog for a decade has been to clear a space for those who care to share current local information, municipal operating facts and history to help us connect the stories of how we got where we are.
    Such a trove allows many of us to explore the “WHY?” and “WHY NOT?” daily. Thank you, Lennie. And thank you to the courageous who post their words and the truly brave who re-shape their understandings in the way they approach Bridgeport’s future, perhaps in ways differently than those who have limited present options. Time will tell.

  • Robert Teixeira

    Ron Mackey // Jan 3, 2017 at 3:07 pm
    Robert, I’ll comment on anything I want, now we know you can’t comment anytime you want until Maria gives you permission.

    Really Ron, what is this, Middle School? You can’t comment until Maria tells you to. And can you NOT MAKE A COMMENT WITHOUT MENTIONING MARIA? She’s not salt that goes with everything, regardless if it’s on a garbage can lid or fine china. Yeah, you have the right to comment on anything, just don’t hold you breath waiting for a response from me. Bam I’m out. :)

    • Ron Mackey

      Robert, you are doing the right thing; just don’t say anything until you are told to speak.

      • Robert Teixeira

        Jesus Christ, Ron. Do I have to raise my hand first before I speak? You do know people can read the thread on this blog? They can see how off-base you are. :)

        • Ron Mackey

          Robert, you need to answer your own question, “Do I have to raise my hand first before I speak?” What’s the answer to your own question, because EVERYBODY reads on OIB where Maria is saying to you for you NOT to reply to anything Don and I say about her and what do you? You follow her orders. Hey, if that floats your boat then more power to you but we all can see for ourselves.

  • Robert Teixeira

    I’m out of here, I’m going to the grown-up table. Peace out, OIB.

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