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Here We Go Again, A Third Dem Primary In North End Council District–City To Appeal Decision

November 30th, 2017 · 54 Comments · City Politics, News and Events

Keeley says hold on a minute.

Bob Keeley receives another mulligan

What started September 12 will continue into 2018. Citing absentee ballot abuse, Superior Court Judge Barbara Bellis on Thursday ordered yet another Democratic primary in the City Council 133rd District. The new primary for the North End district is scheduled for Feb. 6. The city is appealing to the state’s highest court declaring Bellis wrong on the law.

From Dan Tepfer, CT Post:

“The citizens of the city of Bridgeport expect and are entitled to integrity in the election process and a fair and honest election which they did not get,” the judge said. And for the second time she ordered a transcript of the hearing sent to the chief state’s attorney, the secretary of state and federal authorities.

… Robert Keeley, who lost the primary on Nov. 14 by 18 votes for the seat in the 133rd district against a Democratic Party-endorsed candidate, will now be back on the campaign trail.

“I’m going to be knocking on doors again” said Keeley moments after Judge Barbara Bellis’ decision.

Full story here.

Following the September 12 primary Keeley and incumbent Jeanette Herron were tied, with Michael DeFilippo, aligned with Democratic Town Chair Mario Testa, the leading vote producer. The two top finishers go on to the general election. A previously uncounted absentee ballot found its way into the recount giving Herron a one-vote edge. Keeley challenged it in court and Bellis ordered another primary. In the do-over Keeley was down 18 votes to Herron with DeFilippo once again leading. Keeley, who failed to win the machine count, challenged the legality of his opponents absentee ballot operation. Bellis has concurred ordering another primary. Bellis said Testa prevailing upon Police Chief AJ Perez to assign a police officer to pick up absentee ballots was an abuse of the election process.

Deputy City Attorney John Bohannon who represented city election officials in the case disagrees. The city will appeal to the Connecticut Supreme Court that has overturned Bellis on a couple of decisions.

“We believe that the court’s factual findings are contradicted by the evidence and that its interpretation and application of the relevant election laws is erroneous. Mr. Testa and Mr. DeFilippo acted perfectly consistent with the law. They requested that the police chief, Bridgeport’s highest law enforcement authority, assign a police officer to retain and return the absentee ballots of citizens who expressed a need for such assistance. Neither individual ever touched an absentee ballot.

Judge Barbara Bellis

Superior Court Judge Barbara Bellis. CT Post file photo.

Herron and outgoing City Council President Tom McCarthy continue to represent the district until successors are chosen. Meanwhile, a peer election for legislative leader is scheduled for Monday night. Some incoming councilors have suggested putting off a vote until the new district members are seated, but now that’s months away, given the February primary and a general election several weeks later.

And how does this election timetable shake out given expected primaries for Democratic Town Committee seats in March? A week or so later those committee members will choose a town chair. Paging Mario Testa.

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54 Comments so far ↓

  • Andrew C Fardy

    here we go again another primary for 2 council seats. Why is that? Its because the democratic machine is trying to control all aspects of our lives in Bridgeport. Mario Testa has been a friend of mine for years and I have defended him on this blog for years. He has overstepped the bounds of decency and he has violated the law.
    Testa you have cost the taxpayers a lot of money with all this screwing around with election results. You and that fucking bartender also known as your pawn have caused the people of your district a lot of pain. BTW anybody that believes the request for that large liquor store is really coming from Marios Bartender and not Mario believes in the tooth fairy.
    Mario shame on you

    • Joel Gonzalez

      There is a huge ongoing misconception in regards to the role Mario Testa is playing regarding the Primary and Election in district 133. Mario is the Bridgeport Democratic Party Chairmen. The DTC endorsed Herron and DeFilipo. Whenever, people are endorsed a political party, the candidate/s have two options in regards to how and who is going to manage their campaign. Do he or she form a committee or do they let the DTC run their campaign committee? By all indication, Mario Testa has taken on the role of campaign manager for the endorsed candidates of the DTC.

      “Bellis added: The statutes do not allow a candidate to interject himself into the process. Mr. DeFilippo could have asked the absentee ballot voters to contact the Town Clerk’s office to arrange for their absentee ballots to be delivered there.”

      State law allows “a police officer” to collect ABs. In fact the law clearly calls “a police officer” first in the order of officials allowed to pick up ballots. Why is the judge insisting that the Town Clerk’s is called first or only? She points out that DeFilippo could have instructed voter to contact the Town Clerk’s office for the pick up of ballots. Wouldn’t DeFilippo still be “interject himself into the process” if he called the Town Clerk; instructed the voter to do so; or even instructed the voter to call the officer’s cell number? The flip side of the coin! Like many OIB readers and posters, Judge Bellis failed to look at it.

      • The Bridgeport Kid

        Judge Bellis is a wee bit more versed in the law than you are, Joel. Stop spinning, you may become dizzy and fall on your ass.

  • Gage Frank

    Third time’s the charm.

    • The Bridgeport Kid

      Yes it is.

    • Bob

      Three stikes and you’re OUT!!!
      Everything comes in 3′s. Fresh blood is needed in this city and Keeley ain’t it.

      • Joel Gonzalez

        Bob, the game ain’t over yet. Fresh blood is a clique and implies that the blood of the old is no good. What I’m seeing with some of the “Fresh blood” is that it’s being contaminated fresh out of the veins. I agree on your take on Keeley. Folks like Frank Gyure (see comment bellow) for some reason think that a blood transfusion is going to make the old politician better.

        Here’s a partial re-post of my take on Keeley:

        Recently, he has moved on to social media–fb– and made threats of exposing corruption in Bridgeport. He remind me of this link where among his contributors was United Properties and Kasper Group:

        https://seec.ct.gov/eCrisReporting/Data/Attachment/Unassigned/Apr2000_702.pdf

        • The Bridgeport Kid

          Keeley’s past connections with United Properties and the Kaspar Group are not part of the legal case, Joel. Mario Testa’s manipulation of absentee ballots at the expense of the old folks at home in Northridge IS.

    • Joel Gonzalez

      Even if Keeley doesn’t win?

      • The Bridgeport Kid

        Even if Keeley does not win, Joel. Too much came out in court for the status quo to be maintained.

        To my layman’s eyes this looks like a case of black letter law. Judge Bellis has had a ruling or two reversed on appeal but this time the facts are on her side. There is testimony Mario Testa and Michael DeFilippo, the drink slinger at his pizza joint in Fairfield, manipulated the absentee balloting process to secure the latter’s election to the City Council. Bridgeport Police Officer Nikola, a veteran law enforcement professional, testified under oath he was sent by Chief Armando Perez to assist in the the collection of absentee ballots at DeFilippo’s direction. Max Medina’s report detailed absentee ballot discrepancies at  a nursing home and the mailroom at Bridgeport City Hall. 

        If Mario Testa and Michael DeFilippo have nothing to hide why did they refuse to testify in open court? And what about Chief Perez? Is he criminally liable for his part in this? It would be informative to hear what he has to say under oath.

  • Bob Halstead

    Congratulations Bobby!!! You took the biggest win away from this! Undeniably. You were up against apathy, and endemic corruption that Now may change and may result in a major cultural change and give Bridgeporters a restored faith in democracy
    This is anything but mundane and redundant as the above headline spin projects!
    I look forward to the coming days. Let’s stay on the moral high ground. You captured Little Round Top. Let’s capitalize!
    Kudos to Judge Bellis who is a profile in courage exemplifying integrity

  • Frank Gyure

    Hopefully more people from the rest of the Bridgeport will pitch in and help Bob Keeley and Anne Pappas. How can the Democratic voters in the 133rd District choose Defillipo who obviously does not belong on the City Council. Hopefully ,Keeley,Pappas and those who can help will pull off the gloves and contact as many Democratic voters in the 133rd. Do the people in the 133rd want to be the laughing stock of Bridgeport by choosing Defillipi who is sooo obviously a puppet and unqualified. Every voter should be told straight on;Defillipo is unqualified and and embarrassment to the people of the 133rd district.

  • Jimfox

    It’s time the mayor stop spending the taxpayers money on this persona stupida and ask him to step aside for the good of this City!

  • John from Black Rock

    Long before I was “JFBR” I was “John from the East Side.” Now, growing up and living for 50 yrs. in the Pembroke St. area I learned many life lessons and one of the most important was:

    “NEVER EVER PISS OFF THE JUDGE.”

    IMHO, I do believe Mr. Testa and Mr. Defillipo royally pissed off the Honorable Judge Bellis.

  • The Bridgeport Kid

    Isengard and the evil wizard are about to fall.

  • Rich Augustynowicz

    Yes..!!! ……”sent to “Federal Authorities”….that’s what I wanted to see. Hopefully the feds do get involved. Mario and Mikey looked very nervous tonight at the pizza joint so I was told!!

    • The Bridgeport Kid

      This is the second time Judge Bellis has forwarded a court transcript to the Department of Justce. The first contained Don Clemons’ invocation of his Fifth Amendment rights. This one contains clear evidence if absentee ballot fraud.

      Bridgeport Generation Now, Bridgeport Young Democrats and the indefatigable Lisa Parziale are all working to wrest control of the Bridgeport Democratic Town Committee. Get ‘em, guys. Do the good works for the oeople of the city of Bridgeport.

    • The Bridgeport Kid

      Mario may have looked nervous because Officer Nikola testified under oath he collected ABs under Testa’s direction, a clear violation of election law.

  • Rich Augustynowicz

    With the Feds on this, and the State of Ct. on Defilippo/Willinger/OPED/City attorney/certain zoning officials collusion on violating state/federal laws regarding illegal property/liquor law change attempts within the city, this could be the perfect storm.

    • The Bridgeport Kid

      Circumstantial evidence adds up. This may well be a greater problem than Joe Ganim’s greed and avarice.

    • Frank Gyure

      I’m not sure if this is enough. It will require driving a nail through the heart of of BPT political vampire-Mario Testa.

      • The Bridgeport Kid

        This is more than enough, Frank. 

        Don Clemons’ testimony, including the invocation of his Fifth Amendment right against self incrimination, was included in the first court transcript Judge Bellis forwarded to the State’s Attorney’s Office and the Department of Justice. The second court transcript is far more damning. Officer Nikola’s testimony and Max Medina’s report are clear and unequivocal evidence of absentee ballot manipulation. That is prohibited by state and federal law. 

        Mario Testa has been exposed as a crook. It’s on the record. 

  • Bob Walsh

    And what else did you ask Santa for Bobby?

  • Bob Walsh

    Now everybody pitch in and make it happen!!!!!

  • Jeff Kohut

    Bob: Which Santa? NP1 or NP2? (Either one should do: List, c/o Superior Court Elf Barbara…) (And don’t forget about Punxsutawney Phil — one week before the election… It could be a cold day in BRIDGEPORT…) Could even be Election #4 on Saint Patrick’s Day! (Call out the leprechauns!) In any event one more chapter for OIB Edition IV!…)

  • John Marshall Lee

    Has the City ever had this much attention focused on the vote of one District? Perhaps in a given year, the results of one District has provided an advantage to one cause or another. But, has there ever been a time when one district is not represented on the Council for several months because they couldn’t hold a fault free primary?

    Folks in the 133 pay taxes, don’t they? And they send kids to schools that have had operating budgets cut and forced to do without in recent years? And they have similar complaints to other sections of the City about public safety concerns, etc.? Will they finally come out and reject business as usual? Do they think that Tom McCarthy still rules? And that each Council meeting can begin with a salute to the good being done in the City while the Council through use of silent and secret Committee work then use the Consent calendar to approve that which a gathering of taxpayers likely would not? Were those the good old days? Time will tell.

    • Joel Gonzalez

      “But, has there ever been a time when one district is not represented on the Council for several months because they couldn’t hold a fault free primary?

      ANSWER: NO, and there won’t as Herron and McCarthy will still be representing district 133.

      • The Bridgeport Kid

        For the time being, Frodo. No one is disputing that. The City Council presidency vote should be pushed back until after the election ordered by Judge Bellis.

  • Rich Augustynowicz

    Lennie could you please cut and paste my comment on Defilippo et al which is at the end of the “what will Judge Bellis do/” here on this story?

    • Jimfox

      Rich Augustynowicz // Nov 30, 2017 at 4:39 pm

      JML: Thanks! You are the first to ask why Defilippo wants to be a council member. All anyone knows is that he is, as the CT. Post calls him, “Mario’s bartender”. What we DO know is that he opened a liquor store (via a variance through Zoning) where one is not allowed, was challenged in Superior Court on that fact, and Judge Radcliffe ordered his store closed. What we also know is that he defied the Judges order but then closed when he was about to be slapped with a contempt charge. What we know is that he and his lawyer- Willinger have been waging a 2 year old scheme to re-open the store but were then denied at at the Zoning Board level. What we know is that by using their “political influence” they have enlisted the Office of Planning and Economic Developement (OPED) to change the law so that they can get what THEY want, everyone else be damned. What we know is that they continue this quest despite strong opposition from the entire School Board, thousands of signed petitions opposed, The Cathedral Parish, the many citizens who appeared in front of the numerous Zoning Board hearings over 2 years, learned scholars submitting evidence against, real estate planning experts and paralegals offering evidence against, and a coalition of more than 2/3 of Bridgeport package store members-(who I am apart of)-all who are against this attempt to change the law that protects neighborhoods that do not need any more liquor stores. We also know that OPED has gone so far as to propose language in their amendment that is ABSOLUTELY illegal and violates State law. We also know that even the City attorney who sits to advise the Zoning Board has not uttered a word to OPED’s presenters advising them that they are violating the law with their proposal.This entire episode goes deep.
      So What are Defilippos views on what Bridgeport needs in his attempt at Common Council? Does he have a view? What are his qualifications? What is his educational history? What else is in his background!!?? Another primary WILL be held, lets see if he speaks up. Lets see what the State has to say in their investigation of OPED’s attempt at severe over-reach of it’s authority.
      It appears that this prospective common council candidate is OK with allowing up to 14 more liquor stores to open and to eliminate the law that requires these stores to be 1500 feet away from “sensitive uses” such as school, Churches, Day cares, etc. as is in the law today. He seeks to have no requirements whatsoever!! I guess it’s up to the voters……AGAIN.!!!!!!!!!
      JML: Time will tell!!!!!!

      • The Bridgeport Kid

        Time IS telling, Rich. Read the excerpts below, gleamed from Dan Tepfer’s fine reporting:

        “Superior Court Judge Barbara Bellis… ordered a third Democratic primary for the 133rd Council District after finding the party’s chairman and his preferred candidate — the chairman’s bartender — meddled with the collection of absentee ballots during the Nov. 14 primary redo….

        “Bellis was particularly aggrieved because she had ordered that second 133rd District primary after tossing out the results of the original September contest over concerns about the legality of one tie-breaking absentee ballot that appeared during a recount.

        “‘The citizens of the city of Bridgeport expect and are entitled to integrity in the election process and a fair and honest election, which they did not get,’ Judge Bellis said…

        “[Bob] Keeley and his running mate, Zoning Commissioner Anne Pappas Phillips, will again face-off against the Democratic Town Committee’s nominees — Councilwoman Jeanette Herron and newcomer Michael DeFilippo. He slings drinks at party chief Mario Testa’s pizza restaurant on Brooklawn Avenue, just over the border in Fairfield…

        “Bellis’ decision rested on three main incidents that came to light during hearings held this week.

        “Police Officer Paul Nikola testified he was ordered by Police Chief Armando Perez to report to Testa on the day before the primary. Nikola said Testa introduced him to DeFilippo, who provided Nikola with addresses to go to pick up absentee ballots over the course of Nov. 13 and Nov. 14.

        “Nikola said he then drove around the city’s North End in his police car picking up absentee ballots from those addresses, including from a mailbox. Bellis said Testa’s ‘personal use of a police officer’ was a violation of the election process.

        “Under state law mail-in absentee ballots — available to certain voters who are unable to head to the polls — can be completed and, if necessary, transported to the Town Clerk by a family member, caregiver or police officer. But the voter is supposed to initiate the request. And the Town Clerk normally handles such requests and dispatches an officer assigned each Election Day to deal with last minute absentee ballots. Nikola even testified there was already an officer assigned to the Town Clerk on Nov. 14.

        “Bellis added: ‘The statutes do not allow a candidate to interject himself into the process. Mr. DeFilippo could have asked the absentee ballot voters to contact the Town Clerk’s office to arrange for their absentee ballots to be delivered there.’

        “Also local lawyer Maximino Medina Jr., whom Bellis appointed to monitor the Nov. 14 primary, testified that on the morning of the election he visited the City Hall mail room where some absentee ballots had been delivered. He said the supervisor of the mail room, Jack McDowell, told him he had brought the bundle of 15 ballots over from the Post Office. But 12 did not have post marks.

        “‘The 12 absentee ballots were not sent by the United States Postal Service and all 12 should have been rejected,’ Bellis ruled.

        “Medina also testified that he went to Northbridge Health Care on Main Street where a mandated supervised absentee balloting was to take place and did not see any signs advertising the primary vote. He said two members of the registrars’ office were in a community room at the center but were not approached by any residents.

        “Democratic Registrar of Voters Santa Ayala testified that voters at Northbridge refused to cast ballots.

        “’The registrar and her designates failed to take reasonable steps to ensure residents were aware of the supervised balloting,’ Bellis said. She pointed out that a Northbridge employee had testified that, during a prior election, she and two people from the registrar’s office had gone door to door to alert nursing home residents to the vote.”

        All of that is more than a little damning. It could lead to other DTC members being exposed to criminal liability.

        • The Bridgeport Kid

          “… Councilman-elect Kyle Langan, who defeated a town committee candidate in the September Democratic primary and went on to win November’s general election, found the revelations about Testa troubling.

          “‘What is extremely concerning is this ‘back door’ relationship between our Democratic Chairman and the police chief,’ Langan said. ‘We can’t help but make assumptions in the case as Mr. Testa did not take the stand himself to explain the situation. And the optics of it appear that our election system isn’t being run from the Town Clerk’s office, but instead from Mr. Testa’s restaurant.’”

    • Joel Gonzalez

      Here you go Rich, Lennie charges $50 for such request and you’d have to wait a week.

      Rich Augustynowicz // Nov 30, 2017 at 4:39 pm

      JML: Thanks! You are the first to ask why Defilippo wants to be a council member. All anyone knows is that he is, as the CT. Post calls him, “Mario’s bartender”. What we DO know is that he opened a liquor store (via a variance through Zoning) where one is not allowed, was challenged in Superior Court on that fact, and Judge Radcliffe ordered his store closed. What we also know is that he defied the Judges order but then closed when he was about to be slapped with a contempt charge. What we know is that he and his lawyer- Willinger have been waging a 2 year old scheme to re-open the store but were then denied at at the Zoning Board level. What we know is that by using their “political influence” they have enlisted the Office of Planning and Economic Developement (OPED) to change the law so that they can get what THEY want, everyone else be damned. What we know is that they continue this quest despite strong opposition from the entire School Board, thousands of signed petitions opposed, The Cathedral Parish, the many citizens who appeared in front of the numerous Zoning Board hearings over 2 years, learned scholars submitting evidence against, real estate planning experts and paralegals offering evidence against, and a coalition of more than 2/3 of Bridgeport package store members-(who I am apart of)-all who are against this attempt to change the law that protects neighborhoods that do not need any more liquor stores. We also know that OPED has gone so far as to propose language in their amendment that is ABSOLUTELY illegal and violates State law. We also know that even the City attorney who sits to advise the Zoning Board has not uttered a word to OPED’s presenters advising them that they are violating the law with their proposal.This entire episode goes deep.
      So What are Defilippos views on what Bridgeport needs in his attempt at Common Council? Does he have a view? What are his qualifications? What is his educational history? What else is in his background!!?? Another primary WILL be held, lets see if he speaks up. Lets see what the State has to say in their investigation of OPED’s attempt at severe over-reach of it’s authority.
      It appears that this prospective common council candidate is OK with allowing up to 14 more liquor stores to open and to eliminate the law that requires these stores to be 1500 feet away from “sensitive uses” such as school, Churches, Day cares, etc. as is in the law today. He seeks to have no requirements whatsoever!! I guess it’s up to the voters……AGAIN.!!!!!!!!!
      JML: Time will tell!!!!!!
      Reply

  • The Bridgeport Kid

    Bridgeport politics hasn’t been this colorful since a cocaine dealer was caught on a wire telling Frankie Estrada “The mayor’s coming over and he needs a hit…”

  • Joel Gonzalez

    Here you go again you dumb ass hole. It wasn’t Frankie Estrada. It was Marerro from Marerro’s Restaurant and the dealer was your friend’s son.

    • The Bridgeport Kid

      You’re pretty cocky for a man that cleans the shitters for a living.

    • Andrew C Fardy

      hey Joel you have no clue on what you are talking about. Marrero was the ring leader. there were 37 people arrested of that number 36 were snitches and the only one who took his punishment and gave no one up was my son. Now if you would like to talk to him come over he would be glad to explain this to you asshole

      • Joel Gonzalez

        andy why you getting mad at me? I didn’t mention you or your son by name. It was your white boy The Bridgeport Kid who dug your skeleton from the closet. But, since you don’t seem to mind and put the blame on the “snitches”, Let me tell you this: As I recall, your son took a plea deal and admitted to the facts of the government. So, by your son admitting the facts, he snitched on himself. He gave himself up. Explain this to him. You, your son, the Bridgeport Kid and all others like y’all must listen to this:
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZYb_8MM1tGQ

    • The Bridgeport Kid

      So I got a detail wrong. Big shit. How is it you’re so knowledgable about notorious drug dealers, Joel? And why do you seem to be defending them?

  • Jeff Kohut

    Topic on liquor stores: In following the political news during this election season, with the Mario/Defilippo liquor-store story featuring so prominently, I started to casually take note of the many Bridgeport liquor stores that I pass in my travels… In taking more-conscious note, it seems that there are many, and a variety of 1500-foot violations/exceptions with respect to liquor stores and schools, churches, and other liquor stores all around the city… Has a survey ever been conducted of all of these violations? Is the Zoning Department/State of Connecticut aware of this blatantly-obvious disregard for the rules in Bridgeport (one more example…). It would seem that what is happening in regard to the Testa/Defilippo situation is a case of isolated application of the rules… Is there any way that a review of all of the inappropriate liquor-store citing in the city could be undertaken and addressed retroactively? Maybe a lot of stores would have to be relocated, but it would show that Bridgeport is serious about improving its image and applying the rule of law in an appropriate manner…

  • Rich Augustynowicz

    Jeff- there may well be some locations that appear to be non-conforming but one would have to understand the circumstances by which that happened. In some cases they may have been there prior to a school, or daycare etc. . In other cases maybe political patronage was used at the zoning level. Whichever it may have been the law is that once a location is approved for use (whether an appeal was needed or not) it stays with the location. In the Defilippo case it is CLEAR that the system is being used to get him what he wants. If he had be granted what is now not allowed- that opens the door again for the next person who gets denied to pursue his cause and use Defilippo’s case as precedent. This case is mostly about political manipulation without a care to how it would affect everything else going forward. They are trying to change the law in a manner that opens the door for anyone to do the same thing. So if Bridgeport really cares about the future of the city- the rules have to stop being violated to only help those who are politically connected. If you have followed this case then you know that alot of powerful testimony has been presented against this attempt which has been dragging on for over 2 years.

    • The Bridgeport Kid

      Another example of Bridgeport’s political system being gamed for the benefit of one man’s avarice.

      • The Bridgeport Kid

        Two  years this has been going on, two fucking years of litigation just so Nario Testa can open a liquor store. That’s all he wants. Change the  zoning laws for his benefit and to hell with the consequences for everyone else. 

        One if Bridgeport’s greatest sicial ills is booze. Ever notice there are three signs in the windows of every bodega and corner grocery store in the city’s poorer neighborhoods? “We accept WIC/EBT”; “Newport Cigarettes Sold Here!”; and posters advertising malt liquor. 

  • The Bridgeport Kid

    We sit in the house, and slowly the world we are living in is getting smaller, and all we say is, ‘Please, at least leave us alone in our living rooms. Let me have my toaster and my TV and my steel-belted radials and I won’t say anything. Just leave us alone.’ Well, I’m not gonna leave you alone. I want you to get mad! I don’t want you to protest. I don’t want you to riot – I don’t want you to write to your congressman because I wouldn’t know what to tell you to write… All I know is that first you’ve got to get mad. You’ve got to say, ‘I’m a HUMAN BEING, God damn it! My life has VALUE!’ So I want you to get up now. I want all of you to get up out of your chairs. I want you to get up right now and go to the window. Open it, and stick your head out, and yell, ‘I’M AS MAD AS HELL, AND I’M NOT GOING TO TAKE THIS ANYMORE!’ I want you to get up right now, sit up, go to your windows, open them and stick your head out and yell – ‘I’m as mad as hell and I’m not going to take this anymore!’ Things have got to change. But first, you’ve gotta get mad!… You’ve got to say, ‘I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore!’ Then we’ll figure out what to do… But first get up out of your chairs, open the window, stick your head out, and yell, and say it: “I’M AS MAD AS HELL, AND I’M NOT GOING TO TAKE THIS ANYMORE!” 

  • Jeff Kohut

    Rich: I haven’t followed the issue too closely, but I have kept track to an extent: The testimony that I’m recalling addresses the issue of the proliferation of liquor stores, as well as their proximity to schools, other relevant facilities, and other liquor stores… It should be possible — per public-safety statutes and ordinances, as well as the eminent domain prerogative, to retroactively relocate non-complying liquor-outlet locations — although it might require some grace period and consideration for business interruptions… But I believe — per my observations in my travels — that perhaps 30%-40% of stores are in non-conforming locations… I certainly don’t believe that the zoning laws should be loosened to accommodate the tendency for liquor-store proliferation in the Bridgeport socioeconomic zone, and I certainly believe that Judge Radcliffe made a righteous and scholarly decision regarding his decision in the Mario/Defilippo case…

    But it seems that to have a neighboring town’s (Fairfield’s) zoning prerogatives determine the prerogatives of Bridgeport is just another affront to Bridgeport. This presents a situation of conflict for Bridgeporters (and speaks to the need for a return to regional-/county-government in Connecticut). And to allow widespread non-compliance in Bridgeport also presents a dilemma… This is another Bridgeport conundrum that begs solution… It does provide an opportunity to take a close look at Bridgeport’s overall situation and an attempt to create a municipal posture and policy that considers Bridgeport first — in lieu of a return to county government (with Bridgeport as a county seat)…

    In regard to the case at hand of the Mario/Defilippo situation and the ongoing, protracted court/zoning deliberations; it is easy to depict it in its obvious political terms, but it is confounding to consider it in terms of the bigger picture of extant citywide and regional zoning regulations and all of the exceptions… Certainly zoning laws shouldn’t be changed (loosened) — locally or regionally, in this regard… And a close look at remediation of non-conforming locations in Bridgeport should certainly be on the table… (And there are a host of other considerations – such as all of loosely-operated, beer-dispensing small markets and supermarkets throughout the city and region that sell to minors and after hours…)

    A whole hornet’s-nest of things to consider… Nothing is simple or easy in Bridgeport!

    In terms of the present; it seems that new liquor-store applications and pre-existing non-conformity should be considered case by case, and mostly in terms of residential and citywide socio-economic effects, in lieu of the pursuit, design, and implementation of local-regional (integrated), bigger-picture policy…

  • Rich Augustynowicz

    Jeff: to much to explain so if you or anyone else may not understand the issues-(especially the corrupt part of it) please feel free to come down and see me on Wood Ave. Mornings are best as I am always there by 8. Cheers!!!

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