How Does Bridgeport Fit In? Where To Place The Jail?

I’m dizzy.

I’ve lost track of the various candidates and potential state ticket configurations in the 24 hours since Chris Dodd’s sayonara announcement and Dick Blumenthal’s entry to fill his seat.

Will we see a Mac-Dick race come November? Probably, but politics is a weird business. Republican U.S. Senate candidate Linda McMahon has an ocean of money to spend to become the GOP standard bearer to face Dick. Former Congressman Rob Simmons, the other GOP candidate in the race, will have something to say about that. Oh wait, there’s another GOP candidate, some dude named Peter Schiff out there as well. See, told ya I lost track.

How does any of this relate to Bridgeport? The state’s largest city will be a player in all of this, but how beyond electoral might is unknown. Dodd’s departure opens up another constitutional office for the asking (or is it taking?). Democratic Town Chair Mario Testa wants to leverage his delegate count to the Dem convention in May to fill one of those constitutional offices with one of his own. What’s the point of being in politics, Mario surmises, unless you can influence a state ticket. I’ve seen Mario in action plenty of times to know he’ll not be bashful in trying to position a Bridgeport-friendly candidate for a constitutional office. Former Mayor Joe Ganim became the Dem candidate for lieutenant governor in 1994, the year Republican John Rowland became governor, because of Mario’s intervention. Rowland defeated Dem guber candidate Bill Curry who’s part of the long line of Dem candidates strong in a primary futile in a general election. In fact, the last Dem to win a Connecticut guber was Bill O’Neill in 1986.

With Bloomer running for Dodd’s seat the attorney general slot is open, as well as secretary of the state with incumbent Susan Bysiewicz running for governor. Or will Suby settle for AG? But others may be in the way such as former State Senator and Dem party chief George Jepsen who also wants AG.

The current state Dem party chief who must help sort all of this out is Nancy DiNardo who knows how to break bread with Mario. I’ve had a lot of fun the past year promoting Mayor Bill Finch for CT secretary of the state. The position is a fit for Bill’s personality and interest areas. Bill never aspired to be mayor. Party regulars recruited his candidacy, fearing former Mayor John Fabrizi could not defeat State Rep. Chris Caruso, in 2007. And next year the same issue may pop up for local party regulars. Who can defeat Caruso?

Finch isn’t a chief executive; he’s a policy wonk cast into a chief executive role. More than two years into his mayoralty Finch has a lot of work to do to win reelection. Mario’s relationship with Finch is so-so. Decent some days, sucky on others. It’s hard to become buds when you’ve never been buds. Mario’s been trying to keep party peace while raising money for a potential Finch reelection run. But sometimes, when you don’t get along, it’s better to push for a promotion.

Can Finch become Dem candidate for CT secretary of the state? Doable, but doubtful. Both Mario and DiNardo would have to weigh in heavily for Finch to make that happen. Why? Because it’s not practical for Finch to move around the state working state party regulars to line up support for the endorsement. You can do that when you’re popular with local voters. Much more difficult when you’re not. Plus, even if they can land him the endorsement someone could run a primary. This budget cycle is crucial for Finch’s mayoral reelection. And now the burden is on him to find a new location for the state juvenile jail Jodi Rell wants to place in the city. He must pay attention to that or risk losing an entire city neighborhood (and possibly more) that doesn’t want it.

But there’s another way for Mario and DiNardo to help Finch. Cut a deal with a Dem guber candidate who will commit a state commissionership. Bill is not a man of wealth and he has a family to feed. He’s not like Chris Dodd who has the financial means to walk away. Bill would need to line up something.

So assuming any of this can happen who’s Mario’s guy for the future? My bet is City Council President Tom McCarthy. Big Mac and Mario get along. McCarthy is a better pol than Bill who tends to lose sight of the larger picture to satisfy his knee-jerk reactions. Bill looks good, sounds good and the soul of him is good. But electors vote on results. The mayor needs more results to win reelection. There’s still time.

Derail The Jail Vigil

With 29 days left to her marching orders, any thoughts about where to place Jodi’s detention center? The old facility on Fairfield Avenue? Incorporation into the boys facility? Housatonic Avenue? Hey, a friend suggested the other day to build it at the city-owned airport located in Stratford. I wonder how airport super John Ricci feels about that? John, you out there? Of course, there’s always Brookfield, Newtown, Chester …

From the CT Post:

BRIDGEPORT — “Derail-the-jail! Derail-the-jail!” The chanting swelled and carried for blocks along the residential street where the state plans to put a girls’ juvenile treatment and detention center.

Roughly 100 people — including leaders, area residents and their supporters from other parts of the city — held candles and signs and shook their fists in Wednesday night’s cold to send a message to state leaders: We won’t give up.

“No one should underestimate the power of the people,” said state Rep. Christopher Caruso, D-Bridgeport, addressing the crowd. “We’re tired of Bridgeport being dumped on. Now, you have to be mad. Keep fighting. If we become inactive, the governor will see that as a sign that we don’t care anymore.”

The state announced plans in November to build the 36,000-square-foot center at 115 Virginia Ave., which the state owns, unless city leaders can find another spot of at least 2.5 acres to put it.

News release from State Rep. Auden Grogins:


Representative Kim Fawcett (D-Fairfield) and Representative Auden Grogins (D-Bridgeport), teamed up this week in the Appropriations Committee to help assure legislative approval of an important public health outreach project at St. Vincent’s Medical Center in Bridgeport.

The Research Associates Program (RAP), spearheaded by Dr. Keith Bradley, allows students interested in careers as health professionals to volunteer in the St. Vincent’s emergency room to educate and screen patients on a number of public health threats. The students are trained to interview patients and their families. They use the time spent in the waiting room to provide public health education and disease prevention information.

“This program offers the potential for large-scale public health interventions, such as initiating tobacco cessation referrals, cancer screenings, and diabetes prevention at minimal cost with a host of positive derivative benefits,” said Dr. Bradley who testified before the Appropriations Committee last Monday.

Each year the Tobacco and Health Trust Fund seeks legislative approval for the programs they support. While the St. Vincent’s program was widely praised by legislators, limited resources in the fund forced intense conversations about which programs are most effectively fulfilling their assigned mission. Representative Fawcett and Representative Grogins worked closely with Dr. Bradley over the past several months to prepare for the hearing.

“I am thrilled to have had the opportunity to advocate for a program that has a direct impact on public health in our region,” Rep. Fawcett said. “This program is seeing results and if we target these resources effectively and grow the program it becomes a win-win for us all.”

“St. Vincent’s is an important asset to Bridgeport and the region,” Representative Grogins said. “It is critical that urban and suburban legislators work as at team as our joint efforts will benefit the entire region.”

With legislative approval in place, Dr. Bradley and the Research Associates Program have a clear path to applying for additional valuable Tobacco Settlement funds to grow the program in the region and expand the model to other hospitals across the state. The money in the Tobacco and Health Trust Fund is transferred to Connecticut each year as part of the Federal Tobacco Settlement Fund and does not rely on state tax payer dollars.

“I am thankful to Representatives Fawcett and Grogins for their advocacy and willingness to fight for the RAP program. Their work will help us see these programs expand and reach more people,” Dr. Bradley added.

Rep. Fawcett represents the 133rd Assembly district in Fairfield and Westport and serves on the Appropriations, Environment, and Energy and Technology, and Transportation Committees.

Rep. Grogins represents the 129th district and serves on the Education, Government Administration and Elections, and Public Health Committees.



      1. Who’s that? I do know you would vote for that wwe ceo lady hahaha. Least I would vote for someone who has a good record. Try harder Kid it’s 2010 your jokes are so lame. Haha.

        1. I wouldn’t vote for Linda McMahon. Professional wrestling is for sissies. I will vote for Blumenthal; he is still motivated by the best interests of the people of the state of Connecticut.

  1. I think getting Finch a commissionership is possible. It is probably the right place for Finch. As a person I still like Finch but as a mayor I don’t.
    McCarthy I am not sure about that I am not impressed. He still has ties to Stafstrom and has been involved with Finch and a lot of the bonehead moves this administration has been involved in. He has been a key player in the hatchet jobs that have gone on in city hall.
    I would suggest to Chris Caruso that he make peace with the party and start putting together his campaign operation. He has gone a long way forward with his out-front stance on the juvenile jail on the upper East Side. I know I have gained new respect for him.
    When I say to Chris make peace with the party I am not saying become a party wonk just build relationships within the party but still be Chris Caruso. Going to be a fun year.

      1. Lennie, when McCarthy was selected as City Council President the first time, it was Stafstrom who negotiated the deal during the selection process. McCarthy betrayed Stafstrom when he supported Mario.

  2. If Lennie isn’t afraid to diss The Mayor of Bridgeport, I’m not afraid to return the volley.

    Finch isn’t a chief executive; he’s a policy wonk cast into a chief executive role. More than two years into his mayoralty Finch has a lot of work to do to win reelection <—

    Lennie isn’t a chief executive, either; he’s a self-styled junkie ("political" is just an adjective) cast into the role of political hotshot. Lennie is two years into his "blogship". He measures his success in ways he never divulges yet he berates Mayor Finch in ways he wants to measure.

    Finch has the toughest job in America but Grimaldi doesn’t recognize that because his axe-to-grind prevents it.

    If you want to understand politics, you’d better understand personality first.

  3. The fix is in. Detention facility should go to the airport because it’s no fly by night operation. Rell takes almost 4 years to get one new train on track and she gives us 30 days. Get some Dick in 2010 or get Dicked in 2010.

  4. Grin Ripper I agree totally with your statement. Lennie is trying to suck up to Rell in the other post about 30 days!!! After the 30 days what if we still get the detention center??? I’m not kissing up to Rell at all because she thinks Bridgeport is a dumping ground. I bet it never came across her mind to build it in Brookfield! Why the heck hype her up for giving 30 days!

  5. Just a few things: that’s correct Lennie he did but he has not done much since then to back up Mario. Tell me once when he publicly disagreed with Finch & Company.
    donj: Please pay attention. For what reason would Lennie butter up Rell? It was a good thing that she gave the city 30 days to find an alternate site not a bad thing. What you are not looking at is the Governor gave the city through Finch’s office a 1-year notice. Did they do anything in that year to get this site moved? No they did not.
    What you don’t seem to understand or choose to ignore is that the governor could have gone ahead with the January meeting and had the bonding passed if she so desired.
    What’s the point of hyping a governor who is not seeking reelection? At least she is giving the city administration 30 days to do what they had a year to do.
    Why aren’t you all over our delegation about this? Is it because they are all god-fearing Democrats?

  6. At the end of the day will that all matter if we still have a detention center? The Answer is hell no. Until we know for sure I’m not giving her any props. And no one can tell me I am wrong on that!

      1. There’s been a little misunderstanding:

        Some people think The Bridgeport Kid is the only jerk in The Park City.

        That’s not true …

        It just seems that way.

  7. This was in this morning’s Post as well: “Simsbury First Selectman Mary Glassman, who ran unsuccessfully for lieutenant governor in 2006 and on Tuesday formed an exploratory committee for an unspecified statewide office, was also mentioned as a Democratic attorney general candidate, but she downplayed that possibility.

    “‘I am really focused on an exploratory committee for statewide office with an eye toward the governor’s race,’ Glassman said.”

    Having grown up in Simsbury, I am well aware of her record. According to a story in the Hartford Courant written by Rinker Buck, “Glassman was first elected as first selectman in Simsbury in 1991, served four terms, and then took an eight-year hiatus to work in state government and eventually rose to chief of staff in the lieutenant governor’s office. Since being re-elected to first selectman in 2007, she has won wide praise for budget discipline and initiating a town planning process that stresses smart growth of Simsbury’s downtown.” Glassman’s idea of smart growth is revising zoning regulations so that chain stores like Starbuck’s, TCBY, and Subway can move in. And push the small independent mom-and-pop businesses out, thereby removing what was left of Simsbury’s small-town New England character.

    I wouldn’t allow that pompous, egotistical broad anywhere near public office. She’s worse than Bill Finch when it comes to padding the municipal payroll with political “appointments.”

  8. Where To Place The Jail? Good question Lennie! I have a better question: Will Chris Caruso drop his crusade on this issue if the alternative site is still in Bridgeport?
    Yesterday, I stated that I’d rather see the jail in Caruso’s or Finch’s backyard than mine. My back yard–the 130th district–is full of tax-exempt properties. The old Juvenile Center is on Fairfield Avenue near some churches, the Klein Memorial, Schools (Curiale, Batalla and Bassick), and Family Services Woodfield. These locations are just blocks apart. Does this sound like a proper location or area?
    Further down, the area of Fairfield Avenue, Ash Street and Mountain Grove–including the Old Bodine site, may be an area being contemplated. Eminent Domain?
    I get the feeling that this issue is not going away any time soon as long as the selected site is in Bridgeport. If Finch thinks that selecting a site other than one in Chris Caruso’s State Rep. district will be the final chapter, then we must be reading a different book.

  9. I get the impression that Mayor Finch only reads classic literature when Marvel Comics produces illustrated versions. Caruso is the point man on the “detention center” (political spin) or “girls’ reform school” (in actuality). Finch is along for the ride.

    I’m happy to hear that Auden Grogins and Kim Fawcett teamed up to help assure legislative approval of an important public health outreach project. It’s an important program, especially these days of concern over out-of-control healthcare costs. I’m also happy that Ms. Grogins didn’t make an appearance at the Virginia Avenue site proposed for the juvenile detention facility. It would’ve been more than a little tacky for her to say “We’re here for you.”

  10. Still dizzy Lennie? It’s not over yet according to my “Crystal Finger.” “… politics is a weird business.” It’s going to get really weird down the road.
    The “Dick factor” seems to have caused the Republicans to seriously consider re-shuffling the deck of political cards. This is my take: Governor Jodi Rell will resign as Governor leaving Lt. Gov. Fedele the Governor who will then pick another Lt. Gov. If I have correctly calibrated my Crystal Finger, this will happen over a month from now when Jobi Rell–with the help of Democrats–will have approved the Juvenile Detention Center. Lennie, I wish you were here and see what I’m seeing right now.
    There seems to be a “Dick” and some potential “Dickheads” in the middle of this. Blumenthal is pushing to stop the Juvenile Detention Center Project. Wait, I see Mark Delmonico grinning as Dick tries to rip another hole on Rell. It looks like the Juvenile Detention Center Bonding is approved. Wait Lennie! Who is that man?
    It looks like Fedele, except he is being addressed as Governor and there is another person standing next to him addressed as Lt. Governor. Oh my god! Fedele is reversing the Juvenile Detention Center Bonding with Bill Finch next to him, grinning ear to ear. Hey, is that legal?

  11. I’d have way more respect for McCarthy if he’d come out of the closet already.

    How can you lead a city if you can’t come to terms with your own life?

  12. “S.O.B.” you said, “I’d have way more respect for McCarthy if he’d come out of the closet already.”

    “How can you lead a city if you can’t come to terms with your own life?”

    S.O.B. I’m a little slow but could you explain what you are saying so that I can understand?

    1. Ron, I believe S.O.B. is making a gay insinuation. Not that it matters. Frankly, I don’t care which way Tom swings. I don’t think he has the backbone to be mayor.

  13. What’s the current capacity and occupancy of the boys’ detention facility? I’ve never been inside but the place looks quite spacious. Seems that’s a perfect location being that it’s near the courts and all forms of public transportation. Have they even explored the feasibility of putting the girls in a segregated area there? Wouldn’t this also cut down on staffing not to mention utilities, etc.?

    1. Would you like a smoking section added to your proposed co-ed juvenile facility? “Seems that’s a perfect location being that it’s near the courts …” CHS, you are assuming that every female that is incarcerated at the juvenile facility is going to get arrested in a city or town where the Bridgeport courts have jurisdiction. If a female who lives in Bridgeport gets arrested or charged with a crime in Stamford and held at the Bpt. Juvie facility, she has to be transported to court in Stamford and back to the Bridgeport facility until her release or sentencing. The “Booking” section of the Bridgeport Police Department has one holding section side for female prisoners and another for male prisoners. Gay men go to the men’s side.

      One big problem with this country or the world for that matter, is the unwillingness to plan with a vision for the future. A good example is the rail system running through Bridgeport; most trucks can’t drive through the railroad underpasses in Bridgeport. Had someone stopped to think and said: “Hey, let;s make the underpasses higher in case bigger loads and higher trucks or equipment need to be transported under them.”
      God forbid that the Bridgeport population doubles and we need to build new schools; can’t add floors to the current schools. “Don’t worry, we can bond our way out and the state will pick up 80% of the cost,” Bridgeport pols will say.

  14. On a lighter note …

    The jail for female teenaged delinquents is going to be built in Bridgeport, only question is where. That’s what this is all about. Rell must’ve asked for a recommended location; when the city’s leadership shined her on Rell forced the issue.

    1. Are you saying that a year ago we could have given possible sites and we ignored Rell’s request? So that’s why the state picked one of their owned properties? Are you shitting kidding me?

  15. That’s politics, Connecticut style. Finch pulls this kind of crap all the time. (Remember all that hoopla about the control of the Port Authority?) This is just so much bullshit. Yes, the governor’s office has always regarded Bridgeport as a sump hole, no matter who the occupant is.

  16. I’ve been wondering why Chris Caruso, Bill Finch and Anthony Musto haven’t produced documentation showing the communications, activities, and actions taken regarding the Juvenile Detention Center. Is Carmen Lopez the only one who knows how to file FOI requests or complaints when necessary?

    Everyone involved is pointing fingers at my dear Rell. What have the Legislative Aids, Assistants and Secretaries of these finger-pointers been doing? The Governor has been straightforward on where she stands and her staff has given examples of communications made by her administration such as a Connecticut Post article about the Detention Center site and Bonding plans last year.

    I am a bit disturbed by all this and in particular the Marc Delmonico letter to the Governor. I agree that Bridgeport has not been getting a fair share of State funding; I can’t place the blame on Governor Rell for this; no one can ever blame the Bridgeport Republican Party. I asked two Bridgeport State Representatives if they ever took the time to personally approach Governor Rell to open a channel of communication and both said “no.” I asked why and they could not give me an answer. This is the main reason why Bridgeport hasn’t gotten a fair share of funding and attention. Look back at what happened during Rob Russo’s short tenure as State Senator. Russo didn’t ignore the Governor thinking that he can achieve great things without an open line of communication with Rell.

    Rell did fall very short in helping out Republican candidates running for state office in Bridgeport. Her active support of Rob Russo again showed what can be achieved when the Governor goes out and actively supports Republicans trying as hard as they can to get elected. I hope that my “Crystal Finger” is on target regarding the revelation of Rell resigning and Fedele taking over. In the event that revelation comes to fruition, I will reach out to Marc Delmonico and my fellow Bridgeport Republicans to make sure that the mistakes of the past do not happen again.

  17. *** What will be, will be and no blog rumors or complaints will change anything! Like Gov. Rell has nothing better to do than just decide during the past holidays, to dump a girls’ detention center anywhere she wants in Bpt? The Finch Admin. has been aware of this, dropped the ball as usual & never responded yes or no or where will it go & the rest is history still in the making! *** It was about two years ago @ a St. Patrick’s Parade fund raiser dinner where I met McCarthy’s pretty girlfriend. If he’s decided to flip since then, I sure would like to see his ex-girlfriend again this coming spring (wink)! Anyway, regardless of whatever negative rumors may be said about Tom, he’s always been nothing but a gentleman & all-around nice guy with me since I’ve known him. *** I love the “years after the fact” type of Bpt improvements in development ideas that have been coming up on OIB from time to time. Boy, talk about having a crystal ball (light bulb) type mentality? *** FORGETABOUTIT ***


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