How Much Will Mayor And Mario Weigh In?

2:30 p.m. update: Five weeks away from primary day for City Council seats.

Is there a pulse out there? Any incumbents in serious trouble? What council incumbents and challengers are you helping? Who should go? Who should stay?

I’m waiting for word on what challengers qualify for the ballot. Challengers have until Wednesday at 4 p.m. to submit signatures to local election officials. One race clearly to watch is the 138th City Council District in the Upper East Side where Democratic incumbents Bob Curwen and Rich Paoletto are being challenged by retired firefighter Andy Fardy and Ann Barney, a 25-year employee of the Board of Education. Fardy and Barney have qualified for the ballot.

I expect that race to be close. Fardy (aka Town Committee) knows how to campaign be it on behalf of a candidate or in a Democratic Town Committee race. Education advocates tend to vote and Barney has the opportunity to bring her school system contacts to the table. And maybe throw in a little magic dust from her circus-performer hubby Joe.

Curwen and Paoletto, also seasoned campaigners,  have been involved in their share of primaries. What gives these matchups an extra edge? The council candidates lead the ticket this cycle.

It’s hard to believe that a year has passed since Auden Grogins, the blonde banshee from Black Rock, took out incumbent State Rep. Bob Keeley, the longest-serving legislator in the city’s history. Grogins proved that if you work your tail off, identify your voters and drag them to the polls you can produce an upset. Primaries are strange birds. Keeley had the power of incumbency working for him, years of making legislative district friends, the support of an eclectic group of pols from Town Chairman Mario Testa to maverick City Councilman Bob Troll Walsh pumping his candidacy. Auden took it to him, knocking on doors, banging phones and splicing together a piece of the party apparatus that included Mayor Bill Finch and former Democratic Town Chairman John Stafstrom, a cunning political operative.

I’m hearing that Keeley is plotting his comeback. Stay tuned.

It’s still to be determined how much the mayor will weigh in on behalf of Curwen and Paoletto. He certainly wants to save ally Paoletto. Finch and Curwen are lukewarm at best. But what happens if he ends up with Fardy and Barney heading into the second half of his mayoralty? Fardy especially will be a major toothache for the mayor.

This race also has personality dynamics. Fardy and Testa have had a strong relationship for years, but I’m sensing (for now) it’s not what it used to be. That can change. Testa and Curwen are allies. How much does Mario insert himself? Mario’s once-formidable absentee ballot operation isn’t what it used to be. Too many watchful eyes.

Council Challenge Update

I spoke to Democratic Registrar of Voters Sandi Ayala this afternoon and she provided an update on City Council challengers.

In the 137th District Maria Valle and Christina Ayala have qualified for the ballot to challenge endorsed candidates former City Councilwoman and State Rep. Lydia Martinez and Manny Ayala.

In the 135th District, challengers Peter Clarke and Mary McBride-Lee turned in their signatures. They are currently under review. OIB friend Isa Mujahid is also challenging incumbents Richard Bonney and Warren Blunt. He will submit his signatures on Wednesday.

In the 132nd District could Bob Troll Walsh have a primary? Joyce Guytan (anyone know Joyce?) has taken out petition sheets.

In the 133rd Lou Innacell has done the same. (Look out Tom McCarthy!) So has Mark Trojanowski in the 136th District challenging incumbents Angel DePara and Carlos Silva, as well as James Morton and Tyreke Bird in the 138th.



  1. Good morning Lennie,

    I’m really impressed by the efforts of Isa Mujahid in the 135th district race. It seems as if the tide finally rolled in someone who lives, plays, works and cares about Bridgeport and is interested in improving life quality around here and not just pole positioning. It’s refreshing. And I know that when you challenge an incumbent you are rolling the dice with your job and future political career, its nice to see someone brave enough to not care about that nonsense. Congratulations Isa on being the real winner here and best of luck to you and your district.

    1. Thanks, Evolutionary.

      By the way, for those who care, I currently have more than the required signatures. I will submit my petitions tomorrow. I’d rather be safe than sorry. So I will spend this last night before the deadline continuing to collect signatures and speak with voters.

      As I’ve said before, I am so impressed and moved by the level of enthusiasm and determination of Bridgeport residents committed to taking control of and setting the agenda in this city. More and more public participation is going to be the remedy for what ails us.

      Best of luck, again, to ALL of the candidates. If we work our butts off, Bridgeport wins, so we all win.

  2. I just heard that officials in Thailand rescued an elephant who had fallen in a manhole. Now surely it is more difficult to get an elephant out of a manhole than it is to get puppies out of a drain, Mayor Grinch, I mean Finch.

  3. Lennie I can tell you what Finch is going to get when Ann and I win this primary.
    He is going to get two intelligent, independent thinkers. We are running this campaign using our own money so we owe NO ONE.
    He will be getting two people that want to see their district brought back to what it was not what it has turned into.
    Finch will be getting two people that want to see their district represented on boards and commissions. Presently we have no one on a board or commission.
    He will be getting two people that care about career employees and could give a hoot about political appointees.
    Finch will be getting two people that will vote for bills that are good for the district and good for the city.
    Finch will be getting two people that will vote against bad bills and ordinances that are bad for the district and for the city yet favor preferred developers.
    There will be no rubber stamps when we are elected.

    1. It would be nice to see the same in Black Rock. That eyesore of a building at 2838 Fairfield Avenue, something needs to be done about that. The arts center was a good idea, actually. It is most unfortunate that a greedy, avaricious asshole like Joe Celli was involved. (Come to think of it, there are too many greedy, avaricious assholes in Bridgeport. Maybe we could make ’em register with the police department, same as sex offenders.) It would be an EXTREMELY GOOD THING if the Fairfield Theater Company were to take the building over and remake it into a performing arts facility, something more permanent than the folding-chair operation Mr. Celli chose to operate. If FTC took over the building it would be a class operation that would draw more than a few people to Black Rock, which would improve the bottom lines of the local merchants.

      In all the bickering and mud slinging by Mr. Celli, his supporters and critics, no one really thought about the positive uses for the property.

  4. Lennie,
    Can’t you even update the scorecard at this time?
    Who has taken out petitions? I understand rumor has it Mary Lee and Peter Clarke are close (this was last week) to securing a spot on the ballot up in the 135th.
    Have Barney and Fardy been certified at this point? As soon as the candidates have what they consider to be enough signatures to qualify, they are submitted to the register for certification. Based on TC postings on this blog where he says they have spoken to every voter, they should have more than enough signatures to qualify.
    Seems like a little lazy reporting on your behalf.
    Pick up the phone, call Santa and find out what is happening.

    1. Grin, I guess you missed the part today where I wrote that Barney and Fardy have qualified. (Your eyes aren’t as quick as the legendary Grin Ripper.) I spoke to Santa early this morning and so far only Barney and Fardy submitted their petitions. That means either candidates are having trouble fielding signatures or everyone will deposit sheets near the deadline Wednesday, as is often the case.

    1. 135 covers a large portion of the upper north end. Precincts include Wilbur Cross School, Park City Magnet, Hallen School, and Read School. If you (or anyone out there in blogland, for that matter) do have friends or family that would like to contact me … here is my cell and email. and 203-610-7203.

      Thanks, donj.

  5. Tuesday Aug 11 “Bridgeport Now” show rundown:
    – Charles Brilvitch on Bridgeport history

    – Master Plan update: We will look at two areas in North End, Main Street 1) Savoy to Jewett, and 2) Minturn Road to Old Town Road. And also 344 Brewster in Black Rock.

    “Bridgeport Now”
    Every Tuesday at 8pm on Ch 77 on Cablevision. No cable?

  6. “In most occupations other than elective government,” wrote MariAn Gail Brown in this morning’s Connecticut Post, “job performance counts.” How true, especially in Bridgeport. In the Park City it ain’t what you know, it’s WHO YOU KNOW. In a city with a broken and corrupted one-party political machine, it is the men behind the curtain, the men with their hands on the levers of power, it is those people that tell (or try to tell) every party candidate what to do. Isa Mujahid, Andy Fardy and Ann Barney, good for all of you for going the way of the grass roots and avoiding the Bridgeport Democratic Town Committee. Any and all candidates for public office endorsed and/or allied with that fell, poisonous organization are to be viewed with the greatest suspicion. If they are a part of the DTC they are a part of the problem …

    1. And shame, SHAME on anyone that allows the injustices perpetuated by DTC. There is no excuse. The Bridgeport Democratic Town Committee produced Joe Ganim, a man so corrupted by his own greed and false sense of invincibility that he had the unmitigated gall to get on the witness stand in federal court and lie through his teeth. (How many other people affiliated with the Bridgeport Democratic Town Committee went to prison with Mr. Ganim?)

      1. How ’bout that change in the Master Plan that Don Mario Calamari (or is it Caligari?) Testa discreetly made, one that pertained specifically to his restaurant up on Madison Avenue?

  7. The two greatest problems confronting the city of Bridgeport (both of which the DTC can be fairly blamed for perpetuating) are education and employment. The city’s children have been suffering the effects of the BOE’s politicization. If any or all of the city’s legislative delegation had any guts at all they would be calling for the Connecticut State Department of Education to assume administration of Bridgeport’s school system. That’s the ONLY way the system’s problems will be addressed. Non-partisan career bureaucrats from out of town will be able to address the low test scores, 70% dropout rate and the inertia caused by party chairmen more interested in control than actually doing some good for the city’s youngsters.

    The employment issue is a bigger nut to crack. No one wants to do business in the city of Bridgeport because there are too many greedy bastards in town that demand outright payment or arrangements beneficial to the few. The cost to the many is that no one is interested in building a factory or warehouse or some other business that could employee hundreds (if not thousands) of Park City residents because of the pay-to-play situation.

  8. The city is using a new tactic by giving drivers tickets who park on the sidewalk; this is the 5th time they have done this on my street. What about people who don’t have a driveway to park in? This should be a illegal tactic and it’s just another way to get money from working-class people. Shame on you Bill Finch this has to be a all-time low; not even the Fabs administration did this. What a disgusting tactic; giving people tickets that live on the street and do not have a driveway to park in!!!!!!!!!

  9. One of the things that the State and Federal government should be looking at is putting people back to work in the cities or for the cities. Something along the lines of the old CETA program. For those too young to remember CETA stood for Comprehensive Employment and Training Act.
    Most large cities no longer have the staff to adequately maintain their offices or infrastructure. Use the stimulus money to fund these hands-on jobs.
    Right now stimulus money is doing squat to get people back to work, in fact most of it is still in Washington.
    What better way to get the unemployed jobs?
    Using stimulus money for shovel-ready jobs may put a few union construction workers to work but it won’t put the majority of people back to work and numbers count.
    Right now we are giving stimulus money to police departments; that’s fine but in Bridgeport we still have only 21 street cops working per shift.
    I say put people to work in our offices and in public facilities and in the parks; you would have no shortage of applications.

    1. You are showing your age TC. And the memory can’t be too good either because as I recall the CETA program was rife with corruption and was an extension of the Town Committee in that it gave out all of the jobs to politically connected individuals.

  10. donj, this was from last week. It looks like things are starting to shape up as far as Republican challengers to Himes are concerned. Dan Debicella has officially announced–see link below–that he is running for Congress. We are still waiting for Russo to decide!

    Joel Gonzalez // Aug 6, 2009 at 10:07 pm

    “You think the stakes were high? I got news for you! The stakes just got higher–no pun intended Lisa Parziale–Rob Russo is withdrawing from the BOE race and has decided to enter the 4th Congressional race to challenge Jim Himes.

    “Now this doesn’t mean that Russo is in. There were a total of 5 Republicans from the 4th Congressional district “Local Eying” the seat. From what I understand, Senator Debicella is also very interested in the position and there is no word yet as to whether or not there will be a Republican primary for the 4th Congressional seat.”

    I got 87 petition signatures for the BOE race. Lennie Grimaldi is a pro when it comes to local political analysis. Lennie knows plenty of people who have gone out petitioning for a spot on the ballot. Finding Republicans is like finding a contact lens in Long Island Sound. I’m giving up on the petition drive and allowing Sauda Baraka to continue on her journey. Mojo may be right when he wrote that I have burned all my bridges; my friends have abandoned me–Not even Sauda Baraka called me to join her; my family no longer supports me and the Republican party doesn’t need me. I’m sure he is right when he writes “Time will tell.”

    State Senator Dan Debicella is in Lennie:


  11. Russo doesn’t know whether to grunt or get off the pot.

    Himes’ job is fairly secure. President Obama’s approval ratings are especially strong in the northeast in general and Connecticut in particular; Himes was one of the few congressional candidates Mr. Obama endorsed, and it is a safe bet that he will do it again come the mid-term election cycle.

    Joel, good luck in November.

  12. Joel Gonzalez

    Obama has a 71% approval rating in CT and only a 21% disapproval rating. With numbers like those Himes is not going to lose. Obama and the Democrats are just way way way too popular in this state and district. I have to say I am very pleased at the way Himes is handling his job and he has not done anything wrong for me not to vote for him again. The national Republicans hurt local Republicans in CT and that is a fact. CT supports health care reform and we are behind Obama. Now as for you Joel Gonzalez what are you saying? Did you qualify for the BOE seat for November??? I have no plans on voting for any of the democrats on the BOE because they were forced on me. I’d rather vote for Joel before I vote for one of them. If Joel is on the ballot I will vote for him. Now as far as my District is concerned I am mad as hell that all these other districts have primaries and the 130th does not; you would expect the 130th to be the first to have a person primary McCarthy. It really looks like D Roach is in full control. It’s such a shame McCarthy is forced on us. I like McCarthy but that does not mean he has the best interests for me and the 130th. I hate to say this guys because I am a solid Democrat and never once voted for a Republican in my life but if I vote in November I am voting a straight Republican ticket. Bridgeport Kid is correct anybody endorsed by the DTC is not good at all. Bridgeport Kid I hope you follow in my footsteps and vote a Republican ticket at Black Rock school.

  13. *** All the usuals have many answers to Bpt’s many problems, all except for their own screwed-up personal lives & the demons lurking in their closets! *** How can you take any of these schizo opinions with any real interests on this forum! *** Forget about it, or watch & see! ***


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