If They Win, Will Reformers Practice What They Preach?

Young people invigorating city politics gives the establishment plenty of pause. And it’s nice to see in this current era of activism. Over the years, a whole bunch of young insurgents took on the establishment and then became the establishment. Still other so-called outsiders threatened the powers and settled for city jobs. When reformers experience power do they practice what they preach?

One week from the September 12 Democratic primaries featuring 9 of 10 district races for City Council, Bridgeport Generation Now and the Greater Bridgeport Young Democrats are pushing reformist agendas in this new era of social media outside the uninspired mainstream, albeit teleprompter aided.

In the video above young insurgents Gage Frank and Callie Heilmann share their take on that so-called machine, the Bridgeport Democratic Town Committee, that’s really acted more like a rusty jalopy in recent years.

When the machine is rusty do you allow it time for a lube job or build something better? Over the next few years we’ll see if the young guns hit their marks or shoot blanks and walk away in frustration. The business of politics takes endurance and timing.

Wednesday night, at the Bijou Theater, Generation Now will host a forum for all City Council candidates, that’s more than 30 if they all show, in advance of the primaries. And you thought the early 2016 Republican primary forums for president were unwieldy?

OIB will be there to check out if more than just candidates and pals fill the venue.



  1. Have you guys tried the Veal Piccata at Testo’s yet? To die for!

    I cannot say anything bad about this place.  Really really really.  Of course because the food was great, but they really served me as if I was someone.  I would like to mention that Mario, who waited my table, will be well received at anything that they will do because they are so friendly and attentive.  Manager ( I think he said his name was Louie but I may be recalling wrong) also seems really good with people’s faces.  He came to greet me long before I was done but as I exited, he happened to be at the bar area and he recognized me immediately.
    When you are served like this, food, as long as it is decent, becomes almost irrelevant in rating, but I can promise you that everything I ordered was way more than decent.  Since I went there for lunch, the famed chicken Parmesan was not available but it is kind of nice in a way – it forces me try something else and if they are all good, you can really brag about it.  Which is something I will do.

    For appetizers, I tried 2 things.  Grilled octopus saltimbocca and eggplant polpette.  I think Eggplant polpette is my favorite appetizer of all my recent dining experiences and trust me I eat out A LOT.  I also wrote in my some other review that cooking things like octopus or scallops is hard.  Undercooked, it is chewy and cold.  Overcooked, it is just rubbery and unpleasant.  I ate my fair share of either one of these octopus and scallops.  But here, octopus was grilled just right.  Bravo to Mario.
    So Frank and Callie tell Mario Jim Fox sent you. Bon Appétit!
    P.S Please let Mario pick up the check he always does that.

    1. Nice touch, Jim Fox. Comments on the preparation of seafood, but no personal opinion on the gravy? Are you trying to replace SA as OIB food critic? Time will tell.

  2. Nice video with some great points but it’s not realistic at this point and time. As Lennie has pointed out that we have been down this road before, this current era of activism. Over the years, a whole bunch of young insurgents took on the establishment and then became the establishment. The items that they talk about is just a wish lists as far as the direction of the Democratic Town Committee are NOT in the DTC policy. I strongly suggest that they read what the DTC policies are so that they know what has to added/ deleted from the current DTC policies. The key is still getting 46 DTC members to agree on making the changes that Bridgeport Generation Now and the Greater Bridgeport Young Democrats want.

  3. Ron Mackey, Everything you said is on the money. These new groups have the same members and yes, eventually they become what you call “the establishment”. I am proud to be a member of the 134th town committee. I do commend anyone that gets involved. Especially those that are idealistic, socialist, Sanders supporters. We are Democrats and have a big tent. Maybe if they sat down with the Democratic Chair instead of their goal of over throwing him they’d get more results for their efforts.

    1. Steve Auerbach’s latest recipe for Bridgeport Tripe.
      1) Find a “big tent” with a Democrat sign on it.
      2) Locate Mario. Was he in the kitchen. Sit down with him. Do not wait for an invitation.
      3) See if you can hear what he likes? Does he care about your taste? How’s your appetite if you are young, idealistic, a revolutionary, or a Sanders supporter?
      4) Can you stomach the overall menu? (Do you have to give up your stomach to become dressed as an alternative to beef tripe?)
      5)Going for boiled or sauteed? Were you offered what you wish for in exchange for lifetime loyalty?
      6)Is it time for dessert? Or time will tell?

        1. It is good to know that something “grosses you out”! Chacun a son gout, mon ami. The manner in which you express your preferences and opinions, especially with reference to the word ‘loyalty’ is distasteful to me. It causes me to question your values and perspectives routinely when it comes to the ISSUES that Bridgeport faces and is challenged by.

          You know the first dictionary definition of tripe–the first or second stomach of a ruminant, especially an ox, as food. It was the second one the elders of my household spoke to me–colloquial, nonsense; rubbish (don’t talk such tripe).

          So we discover through the use of one word, that the notable ‘foodie’ of OIB using the first meaning disses a meal with tripe, while I wish he would desist in pushing tripe, as in the second definition,on the rest of us, who have no taste for it.

          That’s mild pushback, Steve. If you can find a few others who post here who agree with your assessments of Ganim2 that it’s all good for citizens and taxpayers, perhaps we can have a discussion on the issues? Time will tell.

    2. Steven Steven Steven,

      Your suggestion brings a Peter Townsend somg. The ending verse goes “Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.”

      You are correct on one point: the Democratic Town Committee is big tent. The problem is, there is a VIP section.

    3. “SIT DOWN WITH THE DEMOCRATIC CHAIR” That is a huge laugh. In fact,in five words the cancer at the center of Bridgeport Politics was succintly described by a very member of the Democratic Town Committee. Quite ironic. Maybe a Freudian slip of the tongue.

      1. Frank Gyure I have a serious question for you. Have you ever met Mario Testa? Have you ever had conversation with him? Just curious if you are basing your comments on reality or others comments on the blog. Remember, Most people on this blog that have been trashing the town committee have been members for decades or disgruntled members or formr members or friends before jail. I generally hold judgement until I have a reason based in reality to cast aspersions.

        1. Steve, I do know Mario Testo, I repeat, from the day he got off the “boat.” Way before he enter politics; you can’t trust his word or actions. His pleasure in life is causing friction, lying to those who trusted him, and in my opinion, he never let go of the fact he was defeated by Joe Grabarz when he held a State Rep seat many moons ago. I give pause to comments made by Ron Mackey, he’s legit, and in some ways correct, but let’s not forget we all started somewhere. Nobody came in as trained, immediately ready for the job. With decent leadership and trust, the next generation have a shot. Absent that for now, they have to rely on those willing to advise them. If they take it they may persevere, if they don’t, their aspirations will be just a memory to them.

    1. Actually Bob, The first time I had a conversation with Mario Testo , I was confrontational and disrespectful at Winthrop school. Did you crap in your pants last night since you drove down from Branford hoping to see an army against the Downtown project only to find everyone in support except for your Black Rock candidate?

      Lisa, I respect your long term knowledge of Mario. I just do not understand how you have become so vocal against him. Honestly, I do not recall you ever making a negative comment about him until recently. I can understand your having a falling out and airing on OIB but you have been a member of the “VIP” club for decades. Didn’t you have a great fundraiser at Mario’s Pizza place in Brooklawn?

      I do agree that young people need encouragement to become active in this city and I am glad you are actively working to be part of this movement. When the New Republican Voice came out in support of Mary Moran, the Republican party didn’t know what hit them. We were aggressive. They disbanded within a few years. The Republican party never saw the light of day again in Bridgeport.

      It is laughable that I am coming to the defense of Mario. there are hundreds of his beneficiaries that read this blog. My point is simple. I only judge others on how they treat me.

      1. Steve I respect your questions to me regarding Mario and I will honestly answer you because I believe you are sincerely confused about my disdain for him. Over the years Mario and me shared a mostly congenial relationship, I always supported him, and I thought he did the same with me. Sixteen months ago, while I held TC meeting from the 132nd district in his pizza restaurant, and then chose his restaurant to hold a fundraiser, he was actively working with Tom McCarthy to defeat me. His reasoning, I found out later, was he needed the TC votes for Tom McCarthy who challenged MM. To accomplish his goal, he destroyed a decades-old friendship and trust. I took that personally, not politically. I can lose as well as win, as long as there’s fairness. He personally betrayed me, and I still feel the sting. Karma came quickly and swiftly for Tom McCarthy, Mario’s will eventually come also.

  4. Many moons ago when Destefano was running for governor I met the Town Chair from New Haven.
    During the course of the conversation I mentioned Mario.
    She said no one in the state has the power of that man. All jobs have to be approved by him, all appointments, everything goes thru him.
    But what do I know. I’m just a disgruntled former town committee member.

  5. Another quote from Steve who manages to connect a few dots, but not the entire story. “Remember, most people on this blog that have been trashing the town committee have been members for decades or disgruntled members or former members or friends before jail.” Didn’t do all of the research, once again, mon ami?
    1) Why would members for decades be trashing such an organization with leadership that is silent on important City issues?
    2) Disgruntled members (assumed to be current members also) but perhaps they feel compelled by job, favor, friendship or family to remain but are upset by where the relationship is today?
    3) Former members, yes. Rather a good group of them who have been active participants in the political history of the City. And yet they find it more palatable to live outside the confines of a District committee of nine?? What’s missing in their life? Indigestion?
    4)”Friends before jail”? Steve, just whom did you have in mind for spearing with your mini-fork? Could it be that when someone has been behind bars, they have a chance to reflect on their actions, take responsibility for the choices made, and firmly resolve to change?? Isn’t that what “second chances” are about? Should everybody get a second chance, before they demonstrate remorse and resolve to change? Shouldn’t they be open to new people and ideas? Shouldn’t they do the research like the Political Science students from UB who were present last night? Or do you accept someone for the aura of power they exhibit privately, not advertised on a website, showing a 1983 DTC rule book for downloading, and a schedule of coming events, like “when Hell freezes over”?

    Then there is my mantra of institutional governance of OPEN, ACCOUNTABLE and TRANSPARENT (and HONEST). How do those values fit into the Bridgeport DTC these days? Now I tried to become endorsed two years ago, and I do not fit into any of the categories you mention above (part of the reason I engage your posts) as far as I can see. What I was told was that “blood is thicker than water” and that meant Danny is loyal to his sister. But you know, when she decided not to run this year, did Dan Roach call me and tell me he needed a candidate who was a student of City affairs, of better municipal governance? Absurd, you say? Time will tell.


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