If You Voted You’re Voting Again

If you’re among the roughly 200 voters who cast an absentee ballot for City Council primary candidates you’re getting a mulligan. Superior Court Judge Barbara Bellis today issued a clarification of her decision last week to place Mary-Jane Foster and her slate of candidates on the ballot for a new Democratic primary set for September 27. Bellis moved the primary from September 13. Town Clerk Alma Maya reports each voter who cast an absentee ballot for City Council, per the judge’s order, will receive a new absentee ballot with the complete slate of candidates for Foster and Mayor Bill Finch on the ballot.

The ballots solely with City Council candidates that have been returned to the Town Clerk’s office will be set aside and will not be counted in the final tabulation. The Town Clerk’s office processes absentee ballot requests. Maya says a new absentee ballot is being printed and expects them to be ready for distribution within the next day or so. Judge Bellis’ order:






Judicial Notice (JDNO) was sent regarding this order.

The following order is entered in the above matter:


Pursuant to the defendant’s request filed today, the court advises as follows. The defendant is correct in construing the court’s order to require that there will be only one primary held, to take place on September 27, 2011. The new ballots are to be distributed in a timely fashion, and in accordance with CGS§9-140(f). Absentee ballots that had been cast prior to the implementation of this court order are to be preserved, not opened, and not counted. For any further clarification or advice, counsel are to immediately contact the Bridgeport caseflow office, and an immediate hearing will be scheduled for that same day.



  1. And if you paid taxes, you’ll be paying them again. What is new? Nothing under the sun, mostly, though I heard Bill Gates was unemployed while he worked on the basics of the ideas that launched a whole new technology that assists the global desire for more, better, faster, cheaper.

    I looked at some of the posts from tc and others riffing on the national scene as well as the local. I think middle-class people from a cultural viewpoint like the idea of continuing progress, fairness to all, freedom of choice, and a nation of laws providing advantages to those in need. Those are things we have done for a long time in many ways across the land.

    However, our legislative assemblies have increased the role of government and checked growth at all levels. Where they could they deferred the cost. But those birds have come home to roost on so many of the branches of our national tree, the tree is very sick. Who will see to it the tree survives and grows, see what it takes to stabilize financially and structurally. To look at what is ailing us, and stop or slow down our weak behavior. Does anyone believe we can keep up regularly making large commitments and not thinking about how to fulfill them financially or with any resources? And most middle class have never had the privilege of playing “king of the mountain” with a seat to look down on lots of other people, so where that behavior pops up it must be challenged.
    Why worry about multiple terms for the elected? Give them one term, or maximum four years. Limit the amount that can be spent on campaigns, and the number of days they are run. Those days and funds saved can be devoted to paying down the debt overhang created by too many past legislators buying us the good life and deferring the expense. There’s more but only when we seriously look at the state of our financial situation and make serious changes early enough will we make progress out of the hole in which we find ourselves. Pointing specific fingers to assign blame is no good. Rapid and comprehensive study with focused choices in a national referendum of sorts (with our technological state of the arts) might provide a clue. If we can overcome the gridlock and roadblocks of our current national governance structure we may have a reason to celebrate how special the US is. Until we do, we should keep our heads down and work at it.

    As I have been digging up what ails us financially in Bridgeport, those who have looked at it get sick. Well we are in a financial “plague zone,” and we need emergency room tactics to quarantine that which is making us ill and begin practicing those governance processes that encourage participation by all to the extent of their capacity, and cause us to bear the cost of governance currently and fairly. Our current medical staff can drive ambulances but they do not have a clue professionally as to what is required. Listen to the debates. Spread the word as you understand it. Ask questions. Think about the answers. Ask for more info. Vote. Time will tell.

  2. Very well said, Beacon. I have been thinking along the same lines … how can you not? I appreciate the hard work and time you must be spending, reading and researching. You can see clearly the wrong, and maybe it will lead to a solution. I know this, the democracy seems to be in trouble, not from greedy unions, or fat pension contracts, or education budgets … no, it’s the folks deciding what and how to spend the money, our money. I see it like this. My life, probably yours and your neighbors … work hard to get a good education however you can, get married, buy a home, raise children, send them to college, and hopefully retire with a decent income. It’s the American dream, most share it. Long term. It’s a lifelong plan, and it follows us until we die.
    The elected politicians, although they may share that same goal, their jobs are the route and they are too preoccupied with re-election. They are thinking in 2, 4 and 6 years increments … short terms! To me, this is how the democratic system has been “loopholed” into the mess it has become. So yes, limits on funds and term limits are a must. How to get that done? It’ll be a grassroots effort starting … right here maybe. Certainly, dialogue is the beginning.
    One of your last points I believe is the most poignant, and that is how do you get the message of change to the voters, who, for the most part, don’t really pay attention to the issues. I saw that reflected tonight at the debate at the North End Library. This meeting lasted less than an hour. At the very onset the Mayor said he would have to leave early to finally settle the land swap with Trumbull. There were only a few questions from the crowd, and not very telling. I can see how the current administration might win another four years, on apathy alone. If this happens, I do believe it will be their last because I don’t think they can change the way they’re doing things. They would probably succeed in turning their most loyal voters against them. I would hate to wait another term.
    Oh yeah … the Mayor didn’t have to leave early, ‘cuz they were done quickly.
    Highlight of the night had to be when the mayor said he was probably “the best mayor Bridgeport has ever had!”

  3. Bill Finch will not win because he doesn’t understand you:
    1) Can’t buy loyalty.
    2) Trust once broken is lost forever.
    3) You can’t run Bridgeport like a banana republic anymore (for clarification to at least two posters, that is not in reference to a clothing store).

  4. BARF,
    I was at the North End Library tonight as well. I was hoping for a larger turnout and more questions. Didn’t appreciate the city employee screaming out Larry Osborne really didn’t have a city car. Methinks she doth protest too much. Totally bad form.

    The final forum is Thursday morning at 8am at the Housatonic Community College Beacon Hall. Those who care need to convince those who don’t to attend, learn and be informed. Pastor Bennett was right. We need to wake up the electorate. Each and every one of us.

    Kudos to BEACON2. He is burning thousands of brain cells trying to understand the Sherwoodisms of Bridgeport’s budget. I appreciate all he is researching; learning and having the patience to inform us all. My hope is Mary-Jane wins, cleans house, forms a Charter Revision Commission to create a blended Board of Ed and a new Board of Finance, all with specific requirements for those who run for those offices. Reform, true reform is in the air. WAKE UP, BRIDGEPORTERS!

  5. The debate this evening was pretty dull! Too few questions of interest to sway anyone one way or another. There was that one employee from the City who was rude and vulgar to MJF. The taxpayers should fire her! Bill went on the record as “Being the best Mayor Bridgeport ever had.” He takes credit for everything positive in the city and rarely acknowledges the associates who made it happen. Finch has become very arrogant and made a vain attempt to gain support of city employees by being the knight on the white horse protecting them from MJF who was criticizing him not the associates. The morale in city hall is at an all-time low. You cannot buy support at this point. The overall questions were dull and maybe issues important to North End residents should have been discussed. I would have been interested if either candidate would support a zone change for Testo’s restaurant that would in effect allow a 15-story dorm for Sacred Heart University to be built.
    That proposal lost by only one vote 4 months ago. Jack Hennessy, Chris Caruso and many of our neighbors of the 134th district were there to voice our opinions. Like anyone thinks that issue will not be brought up again??? Like the proposed jail for Beardsley Park, “Nob Hill Academy,” the thought of a dorm on Madison Avenue is just unbelievable. That is not economic development. That is not a dead issue. It is just waiting for another four years to get the change approved so money can be made by all except the North End residents. We still remember the proposal to build doctors’ offices on upper Madison Ave. that became apartments for Sacred Heart students. I support the Sacred heart students living in Bridgeport and spending their money locally. I do not appreciate their presence in great numbers in residential neighborhoods especially when 4-5 students with five cars rent a home and act like–well, like students! These are some of the issues that may have resonated with the people.


  7. Thanks for the supportive words about my postings on City finances and economics. I am a little frustrated because wherever I look the “check and balance” system is broken and not enough people are looking at that or at the regular flow of information about our municipal economy. Examples:
    ** Finch taps the budget at the North End debate as if it is accurate, timely and well prepared. NOT.
    ** Charter says the June 30 Fiscal Year-end report needed to surface on July 22, 2011. NOT YET.
    ** Charter says City fund balance is the unrestricted AND unreserved balance. Finch claims that was $15.6 Million in 2010, but $4 Million was designated. No regard for City charter and Fitch Ratings allows the statement unchallenged. DID FITCH READ OUR CITY CHARTER?
    ** Budget and Appropriations canceled their monthly meeting this month. They are our check and balance or so they claim. No work? Nothing to review, research or inquire about? WHERE IS THE 2011 JUNE 30, 2011 REPORT???
    It is important. If people don’t know what is going on, the social network does not help correct the economic activity of the people in office. FYI, an essay on the subject:

    CityBudget 2011: Deficit–$2.5Million or $10 Million?

    It’s Labor Day, 2011. I was spending some time looking at a variety of reports and documents I have collected regarding Bridgeport financial standing. Specifically I was reviewing the eight month 2011 budget report released on March 29 and the eleven month report released late in August. (Ignore for the moment that the City has not filed either June 30 “trial balance” or full report, which per the City Charter was due on the fourth Friday of July.)

    I was troubled in comparing 8 and 11 month ‘budgeted, actual, and projected line items’ inasmuch as it appears that several expense line items from the 8 month report were deleted, across the board, from one departmental report in the 11 month report. The impact of “missing” expense line items would be to ultimately lower a deficit or increase a surplus, all other things considered.

    So I went to the beginning of the report, the revenue side of the budget. The largest revenue item in the City budget is Line Item 41693 CURRENT TAXES: REAL ESTATE. The 2011 adopted and modified budget placed that sum at $259,827,624. Eight months into the year, at the end of February, that sum was reported at $251,706,074. The City projected they would raise $10,481,230 in the months of March, April, May and June to create a year-end surplus of $2,359,680 in that line item. No variance report, however.

    The City of Bridgeport claims in its heading: “Any revenue that is known to have a significant variance by the end of the fiscal year has been indicated and explained below.” As a taxpayer observing so many out of work, with so many City homes having lost value or under threat of foreclosure, actual increase in property tax revenues is good news as well as somewhat unexpected. What is the City doing to increase year-end tax revenue variance?

    So I turned to the 11 month report for Line Item 41693 and discovered the City had indeed collected $257,904,122. Very close to their annual goal, with 30 days to go. So far, so good. However, the 30-day projection now showed a projected $11,006,183 in June before the fiscal year close, creating a year-end surplus of $7,282,016. Time for celebration? Time for a press release? What would Fitch Ratings say about this splendid projected accomplishment? I don’t know. But there was no variance report, once again for this line item. Curious? I think so. Were 2011-12 taxes paid early by some people in June and reported a year early? What is the explanation of the projected variance?

    Consider the City ended the 11-month report with an overall total $2,356,831 projected deficit. All by itself, realization of tax revenues in 12 months of projected magnitude could have erased 75% of what is otherwise nearly a $10 Million deficit for the fiscal year. Fitch would not have been pleased to write their August 11, 2011 letter based on 2010 Fiscal Year information and endorse a sense of progress in City turnaround. And a $10 Million deficit would do nothing to enhance Mayor Finch’s run for re-election either.

    Where is the tardy June 30, 2011 report? Did 2011 show a City budget surplus or deficit? How much was the variance and why? Taxpayers of the City, ask those who are looking for your vote. Someone in City government must have an accurate answer.

    More people need to be asking Council people, WHERE’S THE FISCAL YEAR 2011 REPORT???

  8. Nothing like a debate to bring out a person’s true colors. The vulgar woman cursing at the debate was none other than Marie Hoffman Heller, Larry Osborne’s secretary in the Labor Office. She also holds the position of treasurer of the Bridgeport Democratic party and is best buds with Mario Testa. In typical Bridgeport incestuous fashion, her husband is Adam Heller who is Director of the City’s IT department. Her husband hired and then promoted Mark Lazarus, son of Shurley who is Bill Finch’s secretary. Got all that? Marie has a lot at stake here–her job and her husband’s job.
    Marie did overreact. Perhaps her and hubby stopped at Testo’s bar prior to the debate.

  9. In reference to the “Mulligan” on the 200 or so ab’s … it would be an interesting thing if the “redone” ab’s, less the school board names, have the same result as the originals for the mayoral primary.
    As for Finch … the Fixer (above) put one of the most blaring problems to light with Marie Hoffman Heller’s association with Finch and his administration … it’s called NEPOTISM and CRONYISM. And they are unethical and immoral in a government or a corporate business environment!!!
    But, unfortunately, they aren’t illegal.

  10. This cronyism has gone on for years under the current Democratic machine. The only way to get a job was through Mario Testa. Period. As far as Marie’s behavior, what am I missing here? The mayor boasts he reduced the number of take-home vehicles to three. Then a smart Foster campaign volunteer does some homework and discovers some employees are still taking their cars home in spite of what the mayor says. The volunteer is smart enough to snap a few pictures of cars in the driveways of private residences. Pictures say a thousand words. Marie should shut up.

  11. Why would we want a 15-story dormitory anywhere in the City? The current 10-story dorm overpowers the neighborhood–why would you want a dorm at the corner of Madison and Westfield? Zoning did not protect the neighborhood when it approved a medical building–opening the property to any commercial use–it was supposed to be a restricted zone.

    Sorry you found the debate to be dull–I don’t think candidates yelling at each other is suppose to make it exciting–and if it is asserted that Finch raised taxes, then be clear–effective July 1, taxes increased by 1 mil–and Finch says it was because of the Library referendum–but the library was funded at .7 mils the year before–so logically .3 of the increase was for Library and the balance was for other expenses–otherwise Finch is saying his budget would have excluded all funding for the Library.

  12. Marie Hoffman Heller is part of the four-person labor relations office. Larry Osborne & Tom McCarthy each make in the neighborhood of $90,000 plus the two secretaries (they may have another title but they are secretaries) make in the neighborhood of $60,000-plus. These four do-nothings cost the city in the area of $320,000 not counting benefits. Go figure.

  13. I thought the “chat” at the North End Public Library was interesting. I sensed a lot of opposition to Finch and his marionette master Mario Testa’s way of doing things. I would like to have seen more people especially from our side. But, the Finch/Testa supporters were typical…dumb. It is obvious that the entire Finch/Testa payroll is shaking in their boots and will do and say anything that will preserve their parasitic way of life.

    I came away from the “chat” fully aware this primary is by no means a sure thing for us. The I NEED MY JOB FOR LUNCH BUNCH will organize an effective “Get Out the Vote” campaign. They will make sure everybody they know gets out just so they can have a continuing paycheck. It’s compelling.

    We have to work doubly hard to get our friends and family to the polls to offset the calamarians.

    1. All you need is one qualified labor attorney. That’s all most cities have. Talk to the Labor Relations Board and they’ll tell you Bridgeport has more than its share of grievances and other labor problems. The source of the problems = the unqualified Labor Relations Director + an administration that rules by threats, intimidation and unfair discipline.

  14. Reminder–Debate tonight at Black Rock Library

    130th District City Council Candidate Forum

    The Black Rock Community Council and the Black Rock Branch Library invite you to meet the four candidates for City Council in the upcoming Democratic Primary.

    Incumbent City Council members Susan Brannelly and Martin C. McCarthy will be joined by challengers James T. Fox and Jill Hughes for a discussion of issues important to the 130th District and to the city of Bridgeport as a whole.

    The forum will be moderated by Phil Blagys of the Black Rock Community Council and audience participation will be encouraged.

    Refreshments will be provided by the Friends of the Bridgeport Public Library.

  15. The MJF team should insist the Secretary of the State immediately send to Bridgeport, at once, a certified election trainer to instruct all of the election officials. This training should not be handled by Ayala–it just should not!

  16. It just occurred to me, Finch has referred to himself as the Best Mayor in the History of the City, or words to that effect. I think what he meant to say that of all the shitheads Mario Testa has finagled into office, Finch is the least damaging.

  17. Testa wanted his property spot-zoned as commercial–currently it sits in a residential zone with a grandfather–the master plan did not change the zone–but there was discussion of changing the zoning map–which would directly conflict with the master plan–it remained unchanged.

    The other parcel where a high rise would be allowed was the Park Ave Knights of Columbus property–can’t recall the outcome–I think both the master plan and map allow for high-rise dense housing.


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