Itch And Switch, Plus: Visit Tonight, And Tell Us Another One

Afternoon update: I’m thinking we may see some switchers in this gubernatorial cycle.

Yeah, sometimes in politics it’s better to switch than fight. The wide open guber race has created this dynamic. The GOP senate field hoping to lance Chris Dodd includes Rob Simmons, Linda McMahon, Sam Caligiuri, Tom Foley, Peter Schiff.

McMahon and her money make her a monster to contend with. She’s not going away. Caligiuri, a state senator from Waterbury, has arguably the most solid conservative GOP credentials, but he won’t have the dough of the others. Could Sam sidestep the senate race and segue to challenge 5th District Congressional Democrat Chris Murphy? Sure sounds that way based on his news release today. See below.

Could Foley, former ambassador to Ireland, run for governor instead?

On the Democratic side I see that Attorney General Dick Blumenthal’s phone is ringing again from operatives that want him to enter the governor’s race. Dick took a pass on challenging Jodi Rell (when he thought she was running) and now that Jodi’s out will he try to squeeze out the announced Dems? Dick, ever cautious, always likes a sure thing, plus Joe Lieberman’s seat lurks in 2012.

If I’m running a GOP guber race (aren’t you glad I’m not) I’d be filleting Democrats for creating the highest taxed state in the country. Remember that Kingston Trio song, “Where have all the flowers gone?” I say where has all the money gone? Chorus: wouldn’t you like to know. We keep raising taxes, yet we keep running deficits. How is it that we keep raising revenue but we cannot pay bills? Yeah I know, I know the economy sucks, people don’t buy and it kills sales tax revenue, etc. But message-wise–and that’s what a knucklehead like me deals in–Connecticut Republicans have gotten away from what they do best: tax cuts, budget cuts, less government, tough on crime.

Now, Kevin O’Connor, former GOP United States attorney for Connecticut, would be an attractive candidate for governor. Looks good, sounds good, strong resume, but he was also one of the top lawyers in George Bush’s Justice Department. How will that play? Me, I think folks are focused on the economy and to beat that horse probably doesn’t work.

News release from Sam Caligiuri

Waterbury, CT – In response to Chairman Healy’s call for Senator Caligiuri to enter the Fifth Congressional district race, Caligiuri made the following statement:

“I want to thank Chairman Healy for his kind words and encouragement of my potential candidacy in the Fifth Congressional District. Over the last several days I have been exploring this option with Chairman Healy and other leaders in the party who have reached out to me in support of this move. My goal has always been to best serve the people of Connecticut by reviving our economy, reforming government, and restoring fiscal responsibility. Over the coming days, I will make a decision on how I can best continue to fight for those principles and serve the people of Connecticut.”

Statement from Connecticut GOP Chairman Chris Healy below:

“Over the last few weeks, State Senator Sam Caligiuri and I have discussed his candidacy for statewide office. After much thought and discussion with other leaders and activists, I have urged him to focus his energies on the Fifth Congressional district where I believe he would be a top candidate.

“This is a sentiment shared by many Republican activists in the district. And while it is in no way meant to diminish the efforts of other Republican candidates, Sen. Caligiuri has established himself as a proven reformer and principled legislator.

“Senator Caligiuri’s potential entry into the fifth congressional district race spells trouble for Democrat Chris Murphy and shows Republicans are ready to provide new leadership in the Congress.”

Black Rock Tonight

What are you doing tonight? I’ll be hanging out at the Black Rock Library talking about my favorite subject. Yeah, baby, Bridgeport government and how it works! Fairfield University political science professor Don Greenberg will be on hand as well, to share information about how the government is supposed to operate. My role is to address how it really operates. Eek, never know what I’ll say. Come say hello, 6:30 to 8 p.m.


What a bunch of hooey. Now the state is saying it wants to place a juvenile detention center for girls in a residential area of the Upper East Side because roughly two thirds of the anticipated offenders will come from Bridgeport. Let’s see now, the city has roughly 140,000 inhabitants. The state has a population of three million that includes cities such as Hartford, New Haven, Stamford, Waterbury, New Britain, and all of those sweet, nice, suburban and rural towns with a bunch of adolescent problems (that no one wants to talk about) and the genius state spin wizards want us to believe it belongs in Bridgeport because it’s providing all the clients. Okay, Bridgeport is the state’s largest city, how about giving us as much state aid as Hartford and New Haven. No, we cannot do that, says the state because Hartford and New Haven are poorer than Bridgeport. Oh, really? A public hearing has been scheduled for Thursday at 6:30 in the Carousel Building of Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo. The venue will be moved from the originally announced location, the Hanson building, to accommodate a larger audience.

From the Connecticut Post

Hearing planned on proposed juvenile center

By Ken Dixon

HARTFORD – Officials from the state Department of Children of Families and the Department of Public Works, under fire from lawmakers opposed to a site in Bridgeport that’s targeted for a new juvenile treatment-and-detention center, have scheduled a public hearing this week on the project.

A chief opponent of the plan, veteran state Rep. Christopher L. Caruso, a Democrat whose district contains the planned location, calls the hearing “a sham” that’s set to influence a pending investigation by Attorney General Richard Blumenthal.

State Sen. Anthony J. Musto, D-Trumbull, says that it’s a chance to let the surrounding neighborhood voice concerns about the 36,000-square-foot facility for up to two dozen girls under 18 years of age.

“The object of the meeting is to have the community come out and make their opinions known,” Musto said in a phone interview. “Hopefully, if we have enough people there, they’ll find another place.” Caruso, who was instrumental in getting the $15-million project delayed last month before the State Bond Commission, said he cancelled another long-standing commitment for that night in order to attend the event.

“I want to be there with my constituents and help lead the charge against this jail on Virginia Avenue,” said Caruso, who said the meeting venue is too small for the hearing and the parking space is inadequate.

“It’s clearly designed to keep people away and to influence the outcome of the attorney general’s investigation,” said Caruso, who got support last month from majority Democratic leaders in the House to pressure a delay on the plan by the bond commission.



  1. I will be at Thursday’s meeting on the juvenile center scheduled by the DCF. This group of arrogant bureaucrats have been treating the residents of this area like trash for years.
    First when the building was vacated they allowed it to be used by druggies and malcontents as a hangout.
    Second when they tore the building down they left a 30-ft-high pile of ground-up concrete in place for over 2 years. Every time it got windy the concrete dust blew into the nearby homes forcing many of the elderly tenants to spend summer days with their windows closed so the concrete dust did not enter their homes.
    Calls to DEP and DCF about this problem were ignored. The pile is still there.
    When these arrogant bastards announced the detention center they said it would house 8 to 12 girls. Now they state that it will house over 24 girls. WHAT IS THE REAL NUMBER?
    They earlier stated they contacted and met with neighbors; that was an out-and-out lie.
    Why does Bridgeport get stuck dealing with all of the area’s social ills?
    We have a major prison in the North End. We have a male juvenile detention center downtown. We have 2 state courts and 1 Federal Court. We have drug treatment centers, hospitals, homeless shelters, halfway houses. Medical office buildings. Numerous senior citizen housing complexes run by non profits. The list goes on.
    When is it time for the suburbs to assume some of this responsibility?

  2. “Bridgeport Now” LIVE Tuesdays at 8pm on Ch 88 on Cablevision, Ch 90 on AT&T, in Bridgeport, Fairfield, Stratford; on the net at

    1. Local News update with Mike, then …

    2. Feature story: Controversy in Black Rock, balancing the needs of youth sports with the strains on this charming historic seaside Black Rock neighborhood.

    The Black Rock Ellsworth Park expansion proposal includes night lights, a new bathroom and storage building, a splash pond, and no new ideas for the crowded traffic and parking problems local residents deal with. Again, balancing these is not easy. No decent bathrooms for the kids, and yet residents I spoke with have to park blocks away from their own house, or don’t leave the house on weekends. They complain of having a huge bathroom structure in front of their house also.

    3. Joe Lieberman’s blocking of a public health plan. Wasn’t his key 60th health care vote the reason Obama let him stay on as chief and chair of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security? Hey, you think the GOP would give that job to a DEM when they were in power?

    By the way, we got a lot of calls from upset constituents last week about Lieberman. Some say he is in the neocon tradition.

    By the way, Soundview studios has had technical problems and is trying to fix them. You could call to complain about the issue.

  3. There was an “emotionally charged meeting” of the Bridgeport Housing Authority Board of Commissioners Monday night. The Board was there to address the concerns of the residents of P.T. after a young mother and her three children died of smoke inhalation early Friday morning. According to the Connecticut Post’s account of the meeting, “Several residents said they’ve had problems with malfunctioning doors and bemoaned the 1992 redesign and construction that left the complex without fire escapes. Many indicated they feel unsafe and disenfranchised.

    “Elected officials at the meeting said they feel the residents’ pain and will do what they can to help.

    “Mayor Bill Finch said he was on scene shortly after the bodies were taken from the apartment and was heartbroken by the twins’ homework in their Barbie backpacks. ‘It’s something I will never forget,’ he told the crowd.

    “‘We won’t either,’ someone yelled back.

    “Finch added that he does not ‘have a magic wand’ to fix the issue but has resolved to find funding to address it.

    “State Rep. Auden Grogins, D-129, agreed. ‘We’ve got to work expeditiously to get safety measures for these residents so this can never happen again,’ she said. ‘There is no price too high to pay for safety. I am here for you.'”

    Is this shameless grandstanding, or what?! Did these people even exist in the minds of Finch and Grogins before the fire? Probably not, but they sure do now. I heard Bob Keeley was there as well. Interesting, very interesting. No one gave a damn until there was a loss of life.

    The rush to score a few votes in the wake of a tragedy is sickening.

    1. Didn’t Grogins say something to the effect she was going to bring home more monies to her district in her first year than Keeley did for his 20+ years? How’s she doin’?

  4. There are ways to rectify the situation at PT and other housing complexes that are scattered throughout the country. While PT apartments met the technical aspects of the life safety Code which is NFPA101 it really does not address the real-life conditions that are common in these types of apartments.
    If the politicians want to address this situation they can change the Connecticut life safety code which is an addendum to the national code and allows for stricter fire codes.
    To put bedrooms on the second floor and expect children to be able to open windows and get onto a gabled roof is unrealistic. What do they do in the winter when the windows are frozen and the roof is ice covered? The fire code writers expect children and even adults to act in a calm fashion when confronted by fire and/or smoke. That’s not going to happen.
    There are ways to protect the citizens in these apartments where you do not need fire escapes. There are buildings that are so constructed that fire escapes are not practical because of construction configurations.
    1. Smoke Detectors can be connected directly to 911 or a central monitoring center that will call the fire department when an alarm comes in.
    A. There were reports that the smoke detectors were heard for 20 minutes before the FD was notified.
    2. The apartments can be retrofitted with sprinklers. In some forward-thinking communities this is now mandated in all new home construction.
    God bless the four people that died and God bless the Fire Fighters that tried to save them; they are casualties also as they will never forget that night.

  5. *** They’ve never been there for P/T, Twin Towers, or Evergreens Apts. (that’s no longer up). It’s the usual croc. tears & political speeches with a lot of B/S talk that when the smoke clears, very little will end up being done. Why, because regardless of the number of people that live in these public housing complexes, only a small % vote or are vocal & aware of the local current events in their district that could affect them in the present or future! Just look @ the up-coming (live) Bpt. Now coverage of the Black Rock Ellsworth Park expansion. Lots of money found for fixing up that neighborhood park & little league field, yet the “entire” Park City little league struggles every year for a mere 5 to 6 thousand dollars while Black Rock gets $25,000. awarded from the yearly grants applications & more. Yet in other lower income neighborhood parks, it’s taken years for slow-moving construction to finish agreed-to projects that still are never finished completely with items like public bathrooms always the last thing to be completed! But we all know that money talks & active & vocal voting power is the squeaky wheel that gets the oil. So from the badly polluted air from industry, to the rat-infested areas & the rusted outside porch dwellings, not to mention the lack of working fire alarms & lack of a 2nd exit in case of emergencies all in these public housing apts. like P/T. Do I believe anything will be done? “NO”! ***

  6. There has been and will be a lot of political posturing on the PT fire. This is not meant to discount the need and dialogue for public safety needed throughout the city. It has been reported that the smoke detectors were working and had been going off for 20 minutes. There were also complaints about the sensitivity of the smoke detectors and how many people just don’t react. TC can attest to the deadly fact of smoke inhalation and how minutes are of the essence. I think before all the finger-pointing starts, we need to wait for the tox reports, wait for the investigation to be completed, and yes look at how to better train everyone in fire safety.

    Frankly, there should have been a greater uproar about the negligence of the city, when they shut down 7-11 two years ago and that family perished.

  7. One thing that could be looked at are escape ladders in each apartment. They have a product now that gets built directly into the wall, either at the time of construction or as a retro-fit after construction. It might be worth looking into this as a way to secure the units at P.T. It could become part of the City’s fire prevention strategy.

  8. An amazing city we live in. Any private development built to the PT specs would have never gotten approved. How on earth did that entire project get built with such little regard for safety? Let’s start finger-pointing right now and dig up the names of the people who pushed this through.

  9. Yahooy it would have gotten built but it would have better fire protection than what we have here. While the fire code is up to date it is really just a bare minimum. When PT and many other projects were built there was basically no fire code to speak of.
    Connecticut follows NFPA 101 along with its own addendum to the national code. The Connecticut Code is stricter in many areas. When the Connecticut Code was put together MONEY entered the picture. Many people that put this code together do not come from areas where this type of housing is located (PT). These people also had very little practical firefighting experience. What they did in allowing 2nd floor windows to be used as a means of egress assumed that everyone would act in a calm and intelligent way and that everyone opening these windows would be an adult not some scared 4 or 5 year old.
    Put in central station smoke and heat detectors and you will be affording these tenants a real chance to survive a fire.
    There are many unanswered questions concerning this latest fire and tragedy. I hope someday to read the investigative report on this fire. Then I can offer a better option and opinion on this fire.

  10. I’m not interested in opinions, I’m interested in names. I want accountability for this tragedy. Who in their right mind would build a multi-dwelling housing unit with a kitchen adjacent to the only exit?

    One entrance costs a lot less than two or more. Like the executive at Raybestos is alleged to have remarked when told that the asbestos in his brake pads production process was killing his employees and expensive ventilation was needed “… WOPS are cheaper than props.”

    I want to know who approved the design. I want this person’s professional career adjusted accordingly.


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