Knock, Knock … Anyone Home?

Hey, wake up! The general election is just two months away. What? You want to enjoy the Labor Day weekend without the annoyance of phone calls, mailers and blowhard political junkies like me?

Can’t blame ya. But it’s been awful quiet out there. That’s to be expected with an August primary. There must be a lull in the action, although there wasn’t much action judging from the pathetic August turnout. So now the attention switches to November and state and national media are picking up that freshman Congressman Jim Himes has a battle.

This is not a surprise given the makeup of Connecticut’s 4th Congressional District that covers Greenwich to Bridgeport along the shore and several inland communities, and the crabby mood of unaffiliated voters given spending in Washington and a stimulus investment that has not turned out as advertised.

Jimmy’s out on his 17-day tour visiting each each of the 17 communities in the district. And each day supporters of his Republican opponent Dan Debicella, who was raised in Bridgeport, issue 17 reasons why Himes shouldn’t be reelected. Two years ago Himes was chasing down 21-year incumbent Chris Shays. Now Jimmy’s being chased. The turnout in Bridgeport will be crucial in this race, and judging the interest so far the turnout will be death valley. What about you? Are you following this race? Do you care?

The Debicella campaign kicked out this release based on a Hartford Courant story:

Hartford Courant: Capitol Watch Blog

Democrat Jim Himes Placed On CNN’s Top 100 List of Most Vulnerable Seats; Facing GOP’s Dan Debicella In November

By Christopher Keating

The Congressional race in lower Fairfield County is heating up as U.S. Rep. Jim Himes has been placed on CNN’s 100 of the “most vulnerable” races in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Himes, a freshman Democrat, scored an upset victory in 2008 over longtime U.S. Rep. Christopher Shays as numerous Democrats came out in Bridgeport to vote for Barack Obama at the top of the ticket.

Obama is not on the ballot this year, and Himes is facing state Sen. Dan Debicella of Shelton, whose father was a Bridgeport police officer. Debicella went on to the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and received an M.B.A. from the Harvard Business School.

Traditionally, the seat in lower Fairfield County has been held by the Republicans. Before Shays held the seat for 21 years, the late Stewart McKinney had it for 17 years. Before McKinney, the local Congressman was a relatively unknown politician from Greenwich named Lowell P. Weicker, Jr. He led the district in the late 1960s before running for the U.S. Senate in 1970 and winning his first of three terms.



  1. It looks like after tomorrow I won’t be home. I think I’ll check out Ken Dixon, now there’s one guy who knows how to “Pry Open the Juicy Stuff.” Ken has never made such a bold claim, but on this one he delivers! As for today’s topic, I get the feeling Lennie is thinking of writing another book titled: Jimmy Himes Alone, Chased, and Running for Cover. As for Debicella, I’ll be sending him another $50 soon, as I’m sure it would be a better investment than buying Lennie’s Jimmy Himes book.


    1. For my dear OIB friends and foe, I can be reached on my facebook page (Lennie will still be one of my fb friends) by doing a search with my e-mail: (it’s a number one after joel) and I’ll gladly accept you as a friend provided you meet the qualifications on the top of the page.

  2. It is no surprise Himes is in trouble. He joins the list of Dems who could lose their reelection bids. Estimates show up to 60 Reps could be replaced by Republicans and as many as 9 Democratic senators could also be replaced.
    People are fed up with all the spending the Feds have been doing with little tangible results for the average citizen.
    Unemployment is still above 9% and on the surface and in fact Washington has not gotten the message that Jobs are the main concern of the voters. The Dems’ attempt at putting people back to work has been a disaster.
    Himes voted for the Health Care bill and here we are where no one actually knows what’s in the Bill and that includes Himes. Yeah I know about closing the doughnut hole and I know people with pre-existing conditions can now get insurance but at what cost?
    Being a freshman legislator is tough and these are tough times. Himes is facing the mid-term election changes. Obama’s popularity is dropping like a rock and people are still out of work that’s a lot to overcome.

  3. Now the truth comes out that nice visual Bridgeport advertisement about Bridgeport has cost $350K to produce and put on the air.
    I know I write a lot of negative stuff on this blog but I do have 2 questions: Why are we advertising Bridgeport now that the vacation season is over and the kids are back in school?
    #2 Who authorized the spending of these funds?

  4. Knock, Knock … Anyone Home?

    Good heading, wrong story Lennie.

    “It’s paid from public and private money,” Finch said, adding that he believes the City Council was aware of it. “I think they voted for it. It’s in the budget somewhere.”

    Timpanelli said the process dates back to about three months ago. The commercial began running last week.

    So this has been in the works for months and Finch cannot say with any certainty the council approved this? It’s in the budget somewhere? So does that mean contracts don’t need to be approved by the council if it’s in the budget somewhere???

    Knock, Knock … Anyone Home?

  5. Where the money came from is important. If it was private funds; bravo, well done! The video is top notch and outstanding. I did not view it as a campaign tool. I thought it made Bridgeport beautiful and special. If it was from taxpayer money and not approved by the council, shame shame shame on the administration. Excellent or not, the taxpayers cannot afford this, for Christ’s sake, we are not BP. And, if it was approved by the council, all who voted for it should resign.

  6. The flurry of specifically local lunacy:
    * from vendor vendettas,
    * to “gentleman farmer” with bankrupt former City holdings with big taxes overdue succumbing to fire,
    * while the property fire watch is managed by a retired State prison officer who happens to be a City Councilman,
    * to a City fire investigation officer allegedly torching her personal auto for insurance proceeds,
    * to news about Mayoral hirings and firings that no one can really follow, support or be accountable for …
    * and exams continue to be avoided allowing for “Acting” appointments …
    * and a “pretty City video” has a price tag of around $250,000 to the City and no one can quite remember where it was located in the Budget and whether it was ever discussed by the Council Budget Committee …
    * and Mayor Finch announces that “It’s Bridgeport, SURPRISE!!!”
    You know … sit back and think about it … what I have recounted on the one hand is not a surprise. These are the fruits of a very dysfunctional municipal administration that is under pressure and poorly structured. The video shows us what the pretty City can be in its wonderful moments, but the time we have to spend in the greedy and gritty City as indicated by the stories above are a cautioning weight that is born by taxpaying property owners.
    No wonder the Himes-Debicella race seems of such underwhelming interest at this moment. Perhaps Bridgeport taxpayers understand the biggest jolt to their wallets is going to come locally rather than from the actions of their regional representative in Congress?

  7. The Fourth Congressional District in Connecticut is a Republican seat. It is not gerrymandered to make it impossible to win for a Democrat. It is drawn the way they are all supposed to be drawn, more or less–reflective of the American people and not the interests of the two political parties. Geographically and economically, it favors Republican interests naturally.

    Jim Himes, I am sure, knew he was going to have a tough reelection in 2010. If not, the political guys around him did. The only person who didn’t know Jim Himes was going to have a tough election in 2010 was donj, maybe (no offense, donj).

    There are 435 members in the U.S. House of Representatives. To make CNN’s top 100 of close seats is not a big deal. It is no deal.

    As a former political reporter, let me tell you this is a holiday weekend story. You get the information on record, shut up an editor looking for copy, and start your weekend. You know damn well the only person reading it will be either political junkies and other reporters, who laugh at the story.

    The public, outside of dingbats like us, does not care.

  8. 100 out of 100?

    Yawn … zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz!!!

    Labor Day Weekend stories are made for the “fun” stories and the 4th District has had its share of fun campaign stories.

    Let’s start with the candidate who was going to “walk the length of the district” to demonstrate he was heading to Congress. Only he started in Greenwich and aimed at Bridgeport (DC is still south of here according to my Triple A maps)!

    Then there was the candidate who released a polling district by polling district analysis showing estimated voter turnouts that proved HE WOULD BEAT the incumbent. Only when you actually added up the numbers (what else are you going to do on a Labor Day weekend in the newsroom), HE LOST! The guy doubled his embarrassment by blaming it on a secretary, which the opposition claimed as one more vote for their guy!

    And finally, we had the candidate who showed up at a Labor Day event wearing the same clothes (not rumpled) that he wore at a fundraiser the night before. (This candidate had a reputation for chasing skirts all over Westport after the sun went down.)

    Yep, our candidates have Labored for us over the years!!!

    Maybe Himes isn’t the worst we’ve ever had seek the office.

  9. Wait! We have low turnout at elections and need tax revenue, and Bridgeport citizens know little about important issues at hand? How about this … make voting mandatory otherwise you are fined $100.

    Now, about that TV commercial “Surprised Bridgeport,” lots of questions come up. What was the target market, and is current TV media plan actually reaching them. Does this fit into a marketing strategy or just was, heck, let’s do a commercial. When you come to Bridgeport, is there a sign that says “Surprise?” Where are you supposed to go? Where are those images taken from? We will examine each one in a coming TV program. Also why is no history of the city shown? Let’s look at another city … for example, if you were to take the visible history away from Mystic, many fewer tourists would go there. Bridgeport’s history is rich and awareness is poor. Why didn’t Mary at the history section of the library get some of the $400,000 to enhance awareness of history in the city?

    And after the 90 times the ad gets aired on TV, which could be in two weeks, is that it, we are done with the Marketing of Bridgeport campaign? There is nothing permanent that will remain and nothing on the internet. By the way when was the budget approved for the film? Was it really open bidding? Do I sense an FOI coming?

    I do applaud the city for its efforts, but again, I would like to know what was the strategy behind this and who they are trying to reach … Westport folks who want to go out to dinner after the zoo and by the way, who will come to Bridgeport for fly fishing anyway?

  10. I guess “Surprised Bridgeport” surprised Bridgeport. What’s the big deal?

    Surprise Bridgeport is an economic development video sponsored by the City of Bridgeport and the Bridgeport Glee Club, AKA Bridgeport Regional Business Council, Paul Timpanelli, choir director.

    My guess is the only people with a beef are city council members who didn’t know they were the chorale eunuchs of the production. But they don’t have balls anyway.

    If the city wants to really target a suburban market to come into Bridgeport, they shouldn’t even bother with Cable 12, just throw the video onto Internet newspapers like Westport Now.

    Putting it on cable wastes eyeballs, as they say in the ad racket–and ad dollars–on city residents. Unless, of course, the economic development ad is really a political ad for the mayor’s reelection.

  11. Maybe we’re barking up the wrong tree in asking the City to be accountable for the $250,000 spent … purported to be somewhere in the City budget, but who cares … Finch seems to be saying …

    You know membership associations like Bridgeport Regional Business Council have to be more open, accountable and transparent to their membership … the members who pay the dues and fees to special events, etc. that pay the salaries of employees and vendor invoices expect results. So if you were really interested (or if Paul Timpanelli reads OIB) perhaps he would provide the “business perspective” on the investment of a dear $100,000. What is the payback to his membership? How many people need to be moved to try a meal, a ball game, a visit to the Zoo or a concert, etc. to repay the business community investment???

    Hello, businessmen? What is the hard math that went into this? How do you measure? And where and when will the results be posted? After all the ad I saw gave no specific info about any of the images flashed. And if BRBC money was from a “special collection” maybe one of the contributors to that fund would like to express his expectation of return on the advertising investment. How many parking meters, lot fees, admissions to events, meals purchased does it take to say SUCCESS? And how does fishing in the Pequonnock River, walking at Seaside, and a few other low-rent activities get to ROI?

    But if a smiling Mayor showing off a big grin while continuing to hide the answers on budget/taxation and other important issues continues in this “What me worry?” role, the City investment and that of BRBC may return a one-term Mayor.

    Why was a large flat-screen TV installed in the hallway of city hall across from the tax collector’s office?
    Who installed this TV and when?
    Why is it there?
    Who paid for this TV?
    Is it there to run a continuous loop of the Bridgeport video?
    Is this Adam Woods’ old TV?
    This is better than watching television at night. Only in this damned city with this class of clowns we have as our leaders.
    Beam me up Scotty.

  13. I just closed my eyes and envisioned Mayor Moonbeam in a torrential downfall (OK heavy rain) with hurricane-strength winds (OK maybe more like soft summer breezes) telling the good citizens of Bridgeport to rest peacefully knowing he is in charge. Maybe that will be his next commercial. Surprise, it’s not a hurricane but we’re going to make believe it is.

    The latest forecast has the track of Hurricane Earl approaching North Carolina Outer Banks. The Center of Earl will pass near the outer banks tonight and be near Southeastern New England Friday night due to the expected increase of forward speed. So what does all of this mean for us?
    Right now a Tropical Storm Watch has been issued for our area. A Watch means there is a possibility of tropical storm winds that may impact our area. These winds can be up to 39mph with gusts up to 50mph. In addition to winds, there may be some heavy downpours associated with the outer bands of Hurricane Earl and there is a possibility these rains can cause flooding of low-lying areas as well as flood zones. However, it is anticipated that anything impacting us will be minor.
    The Bridgeport EOC will continue to monitor Hurricane Earl and will be fully activated at 0800hrs Friday morning. We will provide updates throughout the day and evening.

  15. Now that we have a price tag attached to the new video we all have to be quiet–Shhhhhh!!!–don’t want to scare the fish, the big taxpaying fish who financed the feel-good advertisement!!!

  16. What is funny is I made a marketing and video proposal to promote Bridgeport some time ago and the head of the BRBC was there and liked it but said there was no money for it. I was asking for something to just cover expenses.

    Grin, you are saying $250,000 was from taxpayers.

    I am thinking, what happens to that last shot in the TV commercial, if Finch is no longer mayor. Do we just beam up the next mayor’s image to replace him?

    Someone said the city thinks only in temporary solutions. I mean what about a pamphlet about the history of the city and of its glory? You go to some other historic cities and they have that. You don’t have it for Black Rock either.

    What about all the new businesses opening up in the city, what promotion is done for them? On Fairfield Ave, you have a new wood-oven pizza joint with outside cafe, new seafood place on Brewster, that huge glass storefront finally rented by a printing company, Viales and Taco Loco are looking good, as Acoustic Cafe, and there is a relatively new bar on the other side that is really popular. Not to mention the Salvadoran restaurant where you can find pupusas. The city is rich in variety and diversity and history. Why not celebrate that? I am surprised the TV commercial doesn’t touch on anything of that.

  17. Now:
    You can get pizza in the suburbs.
    You can get seafood in the suburbs.
    You can get printing in the suburbs.
    You can get music in the suburbs.
    You can get liquor in the suburbs.

    People in the suburbs don’t want history, diversity and Salvadorans.

    Come to think of it, you can’t get Finch in the suburbs.

    I guess they are deprived. Hey Lennie! Is it too late to run Bill for secretary of state?

  18. Now:

    The easiest, simplest, most cynical answer is: The suburbs don’t want you.

    It is more complicated than that, of course.

    But Bridgeport could disappear tomorrow and would not be missed. A temporary inconvenience, maybe.

    Just because you love it, just because the people on this blog love it, just because I love it, doesn’t change this one thing: You’re on your own.

    When you believe that, you can fix it.

    The suburbs didn’t create Bridgeport. Bridgeport created Bridgeport. The suburbs are a place to run from Bridgeport.


    Adam Wood, Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch’s chief of staff, said Thursday that videotaping of part of the ad, which features landmarks throughout the city, culminating with the mayor fly-casting in the Pequonnock River, was curtailed and pushed back because of the June 24 tornado that hit the city’s East Side.

    The ad was supposed to start running on June 24th. Then a tornado struck so the city did NOTHING with the ad for two months and then started advertising The Bluefish whose season is just about over, Captain’s Cove which closes all of their shops starting this weekend, the Beardsley Zoo which is about ready to go into hibernation.

    And the city plans on running this ad for another three months.

    SURPRISE, Finch is wasting taxpayers’ money at the same time he is threatening to layoff Police and Firemen!

  20. We don’t have channel 12 in Monroe and they don’t in Trumbull and several other Fairfield County towns. As someone from the suburbs I would like an urban center with sports teams, concerts, plays, good restaurants, dancing, zoos and museums. Oh wait, Bridgeport has those things. Nobody, well not many, here knows that. I do my best spreading the word about some of my favorite places, especially the Downtown Cabaret Theater. My campaign manager this year handles a number of Bridgeport restaurant websites, and my campaign manager from two years ago markets the Beardsley Zoo. Most of us want and we all need a successful City. Please market to us, at least in our weekly papers. Have someone from Bridgeport government write Letters to the Editors of our local weekly papers. Some of you may not like the suburbanites, but I don’t think anyone would mind us visiting and spending money there. One more thing the suburbs have fishing, we don’t have any outlet malls though.

    1. MCAT

      If you really want to make an impact in Bridgeport, your next campaign manager should be someone who makes brooms instead of web sites that gloss over the filth attempting to paint a pretty picture. The city is a sewer and it is getting worse. The pot hole at East Main and Boston Avenue rivals the Grand Canyon. The city solution to that dangerous situation is to place a road cone in it. It is truly a bad scene. Since Finch has taken office the city has suffered the indignities of careless ignorance. I blame Charlie Carroll for the rapidly deteriorating conditions. As Finch is not suited for his work, nor is Carroll. 4 years is too long to let a city deteriorate.

      These videos are appalling. Someone should make a video of what Bridgeport really looks like and have a private showing with Finch.

  21. yahooy // Sep 3, 2010 at 9:36 am
    Responding to your post

    You will surely not be surprised to hear the Administration tell you “the State” maintains our current Grand Canyon of the Boston and East Main intersection … So don’t expect Charlie Carroll to do anything about those craters …

    Get yourself the list of all the “State maintain” streets and roads in Bridgeport (thank you Joe Ganim) and you see how many times Carroll gets to make excuses and Bridgeport citizens get nothing …

    Looks like a made-to-order campaign slogan for someone next year will be: Are you any better off in Bridgeport today than you were four years ago? Sounds like a slam-dunk to me.

    The one other thought I have to share with you was to agree with your well-placed blame onto Charlie Carroll for the unacceptable conditions we’ve reached, but you may also want to consider that his is not a careless indifference to Bridgeport’s public maintenance … his is a DELIBERATE indifference. You see, we spent a lot of time with Charlie Carroll in our CitiStat-Bridgeport meetings reviewing these glaring problems, and laying out workable solutions, with a thought to resolving some of the problems at Public Works (aka Public Facilities). The CitiStat team was not only stonewalled by Carroll, but Carroll encouraged his minions to disregard and disrespect these efforts. Charlie knew genuine problems were everywhere in his Department, yet he became the role model for these guys in how to do the best job of disrespect and disregard at our CitiStat-Bridgeport meetings. At each meeting.
    And the Mayor sat there without providing any of his promised support to CitiStat-Bridgeport when people began balking at accountability and performance standards …

    Perhaps it’s true in reality Charlie doesn’t know how to handle this DPW assignment …
    Although he is good at getting specially blended paint colors for his office and some pretty decent-looking furniture as testimony to his “stature.” We all know of his other perks of the job.

    And again and again … in the end it is the Bridgeport taxpayer who gets short-changed every day with an administration at 999 Broad Street keeping the Charlie Carrolls of the world on the City’s payroll.


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