Lights, Camera, Politics … Time For A Casting Call, Plus: Primary Papers

11 a.m. update: Holy this-way-to-the-egress!

Aussie stud Hugh Jackman to play Phineas Taylor Barnum in Columbia Pictures’ The Greatest Showman on Earth, a musical big screener written by edgy Jenny Bicks who wrote some of those steamy scenes for HBO’s Sex and the City.

Who knows when this thing will be released but 2010 is the 200th anniversary of Barnum’s birth. Mr. Barnum was born in Bethel and moved to the city when his bro Philo, who ran a hotel in Bridgeport, said hey, you gotta see this munchkin named Charlie Stratton. P.T. took one look at the boy and, bang, the cash register jumped out of his orbs. Tom Thumb became a marketing marvel. Barnum loved Bridgeport and moved in. P.T. didn’t stop there.

So it got me thinking (someone call the FBI) if we could cast city pols in the Greatest Showman on Earth, who’d you choose? HuJack needs an understudy. What do you think?

Jim Dale and Tony Orlando played Barnum on Broadway. Bert Lancaster and Beau Bridges in tele specials. How about Johnny Fabs? Fire up that whip, bring on those political lions, we all love comeback stories and I gotta feeling we ain’t heard the last of Fabs.

Sound the trumpets, we’ve gotta a casting call.

Whaddya say … City Councilman Bob Troll Walsh as Tom Thumb? Yeah, baby, always a thumb in someone’s eye.

State Rep. Auden Grogins as Jenny Lind? Auden loves to hit those high notes. Just ask her husband Ira. Ira, Harold needs to be walked!

Lavinia Warren? How about former City Council President Lisa Parziale? So what Lisa’s a good three feet taller. Lavinia was always plotting something. Hey honey, how those t-bones doing?

The Feejee Mermaid? This is a combo pol. Feejee, if I’m not mistaken, was half fish, half monkey. Half fish? What about Democratic Town Chair Mario Testa? He makes the best calamari in the city. Half monkey? We might need Zoo Director Gregg Dancho to help us with this one. But I’m open to suggestions.

How about those Siamese twins that Barnum paraded around the county? Twins? Mayor Bill Finch and Chief of Staff Adam Wood? The twins didn’t always get along. I want it this way. No, I want it that way. Okay, let’s flip a coin. Maybe we should do a poll.

I need to get Barnum Museum Executive Director Kathy Maher on the horn to settle this thing. Special K … you out there? Oh, here she is … comment from Kathy Maher. Spoken like a true pro.

The Barnum Museum will be delighted to assist with research development for the core script of the film, and hope the production company will contact us to support the historical content of Mr. Barnum’s life. There is so much 20th century mythology created about Barnum, that it will be exciting to have the opportunity to enlighten a broader audience of the extraordinary impact Barnum had on American history.

One of the items Kathy refers to is no credible evidence that Barnum ever said there’s a sucker born every minute. But, but, but some politicians know better, don’t they?

Qualification Deadline

I spoke to Democratic Registrar of Voters Sandy Ayala on Tuesday and so far the only City Council candidates that submitted paperwork and had their signatures approved to qualify for a primary are Andy Fardy and Ann Barney challenging incumbents Bob Curwen and Rich Paoletta in the 138th District. Petitioning candidates have eight days to submit paperwork as noted in the news release below from Connecticut Secretary of State Susan Bysiewicz.

Bysiewicz: Petitions for Municipal Primaries Due August 12th

Deadline One Week Away for Non-Endorsed Candidates Seeking to Participate in September Major Party Primaries

Hartford: Secretary of the State Susan Bysiewicz today is reminding candidates who were not endorsed by a major party and wish to petition for a place on the ballot in the September municipal primaries that the deadline to turn in primary petitions is August 12th at 4:00 p.m. Petitions must be submitted by hand to local Registrars of Voters offices in the municipality where the primary is to take place.

“Towns across Connecticut continue to face budget pressures and educational issues that highlight the importance of municipal elections for voters this year,” said Secretary Bysiewicz. “It is crucial that those not endorsed by major parties who still want to run in a primary this September turn in their petition signatures by August 12th in order to get on the ballot.”

Candidates petitioning for a spot on the primary ballot must collect signatures from at least 5% of the enrolled party members within their town or district. Polls will be open for the Connecticut municipal primaries on Tuesday, September 15th from 6:00 a.m. until 8:00 p.m.

From the Connecticut Post. Hey, Isa, they have you residing in the West End? Aren’t you running for City Council in the far-removed 135th District?

Wary neighbors weigh in on Enviro Express plan
By Keila Torres
BRIDGEPORT — About 35 residents from the South End, West End and Black Rock banded together Tuesday night to protect their neighborhoods and voice their concerns about a proposed transfer station on Wordin Avenue.

Enviro Express, at 555 Wordin Ave., which hauls away trash, recyclables and ash from local municipalities, has applied to the Department of Environmental Protection to open a volume-reduction facility at their site. If approved, the company would receive, sort and haul away construction debris to landfills or recycling and processing centers. The plan received Planning and Zoning Commission approval early this year.

“We’re already overburdened with industry,” said Isa Mujahid, a lead-poisoning inspector with the city who lives in the West End, at the meeting held in Enviro’s small office.

Some residents were concerned about the potential for the facility to have 60 trucks carrying more than 500 tons of material every day. Carmen Lopez, a retired judge and Black Rock resident, said she was concerned about the dust that would be generated by the construction debris. “We have a high incidence of asthma,” she said.

Enviro hauls away the trash and recyclables for local municipalities and transports the ashes from the trash-to-energy Wheelabrator plant in the city — located across the street from Enviro — to a landfill in Putnam. The company also runs several town transfer stations, including those in Bridgeport and Fairfield.

News release from Governor Rell

Governor Rell Highlights State Use of Stimulus to Provide Emergency Food Aid

Governor M. Jodi Rell today traveled to a Connecticut Food Bank warehouse in East Haven to highlight the state’s use of federal stimulus money to provide immediate, much-needed assistance to struggling families caught up in the national economic downturn. Governor Rell also stressed the need for people who are still financially able to bear in mind the needs of the less fortunate on a year-round basis.

“The economy continues to take a terrible toll on too many people in our state,” Governor Rell said. “Families all over Connecticut are looking at the stack of monthly bills and wondering how they’re going to make ends meet. And at a time when employers are cutting back hours – or worse, cutting jobs altogether – for some the questions and the worries have become even more burdensome. I am working every day to keep and grow jobs, to bring new employment and new investment into the state. But people are hurting now, many of them people who have never before needed help, people who – in the past – have been the first to offer help in times of need.

“That is why I want to highlight some of the ways we are using federal stimulus money to provide that immediate help,” the Governor said. “Connecticut has put about $1.1 million in stimulus money to work – here at Connecticut Food Bank and at Foodshare – to bolster our ability to fight hunger all over the state. The vast majority of the money has gone to buy high quality food such as turkeys, cheese and other protein sources. The rest has gone for much-needed staffing and equipment such as trucks and forklifts to move that food where it’s needed most – because hunger knows no boundaries, especially in hard times.

“And make no mistake: For too many Connecticut families, these are hard times,” Governor Rell said. “Food pantries all over the state are reporting an increase in requests for assistance. And while many of us understandably think more about hunger around celebrations of plenty such as Thanksgiving and Christmas, the fact is, hunger is a year-round issue, even when the economy is not adding to the problem. In fact, the summer is often a time of peak demand, because school meal programs are not available. The money we have received from the stimulus has been a big help, but the second part of my message today is a request to please continue to keep the needs of our food banks in mind all year ’round. Your help – your kindness – is appreciated so very much.”

Founded in 1982, Connecticut Food Bank has warehouses in East Haven, Fairfield, and Waterbury and distribution sites in New London and Stamford. It serves more than 650 soup kitchens, shelters, food pantries and daycare programs in Fairfield, Litchfield, Middlesex, New Haven, New London, and Windham counties.

Foodshare, also founded in 1982, serves 42 towns in Hartford and Tolland counties. It provides food to nearly 400 local nonprofits that feed tens of thousands of people, including seniors, the working poor, and children.

Through Connecticut’s Department of Social Services, the state has a number of programs that provide food and related aid, including:

State Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP): DSScontracts with Connecticut Food Bank, which purchases high protein foods and other nutritionally beneficial supplemental foods in bulk to be distributed by eligible food pantries, emergency shelters and soup kitchens to needy households. Approximately 300 food banks, pantries, shelters, etc. participate in the SNAP program.
The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP): DSScontracts with Connecticut Food Bank and Foodshare to distribute U.S. Department of Agriculture commodities to eligible food banks, food pantries, shelters and soup kitchens that serve meals and provide household distribution. These commodities include items such as canned vegetables, fruits, meat, cereals, etc. For more information on USDA nutrition programs go to:



  1. The Oracle of Omaha Steaks!

    The premiere should be held in Bridgeport.

    A Red Carpet Extravaganza at the Cinemas featuring a Midway type food fest called, “A Taste of The Big Top!”.

    It could serve as a fundraiser for the Barnum Museum and the Barnum Festival.

    1. *** Yahooy often doubles as Grape-Ape in the side-show. *** It’s amazing how P&Z has always gone out of their way to protect the residential areas of the North End or N/Side which is where some of them live. However they seem to have no problems approving permits to businesses in general that either carry &/or dump waste; or run a business that’s anti-environmental in many ways that affect the neighborhood & citizens that live in other districts like the South-End, East-End, etc.” The old “not in our neighborhood” way of thinking which will only come back sooner or later to bite them or theirs right in the derby! Why? ‘Cause “God” & “Mother Nature” don’t like ugly! ***

  2. It’s clear that Keith “Cougar” Rodgerson DOES make a great PT Barnum. That guy has been plugging away making the courthouse square into an avant garde circus. His combination of marketing, organizing and smoke and mirrors has made for an interesting summer this year. His work has brought Farmers Markets throughout the city, and his antics have brought attention to several important areas of concern. Check out the square on a Thursday night in fact I think there is a Fiji mermaid parade scheduled Thursday.
    What part can grandma play though? I thought and thought maybe I can go off the hormones and play the bearded Lady!

    1. GrandmaMoses is so old that she was the original bearded clam. In fact she is so old that she got waxed.

      Hormones? How do you make a whore moan? You don’t pay her!

  3. Good morning Lennie,

    I noticed that mistake this morning also. I sent an email to Ms. Torres pointing it out. Hopefully a correction will be printed tomorrow. I live in and have always been a resident of the 135th district. I was speaking, last night, on behalf of the communities where the facility in question is located. In the past, I have done community organizing on the South and West Ends of Bridgeport. A couple of years ago, I also worked with East End stakeholders and submitted suggestions for land use changes to Master Plan. Many of these were written into the new zoning map. Again, the purpose of these suggestions were too decrease the burden of adverse health and environmental impacts on the East End due to the amount of heavy industry located so close to residential neighborhoods.

    I’ll also take this opportunity to mention again the Community Forum at the Lake Forest Club House, 424 Frenchtown Road, on August 20, 2009 from 7p-9p. This forum, I believe, covers the 134th and 135th districts specifically but is open to all.

    The last couple of weeks in this city have been so exciting and inspiring. Residents have stood up, spoken up, and will not let up. It makes me proud to be a Bridgeporter. Keep up the good work!

  4. “One of the items Kathy refers to is no credible evidence that Barnum ever said there’s a sucker born every minute. But, but, but some politicians know better, don’t they?” Oh, you bet they do! Especially in Bridgeport. If the members of Bridgeport’s legislative delegation had a clue as to how many alcoholics and drug addicts cast ballots for them … Well, I’d venture a guess that they’d submit a bill to eliminate state funding for substance abuse treatment programs–if these folks’re clean and sober they may be out working, and the DTC district leaders won’t be able to find them on election day. And wouldn’t that be the rat’s ass?!

  5. Here’s a great quote, possibly a contender for “Quote of the Day.” It’s from William “Boss” Tweed–quite possibly the most corrupt America politician of the 19th century. (Tweed was convicted for stealing between $40 million and $200 million from New York City taxpayers through political corruption. He died in the Ludlow Street Jail.)

    “I don’t care who does the electing just so long as I do the nominating.”

    Sounds like something that would crawl out of Mario “Don Calamari” Testa’s mouth.

    1. William “Boss” Tweed, as commissioner of public works, led a ring that controlled the municipal government of New York City. He and his associates–Peter Barr Sweeny (park commissioner), Richard B. Connolly (controller of public expenditures), and Mayor A. Oakey Hall–defrauded the taxpayers of many millions of dollars. In the words of Albert Bigelow Paine, “their methods were curiously simple and primitive. There were no skillful manipulations of figures, making detection difficult … Connolly, as Controller, had charge of the books, and declined to show them. With his fellows, he also ‘controlled’ the courts and most of the bar.” Contractors working for the city–Ring favorites, most of them–were told to multiply the amount of each bill by five, or ten, or a hundred, after which, with Mayor Hall’s ‘O. K.’ and Connolly’s endorsement, it was paid … through a go-between, who cashed the check, settled the original bill and divided the reminder … between Tweed, Sweeny, Connolly and Hall”.

      1. Another quote from the Tammany Hall era that is not as frequently heard today, but may be more appropriate to the average ethical miscues, especially where conflicts of interest are encountered: “I seen my opportunities, and I took them.”–George Washington Plunkitt
        Self interest over public interest in the public square! Imagine that. Certainly a reason to keep things quiet.

  6. “All of us who are concerned for peace and triumph of reason and justice must be keenly aware how small an influence reason and honest good will exert upon events in the political field.”–Albert Einstein

  7. Does anybody think that lady named Curran will run again for city council against McCarthy? She is the only Republican I can see winning that seat. Well I am 100% behind McCarthy. McCarthy for city council!

  8. I’ve seen, at close range, how the electoral process works in Bridgeport. DTC district leaders (“ward heelers” would be a more appropriate description) drive around on election day, rounding up the drunks and druggies and the great ignorant multitudes. After exhorting them to “Vote!” they’re carted down to the polling place to vote for whichever candidate they were told to vote for. This is how it works in Bridgeport.

    At this point I have only apathy for Mr. McCarthy’s candidacy for City Council. I don’t know the man except to say hello. But by God, I know he’ll win in Black Rock.

  9. The Bridgeport Kid

    How you know he will win? Curran is popular; even though it’s a solid democratic precinct we are known to vote Republican from time to time. Curran won Black Rock by over 100 votes in 2007.

  10. *** Email-order wives or husbands from foreign countries to America has gotten very popular but is having many setbacks & becoming very costly for those that can’t find a girl right here in the good old USA! It’s starting to spread to other countries & creating big problems according to the news. No rapp @ home so let me B/S a person from a 3rd-world country who’s looking for a way out anyway, that’s real smart & horny for losers. ***

  11. A&P supermarket closing. What a shame this was the place I would get my fresh fruit for a good price. Where am I supposed to go now? I certainly will never shop at that overpriced Stop and Shop.


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