Weekend Update: Can you believe it? Mario Testa was reelected by acclamation by the 90-member Democratic Town Committee Thursday night. No opposition. No screaming. No food fights at Mario’s restaurant. Yes, let’s all join hands and sing around the campfire. City politics has become a little too quiet. Please, someone start a good rumor. I’m getting ill. I may have to come out of retirement. (Don’t worry, the electorate is safe.)
What does this mean for Mario? Well, now that he has two more years under his buckle, he’s free to cut a deal with a gubernatorial candidate and various other candidates for state constitutional offices. Mario’s guber choices are former Stamford Mayor Dannel Malloy and Ned Lamont, the Democratic nominee for U.S. Senate in 2006. Knowing Mario, he’ll go with the guy that cuts him the best deal for “consideration” for jobs for his peeps. Did I say consideration? And yes, what they will do for Bridgeport.
Mario’s been putting off a number candidates for office until his reelection. With that out of the way look for a steady stream of candidates to visit Mario for coffee and biscotti. Mario will also be appointing 70 city delegates for the Dem state endorsement session in May. Actually, Mario has given each town committee district 3 picks, so that leaves him with 40. So get in line while Mario’s in a good mood.
There was even a little reform in the air at the DTC meeting, although I’m not sure what it really means so can someone help with a clarification? Members of the 132nd District submitted a resolution calling for the DTC to “cease endorsing candidates who are employees of the city or Board of Education, for elected office of the city and Board of Education. This resolution does not apply to any elected person who at the time of the adoption of this resolution is an employee of the city or Board of Education.”
The resolution, submitted to the DTC for future consideration, was signed by district members Mike Freddino, Carol Cocco, Howard Gardner, Tony Lancia, John Olson, Lisa Honey Parziale, Elaine Pivirotto, Joan Thornton and Reggie Walker.
One of Mario’s hand-picked convention delegates Board of Education member Pat Crossin says the BOE is expected to sign off on a $227 million spending plan Monday night that will be submitted to city officials and then the City Council for approval. The BOE budget request is up from the current-year $215 million.
Will the council give the BOE $12 million more? Nope. What you want and what you get are two different matters.
BOE budget chair Crossin who had a similar role for many years on the City Council says this budget will fully staff custodial services to clean up the schools, includes moolah to satisfy past book shortages. “I don’t want to hear that my children don’t have a book.” Crossin also wants to examine why the BOE paid out $2 million for substitutes.
In addition, $250,000 is budgeted for the final implementation stage of a comprehensive audit designed to achieve much more in savings.
Statement from Chris Shays regarding expected guilty plea by his former campaign manager Michael Sohn:
“This is long overdue. Michael embezzled money, failed to pay his taxes, and hurt a lot of people, including himself. It is important he own up to it, and get on with his life.”
From John Christoffersen, AP
NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) – The campaign manager for former U.S. Rep. Chris Shays plans to plead guilty to charges of embezzling campaign funds.
Court records dated Friday show Michael Sohn of Fairfield has applied for permission to plead guilty.
His attorney, H. James Pickerstein, told The Associated Press on Friday that Sohn will plead guilty to campaign finance and tax violation charges next Thursday. Pickerstein said Sohn will admit to embezzling campaign money, but he declined further comment.
Prosecutors charged Sohn in December with embezzling about $250,000 in campaign funds. A telephone message was left Friday with a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Sohn worked for nearly six years as campaign manager for Shays, a moderate Republican who served 10 terms in Congress. Shays narrowly lost to Democrat Jim Himes in 2008 in the race for the 4th District in southwestern Connecticut that he had represented for 21 years.
CITY LIGHTS PRESENTS: FOOD AND FILM NIGHT, SUN. 3/7, 5:30-8:30
SHORT MOVIES AND PROJECTED ART INSPIRED BY BRIDGEPORT
FEATURING: FRANK BORRES, BRYAN KONEFSKY, LARRY LOCKE
5:30-6:30 CHILI BUFFET, (VEGETARIAN AND CARNIVORE STYLE)
MEET AND MINGLE
6:30-8:30 SCREENINGS AND DISCUSSION LED BY MICHAEL DALY, BRAD DURRELL AND LENNIE GRIMALDI
SUGGESTED DONATION: $10
RSVP Please: firstname.lastname@example.org
Check Out David Walker Monday Night
Don’t miss this very special event. Mr. Walker has recently purchased a home in the Black Rock section of Bridgeport and will be discussing his new book at his neighborhood library.
David M. Walker is President and CEO of The Peter G. Peterson Foundation and former Comptroller General of the United States and head of the Government Accountability Office (GAO) from 1998 to 2008.
Signed copies of Mr. Walker’s book will be available for purchase.
When: Monday March 8th 7:00 PM
Where: Black Rock Branch Library
2705 Fairfield Avenue
From Mayor Finch:
Mayor Finch cites progress in State of the City speech at BRBC luncheon
Mayor Bill Finch struck an optimistic tone and painted a positive picture of the state of the city during his speech to more than 300 local and regional business leaders during the annual Bridgeport Regional Business Council Luncheon held at the Bridgeport Holiday Inn.
While he acknowledged that the City has “weathered many storms,” the Mayor assured the group that, “we are applying new and innovative ideas to grow our tax base, teach our children and keep our city safe. We are laying the groundwork to position Bridgeport to take advantage of the economic turnaround that we know is just around the corner.”
In his speech, the Mayor focused on accomplishments in the areas of fiscal responsibility, economic development, education, sustainability and public safety. Innovation and creative thinking was the theme woven throughout the speech, as he pointed out ways his administration has worked to expand the city’s tax base, make City services more efficient and effective while keeping a tight rein on spending, and keeping economic development deals, such as Steelpointe, alive, despite a tough economy. Check out live coverage from doingitlocal.com
Read the full speech here
Mayor Finch, Congressman Himes Show Support for Women Veterans
Mayor Bill Finch and Congressman Jim Himes voiced their support for a proposed women veterans’ shelter during a panel discussion at Housatonic Community College Beacon Hall attended by nearly 200 students, faculty and the public. The discussion, entitled ‘Forgotten Heroes,’ addressed the challenges faced by female soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, which include homelessness and psychological trauma.
Laura Cust, a local veteran, led the discussion by sharing her personal experiences on the front lines and difficult readjustment to civilian life. The panel also featured local veterans’ advocates Shalini Madaras, President of the Kick for Nick Foundation; Dr. Laurie Harkness, Director of the Errera Community Care Center at the West Haven Veterans Affairs Hospital; and Joy Kiss, CEO of Bridgeport-based non-profit Homes for the Brave.
Homes for the Brave is proposing a new shelter and assistance center exclusively for women veterans at 893 Clinton Ave. in Bridgeport. Audiences members were urged to show their support for the proposed shelter at the Zoning Board of Appeals meeting on Tuesday, March 9, at 6 p.m. in City Hall.