Make Your Choice: Finch, Fabs, Ganim, Plus: Dodd Digs In

Let’s have a little fun today (like we never do that at OIB).

Mayor Bill Finch is now approaching 18 months in office. Johnny Fabs spent roughly four and one half years in office. Joe Ganim spent just about 11 and one half years as chief executive, November 1991 to April 2003, making him the second longest serving mayor in Bridgeport’s history behind Socialist Mayor Jasper McLevy who served from 1933 to 1957.

If you had to vote for one of the three (Finch, Fabs, Ganim)–considering what you know about all of them, the good, the bad, the ugly–for whom would you vote? I’ve had the benefit of advising their political careers in some capacity (okay, Yahooy, I heard that crack) but which of the three would ultimately guide the city in the best direction?

I think I know how Local Eyes would vote, he a big Finch fan, and a number of OIB readers have a preference for Fabs, but even City Councilman Bob Troll Walsh who has no love for any of them (Troll tosses love around like a slab of concrete) has admitted in a Pol Pod that Joe was the most effective mayor the past 20 years.

So fire away. Of course, feel free to post any name you please, as Independent Soul suggests.

Dodder Fodder

Sometimes, when a pol’s in trouble the prevailing strategy is hunker down and say little. That didn’t work for Chris Dodd who’s been moving around the state delivering goodies from Washington and just trying to look like he cares. After a run for the presidency that collapsed his visibility level in the state, he needs to come back home to the peeps.

And on Monday, with Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan,  Dodd toured some homes in the city slated for foreclosure that he hopes to save. His chairmanship on the powerful Banking Committee led, in part, to his troubles, and now he hopes that same platform can help resuscitate his standing with voters.

Dodd needs friends, and the last thing Mayor Bill Finch wants to do publicly is pile on Dodd’s problems. And judging from the mayor’s comments he’d rather make him a friend than run for the tall grass as so many pols are prone to do. Why? Because this is the best opportunity for Dodd to deliver–whatever it is–for the state’s largest city. If he can do it he will. We’ll be seeing more of Dodd in this election cycle than at any time during his 30 years in the U.S. Senate.

News release from Auden Grogins:


State Representative Auden Grogins (D-Bridgeport) and State Representative Brendan Sharkey (D-Hamden) will host an informational forum in conjunction with the Black Rock Homeowner’s Association entitled Smart Growth: A Vision for Property Tax Relief on Thursday April 16th, 2009 at the Burroughs Community Center located at 2470 Fairfield Ave at 7:00 p.m.

 “I represent a large city with a small tax base and the residents in my district pay the highest property taxes in the state,” Rep. Grogins said.  “We must continue to find ways to provide relief to overburdened taxpayers.”

Representative Brendan Sharkey, co-chairman of the legislature’s Planning and Development Committee, will discuss proposals generated by the nonpartisan Smart Growth Working Group that Sharkey formed and that are now moving through the legislative process.

“Smart growth provides a unique opportunity to effect structural changes in our state that can permanently reduce our reliance on the property tax,” Rep. Sharkey said.  “Rep. Grogins understands the importance of this effort, and I’m pleased to come to Bridgeport to discuss it with her constituents.”

Heidi Green, President of 1,000 Friends of Connecticut, will also be present to comment. 1,000 Friends of Connecticut is a statewide organization that supports smart growth issues and development that integrates communities.

News release from Mayor Finch:

Solid Waste Transfer Station & Recycling Center Summer Hours Announced

BRIDGEPORT, CT (April 13, 2009) – Summer hours are now in effect at the City’s Transfer Station, located at 475 Asylum St. The hours are as follows: Monday through Friday 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., and Saturday, 7 a.m. to 12 noon.

Bridgeport residents only are allowed to use the transfer station and residents must follow the rules and regulations listed below. Small business owners and haulers may use the transfer station Monday through Friday, but they must have either a business permit, or hauler’s permit to use the facility. For more information regarding permits/licenses, contact (203) 576-7123 or visit Rm. 223 at City Hall, 45 Lyon Terrace.

Following rules and regulations apply:

Household refuse only
Must have a Bridgeport license and registration, or a permit
No toxic or hazardous liquids or waste
Wood, brush or metal over four-feet long will not be accepted
All metal must be separated from other refuse
All small debris, lawn refuse, etc., must be bagged, tied or boxed
No more than 2 tires per load will be accepted
Wooden doors and mattresses must be cut in half
Sheetrock, shingles, or remodeling and demolition materials will not be accepted
Brush must be less than four-feet in length and tied in bundles, or loose and covered
People living outside the city owning a house in Bridgeport must show proof of ownership of said premises, e.g.: an updated tax bill or deed. Utility bills will not be accepted.
Haulers, small business owners and monitored residents are prohibited on Saturday
All loads must be covered and secured
Rude or abusive conduct will not be tolerated

According to Director of Public Facilities Charles Carroll, the weigh master has complete authority to dictate rules and regulations and has the right to refuse any non-conforming loads.

For more information, call the transfer station at 576-7725, or Paul Albuquerque, Transfer Station Supervisor at 576-7751.



  1. Hmmm … Ganim’s an egomaniac convicted thief … Fabs is a great guy who is also a egomaniac and admitted drug user. Finch is a great guy who is trying his best and starting to do some good things … my vote goes to … Andres Ayala Jr.

  2. C’mon Lennie, one of those three stooges? Ganim did a lot. Yes, he is an egomaniac (they all are) and did some good for the city and helped himself (but don’t they all).

    Fabs was not very different except that his vices differed from Joe’s. Finch is a follower not a leader. Don’t even put him in the mix.

    If I had to choose between the 3, it would be Joe with handcuffs and a fed as his deputy. But why are you mired in the past? Why not think about the future? Why NOT someone like Andres or even a real business person with a record of success not crimes.

  3. Not much to work with here. Ganim did make the city safer & cleaner but can never be fully trusted again. Fabrizi loved the city but has proven that dumb is not just a word in the dictionary. If rumors are true about him buying a second house in the north end and renting it to students then he is truly done.
    Finch has not shown himself to be a leader at this point in time and I doubt that he will ever lead.
    So out of the 3 you have zip but what is worse is that there is no one at this point that I could really mention as a viable leader for Bridgeport but we do have 2-plus years to find one.

  4. I worked under Ganim, Fabrizi and Finch and Joe Ganim was the best mayor hands down. i would take him back in a NY minute but only if he brought back the old crew of competent–competent being the operative word here–crew:

    CAO, Dennis Murphy
    OPM Director, Bob Kockiss
    Economic Development Director, Mike Freimuth
    Finance Director, Jerry Baron
    Labor Relations Director, Edmund Winterbottom
    Central Grants Director, Rina Bakalar

    Joe knew that he was only as strong as his weakest dept head so he brought in the best. Fabrizi was insecure, paranoid and afraid of anyone smarter than him (which was most people) so he brought in the likes of Tom Sherwood and Charlie. Finch hired his dept heads strictly on the basis of political favoritism and it shows.

    1. CITY HALL SMOKER–How were you personally affected by the change in administration over the years?

      Jerry Barone was a big loof, supposedly closely involved with someone in the office next door, who wasted a lot of money through credit card charges on out-of-town trips and his take-home vehicles, yes more than one, what possible city business or emergency situation would a finance director be involved in that justifies having a taxpayer provided city vehicle? This city policy SERIOUSLY needs to be revamped, but that’s another chapter … hmmm old business? Does it resolve or keep getting tabled to the next session? Ssdd.

  5. Memo to Bill Finch; Chris Dodd is linked to the housing crisis we are now in. He and Barney Frank oversaw the fall of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. They both fought off attempts to tighten loan requirements on both institutions. They were part of the government that allowed banks and lending institutions to give 100%-plus mortgages.
    Dodd also got caught putting in an amendment to the bailout package that would have and did allow AIG executives to keep their bonus money. He at first lied about it but later ‘fessed up and said he did it at the behest of the administration.
    This is the same guy that received over $200K in campaign donations from AIG. This is the same guy that received a favorable loan from countrywide.
    Bill get it right before you blow smoke up someone’s ass.
    Bill a little history lesson: Clinton was in power in the ’90s. Bush for the first first 8 years of 2000 and democratically controlled congress since 2006.
    Dodd is a bum and needs to go, 35 years is way too long.

  6. (giggle) Lennie, thanks for predicting my vote. In a 3-way race between Fabrizi, Finch and Ganim, I’d vote for Finch. Here’s why:

    Although the other two candidates have worthy traits, Finch is best able to lead going forward–he’s also in the chair now which means he’s the most recently preferred choice. In my opinion, he’s unblemished. He’s putting his political problems in front of him today so they’ll (hopefully) be behind him tomorrow. He’s thinking of the future and from a political standpoint, that’s where I wanna be! Being an American Mayor the past two years has been a brutal encounter with reduced tax revenue and increased job losses and home foreclosures. He’s playing the cards he was dealt and has made the tough decisions needed to balance the budget. He hasn’t made a lot of friends in the process (I thought I had a monopoly on imperfection) but he’s kept the state’s financial review board at bay. A lot of the problems facing America have shown up on the mayor of Bridgeport’s desk and Finch didn’t flinch!

    1. Don’t you mean Adam Wood? Bill Finch is not the mayor. Adam Wood is the mayor.

      Who would be better; Ganim, Fabrizi, or a snot-nosed brat from out of town? None of the above.

  7. I’ll agree that Ganim was a most effective mayor. He accomplished a lot of good for the city. Unfortunately for him–and the city–he was greedy and egotistical. Yeah, yeah, it’s true, there all egomaniacs, every last one of them. That’s an unwritten requisite for public office: you have to have that elusive combination of self-confidence and unmitigated balls that is often described as egomania. Y’know, it takes a fair amount of chutzpah to think that you’ve got some good ideas, that you could actually convince the majority of registered voters to cast a ballot in your favor. “Vote for me and I’ll set you free!” as the old Motown song goes.

    Fabrizi? Forgetaboutit. That dog ain’t gonna hunt.

    Finch? I actually like the guy, his intentions are honorable, but his administration is more or less a caretaker government.

  8. Tonight: Pleasure Beach, with Charles Brilvitch and guests.

    We are back on live TV, taking on our next topic, now that Bridgeport took action on the Sikorsky Airport issue.

    Tonight, one of city’s seemingly forgotten resources:

    Pleasure Beach …

    Is it an island or peninsula? The people who lived there, did they own or just lease, what was recent fire damage there, what is the history of it, where is the old carousel, will they restore the area, make a park or luxury condos, can I walk there, why was it closed, who lived there and what are their stories? Does Stratford own part and Bridgeport the other? Why isn’t the Pleasure Beach bridge part of the current “stimulus package” request as the Congress St. Bridge is? When if ever will they demolish the houses? Who is making these decisions and what are the considerations? Environment and open spaces is one of the pillars of the Bridgeport Master Plan.

    What do you think? We’d like to know. Look for the phone-in hotline tonight.

    “Bridgeport Now” is a local LIVE TV …
    Seen on TV in Bridgeport, Fairfield, Stratford, Woodbridge, Orange, Millford … and seen on the internet everywhere on (Netcast:

  9. town committee; As I’ve written on this blog before, you do not have two years to find a candidate. You need to draft someone now and begin building an organization if you expect to have any chance of upsetting the status quo. It probably needs to start with the town committee elections.

  10. *** Worked my first year & a half on the council with Joe as Mayor, no complaints! The rest of my council time was during the Fabrizi era, no complaints! During that time Finch was in Hartford with Mr. Penn as senators & I thought Finch was one of the few Bpt. legislators that seemed to have good ideas for improving Bpt. in general. If I had to pick 1 out of the 3 to be Mayor again, I would probably pick the one I spent more time with during my service on the city council. That would be Fabrizi; his love for the city, his energy & charismatic ways with the people of the city was contagious to say the least. He used his momentum & energy in government to get things moving again in Bpt. after the dark ages of the Ganim trial & conviction, which left the city with a big black eye @ that time! No one in the country, especially Conn. wanted to remember all the good things Ganim did, just the trial & conviction, period. Now regardless of Fabrizi’s personal setbacks, he had what it takes to be a good Mayor for the city of Bpt. through the good & bad times. *** Just a reminder to the OIB bloggers, this is only a personal opinion, not gospel! ***

    1. I agree here that no one remembers the good that ol’ Joe did for the city. The black eye lingers on; his arrest, conviction and nine-year sentence brought a lot of negative attention to the city of Bridgeport. Does anyone recall those television adverts of Joe Ganim, his wife and perfect children beaming beatifically for the benefit of the camera while Joe solemnly intoned, “The people of Bridgeport, working our way back”? I remember them–those adverts were one of the reasons I moved to this wonderful city from a cushy but provincial bedroom committee north of Hartford. After Joe took an extended vacation at Club Fed I felt betrayed, but made an objective reassessment. The great people of the city of Bridgeport aren’t working our way back, because we ARE back. If Joe Ganim got out of prison tomorrow and tossed his hat into the ring, I’d be sorely tempted to vote for him.

  11. I would like to comment on the new hours for the transfer station. Closing the transfer station on Saturday at 12 noon is just plain crazy. What that means is that the gates will be closed at 11 am and the facility closed by Noon.
    Charlie have you ever been to the transfer station on Saturdays during the spring & summer? The line stretches almost to Boston Ave.
    When do you expect the homeowner who works Monday through Friday to get to the transfer station?
    I hope you have enough people to clean the vacant lots that are going to be filled with trash from people that can’t get into the transfer station. How much thought has gone into this idea? Not much as I see it.
    From what I understand the only person there being paid by the city is the weigh master (nifty term). The other 4 employees are paid by the trash company. So what gives?
    Let’s not turn this city into a dump to save a few bucks. Need money? Lay off a special-projects person and use that salary to keep the transfer station open all day on Saturday.

  12. President Obama’s speech today was fantastic and loaded with all those things bloggers love, like sacrifice, global domination, manipulating symbols, achievement and investment. Other topics included deficits, power grids (my favorite) and new rules and regulations for those who abuse power. If we do HALF of what he mentioned, America’s bright star will shine anew! If you’re rooting for a USA comeback, it starts right here.

    Let’s GO Bridgeport

  13. Now that we know how much City Hall Smoker liked Ganim and his gang of crooks, we also know what she’s been smokin’. Don’t bogart that joint my friend.

  14. Let’s start with Judge Carmen Lopez. Impeccable credentials when it comes to honesty and integrity and a strong commitment to the Bridgeport public school system. You would get as a partner her husband the judge, a fiscally conservative republican and former state rep from Trumbull.
    They immediately elevate the office of mayor.

  15. Lennie, this is really a tough one. I want to say “(D) None Of The Above”, but know that’s not an option.

    Do I go for the effective one with a great supporting cast that got caught with his hand in the cookie jar?

    Or do I go for the Accidental Mayor who “expected great things” but ultimately fell on his own sword?

    Then there’s always the Birdman, who has some lofty goals, but has yo-yo yes-men to help run the show (or ground the boat into the shoals).

    With those choices, I’d have to go for Finch. He’s been underwhelming, but if he had the balls to hire back some of the All-Stars that used to be Department heads (Murphy, Bakalar, etc.) and get rid of the political patronage, I think that he’d make his mark.

    Either Ganim or Fabrizi would have too much ego to let anything like that happen.

    So, by default, the Birdman wins … by a beak.

  16. I think the Finchmeister is angling for a clean and green job in Hartford or in Obamaland. Ganim should never be allowed to be in control of a public penny, never mind the state’s largest city’s budget. Little Joey was so greedy that he sent his henchman into the BOE so he could control the feds bucks too and filter them into his wide-open pockets. Johnny Fabulous loved the city no doubt but also loved being Mr. Hollywood and like most movie stars he spiraled down the wayward path and the city was laughed at from sea to shinning sea. Caruso is a joke period and not worth wasting typing time on (although I just did). I’d like to see Ayala throw his hat in the ring as he has done a lot of good for his district and can do a lot of good for the whole city.

  17. Or how about Mary-Jane Foster? An attorney. A business woman (I won’t necessarily say successful) who has actually run an operation. Comes with a conservative, Republican business professional as a silent partner in the endeavor. What’s not to like about this candidate?

  18. Anyone starting to see a pattern here? The 4 known candidates Finch (although I still will bet he takes another job and won’t run again) Fabrizi, Ganim (is he a known candidate?) and Caruso are not wanted and Finch is considered the least of all evils. I agree with an earlier poster that someone has to step up and do it soon. Is there a honest politician who actually has a brain and some big balls?

  19. Hey TC, news flash! The hrs. of operation at the transfer station are being cut back and it will be closed on holidays from now on is in retaliation at the Weigh master. He was the only one who had any BALLS and stood up against all the pieces of shit that run that Dept. I need not mention names. You know who they are if you work in PFD or have been reading OIB. So what do you expect would happen to the guy? I would have given him a promotion. Reality check, this is Bridgeport if you do your job, stand up for what is right and just, you get F----d by the BOYS who wear the skirts and have no Balls. Just ask any of the guys who do the real work in that Dept. You have foremen with no formal education, who are former Felons. What would one expect? Oh, and almost felons too!

    1. *** Like you need an Ivy college degree to work or run a weight station in Bpt. or because you’ve made a mistake in your life and are an ex-felon. You’re a complete idiot, get real man! You only get out of life what you put into it. ***

        1. Meatball is just saying what John Gomes has been saying for months. Public Facilities is full of inefficiencies and foremen who are not qualified for the jobs they are doing. Criminal pasts have nothing to do with it. They are not qualified. Period. Why is it that the real workers in PF and the Annex know the true story but CC keeps looking the other way? Remember, the mayor is only as strong as his weakest link and PF is full of weak links. John Gomes was brought in for a reason. For God’s Sake Man, listen to him! He doesn’t know anyone here and has no personal agenda but to make the city better. Listen to him!

        2. *** You have foremen with no formal Ed. who are former felons. What would one expect, oh & almost felons too! That’s what I responded to in his blog & if you’re going to start with the name calling to defend & break down in your words what someone else is saying remember you started it first. For every action there’s a reaction! Besides I’m well aware of Gomes having to do his job with his hands tied but you can only shovel shit against the tide for so long before something gives! Personally I don’t see CitiStat ever getting off the ground & would not be surprised if it was cut altogether after July 1st. So chill or I’ll sick CitiStat on you! ***


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