Many Pols Zip It Up On Ballot Question–Chance For GOP To Make Dems Defensive

Leave us out of this. That seems to be the common declaration from an assortment of incumbents and challengers on Tuesday’s ballot that features historic spending for a charter revision question that if approved by city voters will grant Mayor Bill Finch the power to appoint school board members, Finch’s mayoral priority prior to the havoc of Sandy that’s added a new dimension to this presidential campaign. The mayor says if you’re going to hold me accountable for schools give me the authority to appoint board members.

Democratic State Rep. Jack Hennessy has made it clear where he stands: he calls the ballot question a power grab to control contracts and jobs. So far Democratic Congressman Jim Himes and Republican challenger Steve Obsitnik have postured no public statements on the ballot question, irrespective of OIB’s prodding. Himes, understandably for the next few days, will focus on his Sandy damage tour throughout cities and towns of the 4th Congressional District. Don’t ya just love the power of incumbency?

This ballot question is tricky for Himes. If he comes down on the side of an appointed school board he risks alienating thousands of voters, particularly the African American community that understands the historic struggle to win voting privileges. If he sides with a democratically elected board he opposes a mayor with whom he has a strong working relationship.

Obsitnik taking a position, however, has no real risks, especially with a message that could cut into Himes’ base and place the incumbent on the defensive. Seems like a no brainer, from a pure strategic position, to come down on the side of democracy. “The last thing Bridgeport needs is more politicians sticking fingers in the board of education pie”–or something like that. Unless of course in his heart and his head Obsitnik embraces an appointed board. Tell us how you really feel, Steve? Same thing for Republican U.S. Senate candidate Linda McMahon who’s making a play for city votes unlike so many Republicans who write off the city. It’s an opportunity to put Democrats in a Democratic city on the defensive.

Interestingly, just about all establishment Bridgeport Republicans, be it GOP Town Chair John Slater or an assortment of town committee members, are working to defeat the ballot question, including State Rep. candidate John Iannuzzi who has a simple message: vote no on the ballot question, vote yes for Iannuzzi. Now, Iannuzzi has a mountainous climb trying to take out Democratic incumbent Ezequiel Santiago in a heavy Democratic State House district, but at least Iannuzzi is putting up the good fight bringing attention to a ballot question in which supporters and opponents will spend roughly $750,000 combined to make their case.

Wouldn’t it be nice if other candidates weighed in?



  1. I guess all you have to do is pay to have a picture taken of the President of the United States and then use the picture in any ad you want and it means the President agrees. Where is that line so I can get in it to use against the vote yes question and against Mayor Finch?

  2. Hello everyone, I can’t believe none of our leaders are standing up! for our civil rights. Our friends we will remember, our enemies we won’t forget. We are trying to bring in the Rev. Al Sharpton to Bridgeport, stay tuned!

  3. A few mindless ramblings from the Grin one:
    1) With the National Guard on duty, additional state police in place and half of the Bpt Police force on overtime, a man is gunned down in broad daylight in the city’s East Side.
    2) Finch thinks the city’s biggest problem is an elected Board of Education.
    3) Finch tells parents to go out trick or treating before dark because it is not safe on the city’s streets due to downed power lines.
    4) Finch proclaims the city residents deserve better.

    We do Mayor Finch, but you are not up for re-election for another three years.

  4. Great line from Malloy as a retort to Tweety Bird telling the Gov Bridgeport had cancelled this year’s Mischief Night. To wit Malloy retorted maybe he’s working on that for the other 364 days of the year! Only in Bridgeport!!!

    A Shout-Out to all our first responders and city workers working to get us back on track.

    1. Grin: I don’t think the mischief night cancellation memo made it to Brooklawn. The good news is since the grocery stores are low on toilet paper, folks can come on down to the neighborhood and grab some. Bring a ladder.

  5. Sure I will vote no!!! Just wish UI could do a better job letting residents know what’s going on. I listened on the radio CL&P is restoring power and already over 300k restored, so no statement from UI???

  6. To get back to the original question–the reason our elected officials are not taking a position on the Charter Revision question is because 1) they are friends with the same folks who are writing checks to Finch and this referendum; 2) they know or believe that Adam Wood will retaliate by not supporting their own re-election efforts; and 3) we are not demanding they take a position. Duh.

  7. Good morning! Rev. Al Sharpton will be in BPT at Mount Aery Church on Sunday @7PM RALLY and to speak against the mayor taking away our civil rights.
    Hope to see you there.


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