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Mario’s Lamont Dice Roll

April 26th, 2010 · 33 Comments · City Politics, News and Events, State Politics

Update: A casino debate? Again? Yup.

Leave it to Democratic Town Chair Mario Testa to create a wedge issue as he pushes his flock to endorse Ned Lamont for governor. Fifteen years after the state legislature derailed a casino for Bridgeport, Mario’s trying to persuade district leaders Lamont will support a casino for the city (along with whatever else Mario’s asking from Ned, although that’s still unclear).

Dem gubernatorial candidates–Lamont, Dan Malloy and Mary Glassman–made their pitch to party officials last Thursday at Mario’s restaurant about why they’d be best for the state’s largest city. A casino was part of the discussion. Mario has a long memory when it comes to the casino. He blames Fairfield County Gold Coast elected officials, led by Stamford pols, for crapping out including former Stamford Mayor Malloy, Lamont’s chief rival for the Democratic convention endorsement next month.

But when it came time to speak some district leaders weren’t persuaded candidate Lamont had as strong a conviction for a casino as Mario led them to believe. Now that may be because Ned doesn’t want a casino to rise up as a central campaign issue. It brings passionate points of view. Lamont gave one of those ‘I won’t push it, but I won’t get in the way of it’ answers. On the other hand, district leaders say, Malloy was unexpectedly open to a casino. Times have changed, Malloy said, if a casino is a fit revenue-wise he could support one.

Lamont and Malloy, for the most part, said all the right things, Bridgeport will be a priority, but there was a sense in the room Malloy, as a former mayor, had a stronger grasp for urban issues than the Greenwich millionaire who likes to apply his business savvy as a sales pitch. That can simply be Malloy is more polished as a speaker. You can see a scenario where some district leaders prefer Malloy, but will support Lamont because Mario wants a united front heading into the convention. Lamont on Friday, a day after addressing district leaders, contacted some of them to reinforce, in case they thought he was wishy-washy, he will support a casino for the city.

And on Friday, after both Lamont and Malloy attended a L’Ambiance ceremony at City Hall, Mayor Bill Finch introduced Lamont to a variety of folks in City Hall.

And what about Mary Messina Glassman, the first selectman of Simsbury and Dem candidate for lieutenant governor in 2006? Jesus, many of the district leaders told me, her presentation was the most impressive of the three: smart, strong speaker, engaging personality. We’d like to support her if we thought she could win. Oh well.

Looks like Ned has the party in his direction, but Mario still has work to do to line up all 70-plus delegates. Board of Education member Pat Crossin is one of them. He attended a fundraiser for Malloy Sunday night at the Black Rock home of Mary-Jane Foster, an executive at the University of Bridgeport. Crossin donated $100 to Malloy, listened to his speech and liked what he heard. He says he’s undecided about his convention support because he wants the party to be united in its choice. As for a casino Crossin wonders what impact a gaming establishment would have on the city given the two casinos in the state and all the others that surround the state. And how would the state work around the existing compact with the gaming nations?

Either way get ready for an August primary, but first up a party convention in a few weeks. Ned, who is spending heavily, will have millions of his own money to spend while Malloy is following the public financing route.

Party Time

Hey, you can help settle all this guber stuff at the next OIB party May 11, 5:30, Blue Martini bar at the Holiday Inn. First refreshment on OIB plus good eats. Bring your favorite rumors. Park in the Middle Street garage behind the hotel and have your ticket validated at the front desk.

Condolences to Chris Caruso

State Rep. Chris Caruso’s mom Teresa Condello Caruso passed away over the weekend. She had been a longtime Bridgeport resident before residing at St. Joseph’s Manor in Trumbull. Tere, as he friends called her, “Loved Bridgeport” according to her son. “She was a Bridgeporter in every way.”  Abriola Parkview Funeral Home in Trumbull is handling services.

From Mayor Finch

Haiti Relief Resource Office Closed Pending Investigation into Alleged Wrongdoing

The City of Bridgeport announced today that it has closed the Haiti Relief Resource Office indefinitely after allegations of wrongdoing on the part of one of the volunteers was recently disclosed.

“As soon as these allegations were brought to our attention we initiated an investigation by the City of Bridgeport Police Department and the office will be closed until further notice,” said Adam Wood, Chief of Staff. Assistance will continue to be provided by the Office of Congressman Jim Himes and the American Red Cross which will continue to work with Pierre D’Haiti and other Haiti Resource Office volunteers.

In a prepared statement Mayor Finch said, “The City is committed to continuing its efforts to help the Haitian community reach out to loved ones on the island. We will be working with Pierre D’Haiti and other volunteers to make sure that the community still has resources to deal with this tragedy through our continued coordination with Congressman Jim Himes and the American Red Cross. Residents seeking help should continue to contact these organizations directly to seek information and assistance in connecting with their loved ones.”

Mayor Finch added, “Any violation of the law that occurred by any individual volunteer related to this horrible tragedy is unconscionable and will not be tolerated.”

Bridgeport Police Capt. James Viadero is in charge of the investigation. If you have any information of any illegal activity conducted by any volunteer at the office, please contact the Detective Bureau at: 203.581.5201.

About the Haiti Relief Resource Office: Since it opened in late January, the Haiti Relief Resource Office volunteers have provided the local Haitian community with information regarding temporary protected status, immigration and adoption, and counseling sessions. The City donated office space, phone and Internet connection, and AT&T donated funds for an international phone line so local Haitians could contact loved ones on the devastated island. The office was staffed by volunteers from local Haitian churches and civic organizations, as well as student volunteers from the University of Bridgeport, Fairfield University and Housatonic Community College.

City Council To Salute UB Gymnasts

With Mayor Finch in China on business, City Council President and Acting Mayor Tom McCarthy will congratulate the UB gymnastics team on Tuesday.

Who: University of Bridgeport Gymnastics Team

What: Being honored by Bridgeport City Council

When: Tuesday, April 27, 2010 at 5:30 pm

Where: City Hall, 45 Lyon Terrace

The University of Bridgeport Gymnastics Team will be honored by the Bridgeport City Council for winning the 2010 United States Gymnastics Association National Team Title.

The City Council will present the team with a Citation, recognizing and congratulating them for their accomplishment.

City Council President Thomas McCarthy offered his thoughts, saying “we wish to honor these student-athletes and their coaches for their skills and dedication to their sport and the recognition it brings to the University of Bridgeport.”

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33 Comments so far ↓

  • Local Eyes

    Bridgeport Democratic Town Chairman Mario Testa is incorrect to think a casino would be good for Bridgeport. Don’t worry, I’ve made bigger mistakes Ned is hardly thrilled with the idea and Malloy was right to block it. Local Eyes thinks Mr. Testa was wrong then and wrong now.

    Casinos are bad for America and Bridgeport is no exception. Owning your own business is the riskiest thing you can do and businesses on Madison Avenue are no exception, so consider your restaurant a casino, Mr Testa, and enjoy the journey.

  • the Nose

    The only thing worse for Bridgeport than a casino would be a nuclear accident at Seaside Park. Casino + urban area = really bad news. It is a desperate strategy for development, and it will attract desperate people. It may generate revenue but it will strangle development in the rest of the city.

  • countdown

    Dreaming of a casino for Bridgeport is just plain stupid. It was a bad idea years ago and it is a bad idea now. This is all about money. Which very rich person will buy the election through ads and whatnot? Rather, the smart ones should be asking which person will know how to make the State Government do what we need it to do; to scale back what is above and beyond what is necessary; and help the cities succeed. It is clear Dan Malloy and Mary Glassman could hit the deck running as Gov and Lt. Gov. I agree the party should be unified but they have to be smart about what qualities we really need. Bridgeport doesn’t need a casino to be successful. It needs Hartford to be a partner in solving our problems. We need Malloy and Glassman, not those very rich folks. The Dems need to rally together for the right reasons, not millionaire rhetoric.

  • Mojo

    *** In the past I thought a Casino would be good for Bpt but now in this economy & overall cost of living in general, I’m not so sure anymore. Besides Lamont is going to say anything political leaders want to hear without of course making promises! The Democrats need someone with experience in Urban type problems if things are going to change for the long term in Bpt. And that person is “Malloy” not business salesman Lamont. *** Time will tell. ***

  • donj

    Yes yes yes Ned Lamont 2010!!! Bridgeport will go for Lamont by a wide margin.

  • Mr BPT

    Malloy and Figueroa combo works for me.

  • independent soul

    Glassman & Figueroa, now that’s the type of Democratic ticket befitting the party of the people. Cut the casino talk because it ain’t gonna happen. Mario’s question to Lamont and Malloy should have been … okay downstaters, when we put you upstate, what will you do for the largest city in the state, knowing that a casino is not the answer. Full pilot funding? More partnerships in economic development, like another train station? Funds for community small-business opportunities? More town aid money to get the streets paved? Where was the Christmas list, Mario?

  • town committee

    I was a strong backer of a casino in Bridgeport years ago. I am not backer of a casino now. I think the time has come and gone for a casino. Saying all that I will not forgive Malloy for his efforts to derail the casino. Countdown I think you were part of that anti-casino group from downstate. Look were we have come since then. Nowhere.
    independent soul has hit a home run with his post. Full funding for Pilot program. Another train station. How about the same amount of money the state has given companies that move to Stamford?
    Being a lifelong Democrat I don’t feel either Malloy or Lamont are the answer. Let’s give Glassman a shot.

  • Nancy Hadley

    TC, I was working for the Weicker Administration during the Casino debate. I learned a little bit about how the Catholics bingo games set the stage for casinos in the first place. I also saw how Weicker, who really didn’t like gambling, struck a deal that redirected a good chunk of the gambling revenue away from the tribe and into the coffers of the cities and towns. That deal made getting Bridgeport a casino a long shot at best. It was an issue much bigger than Bridgeport that killed it. Not just downtown county but the state as a whole. I did not support Bridgeport’s dream of a casino. I still don’t. Its future now relies on adherence to the new zoning policies and good people being appointed to the boards to make sure the rules of the game are followed. Bridgeport has a very bright future.

    TC, the examples of how the State should help Bridgeport such as second train station, paving our streets; funding the recommendations of the NRZs; separating the sewers and storm drains are very important. I’ll even throw in another one–the city and Board of Ed should consolidate all their offices in a building rehabbed or built downtown by the private sector and partially leased to the city for a period that would give the capital markets time to start lending again. The state should fill the gap between the cost of construction and the rents the city could pay and provide the comfort the banks need to lend now. The City would have a new rateable on the books and eventually get tax revenue. It would add to the $80 million +/- that has been financed for City Trust, Arcade Mall and apartments, and 144 Golden Hill.

    All of this takes the State Bond Commission to act. The Commission has done very little for Bridgeport as compared to the other cities. The Governor chairs the State Bond Commission. We need a Governor who knows how to make government work correctly to help the cities. There is no question in my mind. What Mayor has seen his city grow 5,000 jobs and 10-12,000 residents in the 14 years he served? Dan Malloy is the only candidate to hit the ground running and do the job we need done. I also think Mary Glassman is a superb candidate. They would make the very best team for Bridgeport’s future. It is about the future, not the casino dream that would never become reality. Holding a grudge doesn’t add to the 250+ new market-rate tenant households that live, work and play in downtown Bridgeport. Select a governor because of his or her smarts and skills, not the size of their net worth.

  • Frustrated Bridgeport Democrat

    I was a big supporter of a casino back when. I likened it to a factory on the water that generated a ton of jobs and tax revenue. However that ship has sailed and should not try and dock in Bridgeport again.

    I respect Mario but Lamont is not the answer. He is another trust-fund baby who was born on 3rd base and thinks he hit a triple (Kudos to Ann Richards). Now he’s addicted to seeing himself on TV … Politics–Show-biz for the geeks!

    We need a governor that can cut back on the incredible public sector jobs & wages expansion and bring some state office buildings in to downtown, train station, etc.

  • Mojo

    *** Malloy for Gov. & Glassman Lt. Gov. now that’s a good team, smart, diverse, experienced in city & town needs & problems and part of working-class America. Not rich, silver spoon, it will be good for business talkers who are part of a different class America! Lamont like McMahon let their money do the talking instead of their hearts, it’s all about power, political clout and more money for them in the long run; it’s not about people in general. *** Why is it UB “only” gets recognized for all the good things happening there when the Mayor is away? Is it possible anything that’s good or actually works well in Bpt. can be put on the back burner or ignored due to past personal feelings? I think most OIB bloggers know the answer to that! *** Vote for “good-hearted qualified” people, not political parties! ***

  • Up On Bridgeport

    The Native American Tribes and the surrounding states are circling the wagons around Connecticut with gaming. Massachusetts just passed through its house and awaiting a senate vote to create two resort casinos and place slots into tracks creating a racino. Mohegan Sun has purchased 150 acres in Palmer, Ma. near Springfield. Mohegans also have gambling interests in Delaware or PA. Foxwoods has a deal in the works for a Philly casino and Steve Wynne just pulled out of that deal. New York has a deal on the table to place 5000 slots at Aqueduct Raceway and will receive an upfront licensing deal of $300 million plus percentages. Empire Casino at Yonkers has over 5000 slots. Connecticut should re-work the compact and allow opening of slots at Shoreline Star. If your argument is based on the societal problems of gambling I can understand that stance. However with that reasoning then we should perhaps shut down the whole state as we have taken over gambling with numbers, scratch-offs, Powerball, etc, that used to be controlled by another organization. If your argument is traffic, then I say go stick it! Nancy, as Lowell Weicker once said when asked about “status quo,” he replied: Status Quo? Let me tell you about Status Quo! Status Quo Sucks!” I must agree with Lowell on that one.

  • town committee

    Nancy I do hold a grudge. Malloy worked at screwing Bridgeport way back when. Having Glassman as a running mate I am not sure I would go along with that. That nomination has Stafstrom written all over it. Doesn’t her husband work for his law firm?
    Bright future I wish. Boards and commissions we have seen how that has evolved under this administration.

  • Grin Ripper

    TC
    Like many of us you are suffering from Irish Alzheimer’s. That’s where you forget everything but the grudges! My sister always reminds me she can bury the hatchet! She also always reminds me she never forgets where it is buried!!!

  • Nancy Hadley

    TC, Stafstrom works for a very large law firm with some of the very best legal minds in the field. Do not cloud your judgment by the fact Attorney Glassman and Stafstrom work for the same firm. It really doesn’t mean anything. It didn’t matter what you did when your lovely wife was leading the land use reforms for Bridgeport. Take Glassman for her skills and talents.

    I know the past is hard to leave behind but that baggage is just that, baggage; old, dusty and useless as we try to take Bridgeport into the future.

    Bridgeport has a lot of bad habits to overcome and the corruption mantle didn’t help much either when the casino debate was hot and heavy. There were a lot of people who didn’t trust Bridgeport, and sorry to say, for very good reasons. I really think the Malloy/Glassman team is the best for the city and the State. Remember I have been honored to be appointed to executive-level positions by three governors (Cuomo, Weicker and Rowland). I have seen the good, the bad, and the really ugly up close. In my opinion, Malloy has the right skill set, experiences, and temperament to hit the deck running. This isn’t about the past. What is past for me is I am not longer going to accept appointments to government positions by elected officials. It hurts too much when the new administration arrives, both for the appointees and those employees who accepted the new reforms I was implementing. When I left, the hammer came down on many of them by the middle managers who never saw the reforms as improving outcomes for the government customers, a.k.a. the taxpayer. I just want the best of the best to take on the burden of being our State’s elected governor and lieutenant governor.

  • park city fan

    A bit off topic but I am just catching up after a few days out of town. I read with some interest the topic of a few days back regarding union concessions and can’t help but add my two cents.
    After taking a very quick glance at the Mayor’s proposed budget for this upcoming year some things just jumped right out at me …

    Mayor Bill Finch $121,149 to $126,538 a 4% raise

    Larry Osborne $114,820 to $119,932 a 4.5% raise

    David Dunn $110,887 to $115,344 a 4% raise

    Andy Nunn $115,300 to $119,932 a 4% raise

    Mike Feeney $115,300 to $119,932 a 4% raise

    Tom McCarthy $91,520 to $95,197 a 4% raise

    • Mojo

      *** Well there you have it again, asking union workers to give up the little they’ve gained after waiting so long, only to turn around during a so-called hiring freeze & give the city’s upper management 4% cost of living raises, hire political cronies as consultants and create new jobs & depts. that bring “zero” revenue to the city of Bpt. But all of these things are only rumor & as usual, people outside the present political box don’t know the truth! Anyway, enough said on matters that really have no impact on local elections because chances are this admin. and everyone else on the wire will probably get re-elected again next year. It’s Bpt. politics @ its best! *** FORGETABOUTIT ***

    • city hall smoker

      Right on, Park City. Finch must think the employees are stupid. A union rep told me the proposed concessions equal roughly 4% of current salaries and the unaffiliated (appointed) people would give the same concessions. So if someone makes $40,000, he or she would have to give back $1,200 in furlough days which is about 10 unpaid days. Ouch! But the appointees give themselves a 4% raise and then give it up “for the good of the city” and break even. Yeah, they really must think the employees are stupid.

      I’m still trying to find the consultant line item in the budget. How are they paying Winterbottom, Murphy, Dave Ryan and the other law firm and what is the total amount? If I were on the city council I would surely ask that question.

      • city hall smoker

        Is it true the city is going to pay the salaries of the supervisors who lost the WIC grant? If I were on the city council I would ask that question too.

      • Celia Cruz

        Every dept has line item expense amounts that are budgeted for training, or special services, etc. Most of these line items are never used for the purpose they are budgeted for … what happens throughout the year, is certain depts have several budget line transfers administered by Sherwood that they transfer to the payroll line or whatever area they need to use it for …

        If the City Council asked Feeney/Sherwood for a report on actual expenses incurred by each dept compared to last year’s budgeted amounts, you would notice the discrepancy instantly … But, they will say oh we are unable to produce or show reports with actual numbers due to various accounts, or flawed reporting, blah blah blah …

  • park city fan

    Now it is my understanding the city has proposed a budget with an assumption of nearly 7 million dollars in union concessions and givebacks. I cannot be the only one to see the blatant hypocrisy of all this. How in the hell could these people demand union givebacks and concessions while at the same time enjoying generous pay raises for themselves and their underlings? If this is Bill Finch’s idea of leadership … we can’t get rid of this jackass fast enough.
    I seem to recall the unions stepping up during last year’s budget cycle and agreeing to significant concessions and givebacks to help the city balance the books. I also seem to recall the city pissing away large sums of money in settlements and buyouts for employees who had fallen out of political favor. I also seem to recall the administration finding jobs for Murphy and Winterbottom and others while at the same time laying off long-time employees. Long story short is the city wasted a significant amount of money the unions agreed to giveback or defer.

  • Grin Ripper

    I’m a Huge Park City Fan! Nice job PCF!

    • Local Eyes

      park city fan: I cannot be the only one to see the blatant hypocrisy of all this.

      You’re right, pcf, Grin Ripper feels the same way. But what you call blatant hypocrisy, Mayor Finch calls politics and this is a blog about politics, right? Besides, nothing’s been settled yet.

      I wonder how you say “political poker chip” in Chinese …

  • Hector A. Diaz

    It’s good to see how many bloggers believe steelpoint will happen yet don’t think the casino ever will. What surprises me is the amount of people who think the casino was a bad idea. I remember 85% turnout in support of one.

  • town committee

    Ms. Hadley I do not know what you are referring to when you say “It didn’t matter what you did when your lovely wife was leading the land use reforms for Bridgeport.” What did I do and what does my wife have to do with this? Low Blow. I am surprised at you but politics make strange bedfellows and does make people throw friends under the bus to get ahead. Like I said earlier I have a long memory. If Malloy was willing to screw Bridgeport once he will do it again for his downstate friends.

  • Warren All U Can Eat Buffet

    The Oracle of Omaha Steaks!

    Sharing Ham no longer amenable to Peeps. Lennie will Phil in the blanks.

  • Local Eyes

    ethanbookforussenate.org

    This Time It’s For Real!

  • donj

    I am convinced Republicans are a party of no they voted no on a debate on Wall Street reform.

  • Nancy Hadley

    TC. I didn’t write it clearly. I believe the wife stands on her own merit. What she does and how she is evaluated should be on her own actions. When your lovely wife was doing all those important leadership things people were trying to say because you were on the town committee she should be removed. I totally disagreed with that reasoning. Mary Glassman should be evaluated for her smarts and skills not what her husband does for a living or who he works for. That’s all I am saying. It shouldn’t matter that Mary Glassman’s husband works for the same law firm that Stafstrom does. Just like it didn’t matter you were on the DTC. The ladies need to be judged on their merit. So no offense meant. No low blow swung. My apology if my words didn’t properly convey what I meant.

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