Okay, so you’re Democratic Town Chair Mario Testa who reemerged as party leader in March because the party revolted against ineffective leadership and an unpopular mayor. The mayor supported the other guy for town chair. Your contact with a stubborn mayor has been limited. No input about appointments to boards and commissions, little discussion about upcoming primaries and a general election, few courtesy calls. So, one day the mayor asks, “Hey, can you raise money to retire my debt.”
Testa can make 10 phone calls and raise $10 grand like that. But will he? Bill Finch asked Testa the other day to raise money to help retire a legal debt incurred when State Rep. Christopher Caruso challenged the results of Finch’s 270-vote primary victory last September, an outcome eventually upheld by the State Supreme Court.
You can look at this two ways: Finch needs the help and is trying to reach out; or this is an opportunity for Testa to repair his relationship with Finch.
So, if you’re Mario what do you do? Swallow hard and raise the money? Or, maybe say, oh, gee sorry, I must raise money for other candidates. I’m guessing Mario will throw Bird Man a few seeds to retire the debt. We’ll see.
With a new editor in town, reporters in the Connecticut Post newsroom are shitting ink. It’s the nature of the beast. Old editor Jim Smith gets the boot, the industry faces cutbacks everywhere, and a new guy shows up from Salt Lake to season the fear factor. Fear of unknown is a commanding emotion. Veteran and new reporters are questioning their future. A lot them have salary reviews on the horizon. The Post has sister papers in Stamford, Greenwich, Danbury and a fleet of weekly pubs. Who’s going to get whacked? What will be consolidated? Who’s going to survive? Jesus, the Courant just announced 60 layoffs!
Journalists are a suspicious bunch, especially among themselves. Funny thing about scribes, their whole livelihood depends on persuading subjects to go on the record, and when it comes time for a question to be posed to them for the record they hide in the wastebasket. Are you nuts, I can’t talk to you? Grimaldi, they’ll kill me if they find out I’m talking to you!
They’ll talk, but not for attribution. I love it when the shoe’s on the other foot. I don’t blame them. Reporters and editors fear retribution. Every time OIB criticizes someone over there, I end up on the news desk’s page one hit list. I can hear them now, which one of you bastards talked to Grimaldi! Call Dick Blumenthal and bring the polygraph!
I don’t know the new guy from Salt Lake Tom Baden. He may be a very nice guy. For sure master Baden has the newsroom in shivers. One thing about Baden’s predecessor gentleman Jim Smith, he had the guts to speak for the record. He always responded to my emails. The other day I sent Baden a few questions. I’ve not heard back. Just in case his email is not working, here’s what I asked:
I know you’re just settling in and it will take some time for you to get a feel for things but was hopeful you could respond to a few questions that I will run verbatim as a short Q&A.
Q. You have a credentialed background covering government and politics, something the CT Post, particularly politics, has not emphasized heavily in recent years. Is this something you plan to change immediately? Or is it a wait and see sorta thing?
Q. There’s trepidation in the CT Post newsroom that you have a big shoe to drop on a bunch of folks, given the cutbacks taking place in the print industry. In fact, it appears the responsibilities of your former position in Salt Lake will be satisfied by existing personnel. What is the likelihood of cutbacks in the newsroom?
Q. You’ve worked out west and, closer to home, in Pennsylvania, so why does Bridgeport, at this stage of your career, make sense?
If Baden does not respond, feel free to fill in the blanks. Maybe OIB reader Bob from BePo, who knows a little about life in a newsroom, will weigh in.