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Mellow Mario, With A Fresh Two Years, Must Now Choose Between SuBy And Murphy

March 13th, 2012 · 20 Comments · Analysis and Comment, City Politics

Ah, it was another love fest for Democratic Town Chair Mario Testa who was reelected by acclamation for another two-year term by the 90-member Democratic Town Committee Monday night at Mario’s Madison Avenue restaurant, the epicenter of city politics. Will someone please step up and start a good fight?

Dottie Guman, the Mother Goose of the party, signed up for another two years as vice chair. Someone’s gotta keep Mario from straying to the dark side, eh? Actually we’re seeing a mellow Mario, now in his mid 60s, these days. He doesn’t seem to be involved in every detail of government like the old days. But Mario is Mario and still the man pols must meet over a mountain of macaroni or if they rise early enough a cup of giuseppe slipping in the back door of the kitchen greeted by Mario’s bloody apron after pounding out the veal for the day.

Mario has a decision to make soon if he hasn’t already. Does he support former Connecticut Secretary of the State Susan Bysiewicz for the U.S. Senate seat of a retiring Joe Lieberman or Congressman Chris Murphy. A majority of the party seems to be gravitating toward Murphy, but pockets of  good will exist for SuBy who’s worked the Bridgeport political establishment relentlessly for years. Black Rock District Leader Danny Roach, who represents the highest-turnout area of the city, is supporting SuBy. Word is SuBy’s scheduled to see Mario this week. Mario has a whole bunch of delegates to select for the May party convention to endorse federal candidates. Two other candidates for U.S. Senate, State Rep. William Tong and drug-reform crusader Sylvester Salcedo are saying hey, don’t forget about us.

Monday night Gilberto Hernandez was elected district leader in the East Side’s 137th District after a morning recount upheld the results of the hard-fought DTC primary last week in which City Councilwoman Lydia Martinez, the city’s queen of absentee ballots, lost control of the district. Gilberto, no fan of Lydia, ran with former City Council members Tito Ayala and Maria Valle to claim five of the nine district seats. Lydia’s entire slate lost on the machines, but she managed to keep her seat courtesy of her unique absentee ballot operation. But the opposition slate proved that her crew can be defeated even with her AB magic act.

Former State Senator Ernie Newton, the Moses of his peeps, stopped in to the DTC meeting. Newton is running for his old seat occupied by Ed Gomes who also stopped in. Gomes hasn’t officially declared his candidacy for another two-year term but it sounds like he’s running. State Rep. Andres Ayala has formed an exploratory committee for a possible State Senate run. Democratic primaries will take place in August.

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20 Comments so far ↓

  • yahooy

    What can I say???

  • barney

    Oh if only I would have known! I would have loved to have stopped by to give Martha Santiago a big kiss!
    I guess I just can’t rely on good information anymore!

  • Grin Reaper

    Congrats to Mario on the victory he so RICHLY deserves and to the Democratic Town Committee for once again displaying putting the good of the party and the city ahead of any personal interests they may have.

  • city hall smoker

    No surprise there. With Maria Valle (top vote getter) and Tito Ayala back in the picture, could this be the beginning of the end for the AB Queen? Do I smell challenges for her council seat?

    Rumblings in the BOE. Could John Fabrizi be up for a promotion aka another undeserved raise? My sources tell me he is a regular in Vallas’ office. We all know Fabs looks out for Fabs so he must be striking a deal. This will prove politics is alive and well in the BOE even with an appointed new crew. But that was the point, wasn’t it? Total control of all the money and all the jobs.

  • yahooy

    Vallas is enamored with a high level schools administrator who admits to drug incapacities? What’s wrong with Vallas? I told you to watch him like a hawk! See if he does anything meaningful in the way BOE contracts are given out for goods and services especially food services.

  • Grin Reaper

    FROM THE CT POST

    BRIDGEPORT — The state-appointed city school board agreed Monday to ask two foundations to help support its education reform efforts since the arrival of Interim Schools Superintendent Paul Vallas.
    It asked the Charter Oak Foundation for $75,000 and the Fairfield County Foundation for $315,250. Together, the $390,250 request will pay for Vallas’ services, as well as for consultants he has brought in since January to assess the school system, seal a multimillion-dollar budget gap budget and create a five-year plan to improve the district.
    Trefry said he is unsure what will happen to the district’s ability to attract additional private funding once the district reverts back to an elected school board to comply with a state Supreme Court ruling. The court ruled that last summer’s replacement of the elected board was illegal.

    It’s like the old shell game but in Bridgeport the Shells and BALLS just keep getting bigger and bigger.

  • Bridgeport Now

    Grin, that CT Post Article also says Bridgeport BOE funding sources are hidden so we don’t know who is funding change at your local school.

    Wonder if that’s the same folks from BOE state takeover. I mean, really, where are BOE decisions coming from now, a conference room in Hartford or Greenwich hedge fund? Is the funding source the same guy revealed from Hearst Newspaper FOI request who has been working with mayor since 2011, as the CT Post reported last August? I am sure they are all nice folks, just not sure secrecy is great.

    Okay, so let’s see what good the state can do for Bridgeport … So tonight at 8:30pm on Bridgeport Now TV, we have a former Bridgeport mayor candidate discuss a prior OIB Topic:
    /the-bridgeport-sexually-oriented-business-ordinance/

    And at 8pm another state topic, if the food you eat will show labels saying if it was genetically modified (GMO) or not. You can see if food you buy has MSG, why not GMO?

    • banmenow

      Bridgeport Now,
      The CT Post article says “That fund was created by donors, many who remain anonymous, after the board fired Schools Superintendent John Ramos and hired Vallas.”
      So we don’t know all the players donating money. I am sure not all donors wish to remain anonymous. But is it more important to know who is giving the money or what they are doing with the money?

      I would rather know what they are doing with the money. And Vallas is very clear as to how they are spending it.

    • Sue

      www .latimes.com/news/politics/la-pn-group-offers-25000-reward-for-exposing-secret-corporate-giving-20120312,0,1110420.story

      Got the goods on a secret donation your company is making to a politically active group? You could make a pretty penny.

      A union-backed organization is offering a $25,000 reward to the first employee who comes forward with “documentary evidence” that a company is secretly funding a nonprofit organization active in the 2012 campaign.

      The offer by Americans United for Change came as part of a new campaign announced Monday by a coalition of liberal and campaign finance reform groups that are pressuring corporations not to spend money on politics.

      The organizations–which include Common Cause, Public Citizen, Coalition for Accountability in Political Spending, the Service Employees International Union, MoveOn.org and Occupy Wall Street–unveiled an array of tactics they plan to use to keep corporate money out of this year’s campaign, including consumer boycotts and shareholder initiatives.

  • BEACON2

    At the current moment it would seem private money is not permitted to pass from a donor directly to the City to fund an initiative. The Fairfield County Community Foundation became involved and a special group of advisers for money specifically targeted to Bridgeport schools was developed for the short run, I understand. Several Bridgeporters involved I believe who care about education and to act as stewards to see the money is spent wisely as well as in accord with wishes of donors to the extent that is possible.

    Paul Vallas has suggested the creation of another Foundation-type entity with an independent board to cause funds to be directed here, handle them prudently, and use them to fund changes, plans and programs in the educational improvement plan today and into the future including for instance teacher training and development as well as development of administrators for City schools for many years into the future.
    Obviously scholarships are wonderful and necessary for those who need financial assistance. But if you cannot develop your innate abilities in Bridgeport schools in your first 12 years, will scholarship availability mean anything if more kids are not genuinely ready for college-level instruction and beyond? Philanthropy is great and lots of people have great intentions. Bridgeport can use the non-tax as well as the financial taxpaying ability of neighbors in the region for years to come. Time will tell.

  • Bridgeport Now

    Banmenow, your question: “is it more important to know who is giving the money or what they are doing with the money?” Money is power and folks paying the bill often get to make the decisions, right? As far as how money is spent, not sure we have full transparent accounting.

  • Grin Reaper

    banmeow,
    Let’s say these donors are also contractors with the city. Do you think there might be a conflict then? I give $100K to this non-profit and my business gets a preferential $1.5 million school renovation contract? I know, things like that just don’t happen in Bridgeport any more, nor any less for that matter.

    And besides what have you got against cats?

    • banmenow

      Grin Reaper,
      You make a valid point. However, that is a “What if” situation. The point I was making is Paul Vallas is being 100% transparent about how he is spending the money. He is entitled to a salary and he is trying to collect his salary and pay other people theirs without impacting the operating budget. We know exactly how the foundation money is being spent. So I stand by my statement.
      Now if the situation changes and the foundation money is spent on vendor contracts or questionable contracts, then I would agree it would be essential to know the donors.

      But let’s not cross that bridge until we have to. And let us have some faith Vallas will not lead us down that road.

      • city hall smoker

        banmenow, c’mon now. You think Bpt politics will not influence Vallas’ decisions? Sure he may take some actions which benefit our schools and our children, but the politicos already have their hands out. Watch closely and see who gets a new job or a raise or a contract. Has anyone checked out the aftermath in Chicago or New Orleans? I’m hearing those cities paid out so much in lawsuits, caused by Vallas’ actions, they had to lay off teachers.

    • banmenow

      What a random question to ask me: “And besides what have you got against cats?” Of course, it isn’t a random question if you were present at a recent conversation I had with a blogger.
      But to answer your question, I dislike cats very much. However there is a particular gray one with green eyes I sort of like. Do you know a cat like that?

  • Sue

    I heard Mr. Fabrizi was a few minutes late.

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