Moses, The Ministers And Ganim

Trying to reclaim his old State Senate seat, Ernie Newton is receiving support from several members of the Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance, a coalition of city clergy that has a long history of influencing the vote. Former Mayor Joe Ganim, popular in African American and Latino neighborhoods, is also supporting the Moses of his peeps. Newton and State Rep. Andres Ayala have been schmoozing city delegates for support at the Democratic party convention next month as they try to knock off incumbent Ed Gomes in an expected August primary.

Gomes is just now getting around to calling the more than 50 delegates for support. A number of delegates would prefer Gomes work the system so they don’t have to choose among Newton and Ayala. Such courage, eh?

Among the ministers supporting Newton is State Rep. Charlie Stallworth, a member of the IMA. Newton supported Stallworth when he won the special election last year to fill the seat of Chris Caruso who accepted a state job appointment from Governor Dannel Malloy. Gomes supported city police officer Verna Kearney in the special.

Ganim and Newton years ago were incarcerated in the same facility in New Jersey. When Ganim flirted with a run for mayor last year Newton was one of his backers. How can Ganim help Newton? Ganim is still highly regarded in the African American and Latino communities, according to a numbers of polls conducted last year by OIB. He has maintained close relationships with city ministers who play both in the pulpit and at the polls. Ganim has not disappeared from the city’s political scene. He’s friends with Democratic Town Chair Mario Testa and is a regular face at his Madison Avenue restaurant.

Mario has been quiet about who he’d prefer for Gomes’ seat. Gomes, like Newton, supported Mary-Jane Foster for mayor last year. He does not have a strong working relationship with Mario or Mayor Bill Finch. Could Joe be whispering into Mario’s ear about quietly helping Ernie? You bet.

Ayala, in addition to bringing his State House base to the table, has the support of former Town Chair John Stafstrom. Ayala, the City Council president during the John Fabrizi mayoral years, has done a nice job raising money on his way to qualifying for Connecticut’s public financing system that would create a $100K jackpot for the primary. Newton says he’s confident he will also qualify. Gomes, content apparently to wait until the end of the legislative session in May, is not raising money.

Gomes represents Connecticut’s 23rd State Senate District that covers roughly 75 percent of Bridgeport and a portion of Stratford.



  1. That’s nice. But I have always believed in the separation of church and state. These pulpit pundits do too much electioneering when they should be saving souls.

  2. NPR had a report on Paul Vallas and Bridgeport by David Wessel on Morning Edition today. Wessel works for the Wall St. Journal, so it was totally biased in favor of the business aspect of the Vallas plan; he never brought up charter school’s general and widespread failures or the BEA’s disgust.

    1. BG, look back about 7 articles in the archives to the one about the North End meeting. I provided my thoughts as to what happened.
      Interesting that a few of us in addition to Mayor Finch were picked up on Channel 12 with comments. I had volunteer duty for 3.5 hours this morning at a food pantry. People waiting mentioned they had seen me on Channel 12. I asked them what they understood. They said TAXES, and asked me to tell them more. No PowerPoint, no watchdog images, we talked about the 7% increase being sold because there was no increase for four years; because of education needs though only 30% of $24 Million will go to education; because of retirement, specifically Pension Plan A funding ‘required’ by State Law passed one year ago. But it is not as the Mayor keeps saying a $10.6 Million increase; at maximum a $6 Million increase but transition from City Pension Plans B to State of CT MERF should save $2.3 Million–thus $3.7 Million net.
      IMO eliminating “ghost positions” and “ghost line items” will save the City at least $10 Million. Mayor Finch, you claim to be the very model of budget accountability and a “cutter.” Get out the eraser and scissors!!! Other than $140,000 additional for Lighthouse, the Mayor has not made a case for anything else that totals $12-13 Million. Strange isn’t it? Must be a lot more room for cutting. How about budgets presented this past week with department heads who could not explain the finances of their budgets without Tom Sherwood present. Probably means they are not doing the work of carefully putting their plan together to see that goals, objectives, personnel and funding mesh. Too bad. Sherwood could get sick, or have to be at a more important session. What does that show the City Council? The budget is pretty much a sham?
      And fiscal accountability might have a CC member looking at their own departmental budget: Missing goals for the coming year; no report on previous goals and objectives; one ghost position included that has been empty for more than five years ($50,000 with benefits converted into “slush”); City stipends showing 2011 $114,000 expense indicating that $66,000 was unexpended on City Council General Stipends, but since there is no 12th-month budget, you cannot see where the money was spent ($66,000 converted into “slush” and no one knows which Council members are spending money, or for what. Is this a CC example of “transparent budgeting?”); and finally in Other services about $90,000 that is not spent on CC services annually (instead adding to “slush”).

      Conclusion: One department with a $398,000 budget of which 50% ends up as “slush”–your tax dollars budgeted for one line item, not spent there, but allocated elsewhere, and you are prevented from seeing it, because there is not a June 30 monthly budget report annually!!!

      $200,000 here or there and it adds up to real money. Time will tell.

  3. What’s so sad is I heard it this morning in Florida, and am now sitting here in good ol’ CT.

    Reading the editorials in Florida papers, they sure aren’t happy with what Rick Scott is doing with education, especially when he takes millions from public colleges to fund a political vanity:

    “Obviously Scott cares more about pleasing powerful politicians than attending to the needs of taxpayers–or running a disciplined higher education system.

    “While listening to Alexander and his minions, Scott failed to meet with USF Polytechnic students and faculty members who opposed the move. And students at other universities should remember as they were being forced to endure $300 million in funding cuts, Scott thought it a grand idea to start a new university from the ground up.”


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