Mother Goose’s Boy, Plus: What Finch Should Do

Don’t mess with Mother Goose! That’s one of the lessons that Mayor Bill Finch should digest following another embarrassing loss with the resurrection of Mario Testa as Democratic Town Chairman.

Finch and his old party leader John Stafstrom took a bunch of boots up their butts Tuesday night for a variety of reasons.

For one thing, the party rebelled over Stafstrom’s ineffectiveness as party honcho, superior attitude that he’s right and everyone else is wrong and his inability to deliver candidates he supports against the wishes of many party regulars.

As for Finch, the new mayor has shamelessly interpreted his election as some sort of messianic calling, divine ruling without question, without regard to pragmatic advice simply because he was elected mayor, focusing on politics instead of devoting the vast majority to time to governing. Let’s look at some of Finch’s decisions:
· Promising a $600 tax cut during the campaign when he knew he couldn’t deliver it.
· Trying to get away with holding two elected positions until media pressure forced him to give up the state senate seat.
· Calling Trumbull a bucolic town with no problems after courting Trumbull votes for years as a state senator, rendering him helpless to campaign on behalf of the Democratic candidate Tom Mulligan who was croaked by Republic Rob Russo to fill Finch’s seat.
· Claiming the only thing he knew about a tax break for a political supporter was what he read in the paper.
· Trying to govern for four months now without an appointed director of economic development.
· Sticking his nose in district politics to the detriment of the city.
· Defensive, thin-skinned attitude to the slightest criticism.
· Lack of a strong, experienced, organized professional in his office to help focus him.
· Rationalizing, justifying every decision even when he’s proven wrong.

As for Mother Goose, her name is Dottie Guman, a dignified woman who’s done nothing but help Finch’s political career and put food on his table. Finch kicked Guman in the teeth after Stafstrom left an F-bomb message on her telephone. Guman got tired of Finch’s attitude, lies and disrespect. She decided to support Testa. Guman’s support of Testa was a nice lady’s way of sticking an ice pick in Finch’s birdbrained head. If her district votes for Stafstrom, Finch’s candidate would still be in power. (By the way Dottie Guman is now a vice chair of the party with James Holloway and Martha Santiago. Johanna Dorgan is secretary, Maria Hoffman Treasurer and Richard Paoletto sergeant of arms.)

What should Finch do moving forward? Once again, be mayor, work on the budget, build coalitions in the legislature, meet with area chief executives to showcase economic opportunities, highlight the economic advantages of doing business in the city, bring in experienced negotiators to help the thorny issues involving complex sale of city assets. Be honest. Stop lying. End the arrogance. And stop going to every chickenshit little meeting just to show people you’re doing something. Finch’s credibility is too much in question so soon in a new mayoralty. He may be mayor for another three-plus years but a mayor cannot govern without credibility. His two predecessors were run out of office.

Finch has some decent, good people in his office. Adam Wood, his chief of staff, is among them. But Adam is not the answer. He’s too much of a political animal in an important government role. That does not mean Adam should not be there to filter through pragmatic politics. Finch needs a strong person in his office that can help focus him. He needs varsity, not JV.

I’ve said over and over when you govern effectively, when mayors make governing the priority, the politics will follow. Nothing has changed. The mayor should run the city. If he doesn’t he will fail.

Oh by the way, happy St. Joseph’s Day! Bring on the zeppole! And a big OIB round of applause to John from Black Rock for his active reports from the DTC meeting.

News release from city hall.

Mayor Finch, Students Present Student Artwork at City Hall Annex
March 19, 2008 – Mayor Bill Finch, Deputy Superintendent of Learning and Teaching Henry R. Kelly, Director of Visual Arts for the Board of Education Ralph Buzzard, and students and parents gathered this morning at the City Hall Annex in Bridgeport to announce the display of local students’ artwork at the Annex. The Mayor, in conjunction with the Board of Education, has decided to display a rotating show of artwork from Bridgeport schools that will change every 1-2 months. Artwork currently displayed comes from Park City Magnet, High Horizon Magnet, Multicultural Magnet, Cesar A. Batalla, and Curiale Schools.

“When I took office in December 2007, I realized that student artwork would significantly brighten up the halls of the City Hall Annex,” said Mayor Finch. “I asked my staff to coordinate with Mr. Buzzard, Director of Visual Arts for the Board of Education, and now we’re happy to present these amazing works of art from our very own students from right here in Bridgeport. Their talent is really astounding.”

City Hall and City Hall Annex staff and the general public will be invited to vote on the artwork for each category of elementary, middle and high school. The winner in each category each rotation will be presented with an award from the Mayor’s Office.



  1. Let the games begin. I hope Mario will remove Stafstrom from the city’s bond works, neuter him! I hope some direction for our city will result from our new chairman (sounds like refrences to Mao, doesn’t it? unintentional really). I am greatly disappointed in Moonbeam, I hope Mario will jump start him in some way, because hope has become non-existant and there is no where else to turn, unless it’s my back to Bridgeport.

  2. so sad. a giant step backwards for the city and its reputation, threatening a young woman so that she has to be taken to the hospital with an apparent asthma attack? no class, pathetica Danny. No guts, no glory. Poor Finch, those jamokes who worried you were with “the machine” have lost the moment to clean up the city’s reputation, now Finch is really hanging out there politically. Lenny, is that a saw I see in your hands from a fresh set of cuts in the limb he was on? the only good news is that the feds are still watching

  3. What goes around comes around.

    Just desserts.

    Hoisted by his own petard.

    You can judge a man by the company he keeps.

    Bad Karma Man.

    In case this isn’t clear … get rid of the thugs, the politically stupid and the power hungry hangers-on or you will drown in your own bad judgment.


  4. Opportunism is a term used in politics and political science. It forms an important rationale as well for transaction cost economics. It is interpreted in different ways, but usually refers to one or more of the following:

    * a political style of aiming to increase one’s political influence at almost any price, or a political style which involves seizing every and any opportunity to extend one’s political influence, whenever such opportunities arise.

    * the practice of abandoning in reality some important political principles that were previously held, in the process of trying to increase one’s political power and influence.

    * a trend of thought, or a political tendency, seeking to make political capital out of situations with the main aim being that of gaining more influence or support, instead of truly winning people over to a principled position or improving their political understanding.

    Most politicians are “opportunists” to some extent at least (they aim to utilize political opportunities to their advantage), but the controversies surrounding the concept concern the exact relationship between “seizing a political opportunity” and the political principles being espoused.

  5. Well, there you have it folks. Is Ericka Labrador o.k. now that Mario won? Did she get to vote on the Final round? I don’t get it, Mario wins with the support of a bunch of City Employees and after his win goes on to state that he will ask all district leaders to start recruiting
    non-City Employees. Who the peporoni are you kidding Mario? I had 8 on my slate! Besides, you would replace then with contractor’s employees, attorneys and consultants. Now let’s wait for Chris Caruso to pick on Mario and see if he runs and hides again.

  6. Do you think Erica Labrador made up the story that Mario Testa threatened her father’s school job if she did not vote for him? Did that alleged threat exacerbate her asthma condition and cause her to collapse?

  7. I believe that Bill Cummings regarding Erica got the story wrong. My sources tell me that the incident took place in the parking lot and it was Mitch Robles who threatened her with her Dad’s job with the Board of Ed.

    I know Benji (her Dad) very well and if Mitch did this to his daughter, Mitch better watch his front.

    Congratulations to Mother Goose! She will be a very “Nice”
    Chair as vice chair.

  8. Let’s hear from Mario Testa directly regarding this Erica Labrador allegation. If it is true that Testa/Robles threatened her with her father’s job, I think she should sue both Testa and Robles.

  9. Bill Cummings got it wrong big time. Erica and Chico Rivera voted for Testa much to the surprise of Mitch Robles. When a recess was called i watched Robles lead Erica outside by the arm. He was hollering at her for voting for Testa. Chico was outside trying to get her away from Robles. There was a crowd gathering that was anti Robles and his tactics. he kept walking up Horace St with Erica until she reached a point of passing out. Robles walked away cursing. BTW Erica had filled out a proxey vote and it was for Testa. At no time did Testa go near Erica and why would he threaten a girl with the courage to vote for him and go against her district leader. Robles was a deperate man and will now reap what he made.

  10. Recess was a very interesting time last night. When the recess was called Roach went outside and met with Moonbeam, Adam Wood and two other guys. The meeting lasted about 10 minutes.
    When the meeting restarted one of Roaches TC members asked for an adjournment. This was the last deperate act by Finch and his people to highjack the vote. They knew that theey could not win on this night. A vote to adjourn was taken and soundly defeated.
    BTW before the meeting started Finch quietly went around the room stating that he was releasing everyone from their committments. To little to late. the ones you made change their votes weere not buying into the you are released story. Pathetic performance by moonbeam.

  11. Joel the one true thing that you have said in all of your posts is ‘” I don’t get it”. its quite obvious that you dont get it. In the end erica voted in the final round via proxey and she voted for Testa. BTW I thought you were now a Republican.

  12. Among The Mayor’s perceived shortcomings:

    Trying to govern for four months now without an appointed director of economic development.

    Another brilliant move by The Mayor — it gives me time to refresh and upgrade the abilities of Bridgeporters to organize into OPICs or one-person internet companies.
    It’s already happening. Here’s the best part: I know this job so incoming players (yes, that’s what they’re called) can rampup quickly. I’ll either get the job or outperform the incoming director before he / she has a chance to unpack their bags.

  13. Truly amazing … reelect a guy to the Town Chair that came probably very close to being Ganim’s cellmate … That is great for Bridgeport … Some people in this city need to get a clue.

  14. Gossip of The Rialto from last night.

    When are two proxies given by one person to two different people not a proxy?

    The kids in the 138th were really acting up last night in front of the subsitute chair last night.

    What potential state rep. primary candidate is going to need a pooper scooper after last night?

    The First Lady of the City is starting to make Mary Fabrizi look like Queen Elizabeth.

    How much more pressure can Adam “Dead” Wood take before he splits town?

    When will Mayor Moonbeam stop staying to Keeley, Hennessy and Caruso; “How come everytime I see F, you see K?”

    Only in Bridgeport, kids. “Only in Bridgeport!”

  15. No one is splitting Town. These first hundred days have been complicated by a series of political distractions; from Caruso’s never ending challenge hanging over the majority vote to primaries and special elections.

    Politics is an annoying although necessary part of . . . politics.

    If you do not support the people that beleived in you and supported you, then you are not acting honorably. To back someone just because they have a better chance at winning is politics at its worst.

    With the history of this City’s governance, maybe we should appreciate a take it slow approach that thinks before it acts.

    Maybe the naysayers are bored because no huge mistakes, negligence or crimes have been committed.

    Sometimes it is better to be bored than excited by dirt and grand failure.

    George Bush made a lot of big fancy moves in his first 100 days and we all see where that type of shoot from the hip action took us.

    Slow and steady wins the race, and in success as in politics: it is only the end game that counts. Outcome for the people over loss of style points early on.

  16. No shit BILL CUMMINGS screwed that article up !!!!! It was MITCH that was threating ERICA to vote for SASSYSTROM !!!! And SASSYSTROM really messed up that proxy in the 138th !!!!!! Everyone knew she gave her proxy to MARTHA and SASSYSTROM extracted another one from her !!! But then SASSYSTROM made a huge mistake giving to someone that used to live in the district !!!! What a joke !!!! Luckly the 138th was on top of it and didnt let any bullshit happen!!!!

  17. Don’t blame Bill Cummings for his reporting. If a police officer told him that Ericka Labrador said that Mario threatened her with firing her father, then that is what he is supposed to write. Maybe Mitch was trying to get her to ignore the threat and vote her mind. I expected some members to be absent and it would have been more interesting having the full body of 90. Now lets see what happens 2 years down the road. Will District Leaders recruit non-City Employees? Will Danny Roach keep Hector Diaz on? Will Mario push for Paul Ganim over Finch? Will there be 10 district challenges in 2010?
    The Best thing in all this is that Dottie Guman is where she deserves to be and that Johanna Dorgan is back.

  18. Joel; you just dont have a clue.If the cop told him that, he still has to check it out. It turned out that it was Robles doing the threatening . There acutually was noone missing. There were 88 bodies present. I proxey vote was disqualified and the 90th vote came in as a proxey late to ake 90 votes.
    Why dont you keep us posted as to what is going on in the republican party

  19. Finch’s attitude has been typical of career politicians or anyone that has held elected office for a long time: he feels that the office is his birth right. And his heavy-handed tactics small of OLD SCHOOL

  20. Among the important rules of how to act in politics is this: when you take a shot at the king … don’t miss. And if you are an accidental mayor (like Finch), don’t get involved in political fights you can’t win. So if he can’t do politics, and he can’t do governing … what is it he can actually do? It’s Finch who needs to step up from JV to varsity before he becomes captive to an unfriendly town committee.

    Meanwhile, if I have to read one more self-congratulatory mention of the com-Post’s “prize-winning investigation” that “exposed” to those last few people who weren’t paying attention that most of the DTC were city employees … I might drive back to BPT to puke on Bill Cummings’ shoes. What the com-Post hasn’t done for folks is explain HOW and WHY that is so dangerous. His barely/badly reported anecdotes aside … I haven’t seen a drop of reporting on the city budget and how patronage-machine government actually drives up BPT’s cost of living. The scandal isn’t about votes, it’s not even about graft or theft, it’s about tax dollars. The Chairman is dead, long live the Chairman … If anything makes Finch a one-term mayor, it will certainly be a failure to get taxes under control.

    Maybe it’s too hard for Woody and the Birdman to see this while they’re stuck in the soup. But stuck they are, and they are going to need to discover some world-class political ingenuity if they are to have any hope of showing progress before the sand runs out the bottom of the hourglass.

  21. ok FRIENDS and FOES Town Comittee is over Special Senate Race is over , and last but not least Town Chairman is done !!!!! Now I suppose we have November Elections which remember primaries will be held in August !!!! Is LYONS running ???? Is AUDEN running ????? Is PAOLETTO running ???? Believe it on not heard MCCARTHY against RUSSO already !!!! Is GOMEZ and CLEMONS and RIENOSO going back to Hartford ???? Already heard LYDIA is getting the nomination for State Rep not ANDRES !!! Will he primary again ?? And if he does would he win ??? He and his slate lost big to UNCLE TITO !!!!

  22. Note to self who cares if AUDEN runs she’s a waste !!!!
    Also heard SILVA is still trying to get support for himself to run against CARUSO !!! Didnt he cut PAOLETTOS throat once already ????

  23. The results of this DTC election should be no surprise. The whole election show, from the first rumors of Mario’s re-emergence last year (which almost made it seem as if he had really not remained in control since his “resignation” in 2003), to Tuesday night’s dramatic proceedings, was well-choreographed and well-acted by all the players, but the winner could only have been Mario. That was decided even before it was decided that Finch would be mayor.

    Finch, Danny Roach, Stafstrom, and all the DTC players will get their rewards for roles well-played … Finch, for his well-acted support of Stafstrom, gets to look a little less dirty to the FBI–so he thinks … But the fact that he is a Testa-Ganim creation, owned and operated by the Testa-DiNardo-Scinto-D’Addario-Motinho-Timpanelli sextet, is something that remains unchanged in the minds of the FBI and others who really count, politically speaking …

    The other players will all get political and economic plumbs of one sort or another … The only people who will lose are the ones who thought that there was really a contest and outed themselves as anti-Mario after spending all of their political capital …

    P.T. could have sold a lot of tickets to this one! … Show those folks the egress (and throw them a lifeline from the SS Caruso!) …

  24. BTW–how is Scinto part of this sextet? It seems the guy hasn’t developed in years in Bridgeport due to a certain fatty fatso who shall go unnamed.

    Too bad … he’s actually a decent quality developer.

  25. Anna – that certain fatty fatso wouldn’t let an outhouse be developed in Bridgeport if he had things his way. His protests against development are endless and counterproductive for the taxpayers. Not that he would know what paying property tax is all about.

  26. Au contraire, good lady and skanky lady. Bob Scinto publicly stated in the Conn Post on March 9th 2007 that he would never consider investing development dollars in the City of Bridgeport so long as those people who participated in the corruption of Joe Ganim were in power. He further stated that Chris Caruso was the only mayoral candidate in whom he could be assured of a fair chance at competitive bids. This is factual. He may find Caruso abrasive, ill tempered and caustic BUT Scinto has never alleged that Chris is anything but honest. As a result of Finch as mayor and Testa BACK in control, I doubt that we will ever see Scinto signs in Bridgeport. As a matter of fact I doubt that we will see anybody’s signs in front of major new development so long a this dynamic duo are back to the good ole days.

  27. Yahooy: Bob Scinto is a personal friend of mine. He’s smart, honest and an astute investor and developer. Why would he risk his money and his reputation doing business with people who don’t value or relate to those characteristics in themselves or in others? The answer is, he won’t.

    Smart investors, like Bob Scinto, want to do business where the potential for gain far exceeds the risk of loss or financial ruin. And in terms of risk-adjusted rate of return, Bridgeport, with its past and present leadership issues, is not where a savvy investor will place his bets.

    Change the leadership … and you’ll change the equation. Smart money always flows to the areas of greatest opportunity. But the ideas and relationships that shape those opportunities are dependent on the brains, boldness and honesty of the leaders in charge. And that’s why Bridgeport has always come up short in the competitive battle for investment dollars.

    Change the leadereship … and you’ll change the equation. And the people, the taxpayers, will reap the rewards.


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