Mud Wrestling Politicians, Plus: Voting By The Dead, And Finch Announces Recruits

What a difference a budget makes. Several city council members that had seriously considered runs for the state legislature have now bailed on such thoughts. Councilman Rich Paoletto decided against challenging State Rep. Chris Caruso a few weeks ago. City Council President Tom McCarthy, mired in one of the toughest budget cycles in years, has walked away from running for the state senate. Michelle Lyons, who represents the North End, is now wondering maybe taking on State Rep. Jack Hennessy isn’t a great idea.

What gives? The city budget, primarily. A tax increase of some kind is inevitable, with job cuts proposed by Mayor Bill Finch to library and healthcare workers taking center stage. Tough to run for higher office right after voting for a tax increase during a rotten economy.

Still, council members can come out looking okay if they successfully restore the cuts that imperil workers.

One Democratic primary that seems almost certain involves former council member Auden Grogins’ challenge of State Rep. Robert Keeley. The Blonde Banshee, who has locked up most of her fundraising to qualify for dough she’ll receive participating in the state’s public financing system, shows no signs of wavering. Keeley will not be easy to take out. The longest serving legislator in Bridgeport’s history will probably play Santa Claus in the next few months perched as co-chairman of the bonding committee that doles out loot for special projects.

The seat that Keeley occupies features a tight configuration of the West Side, Black Rock and small piece of the West End. Voting precincts are Central, Black Rock and Longfellow. Two of the city’s most intriguing political personalities will go at it: Grogins, a tall fury of fire against Keeley, a giant leprechaun verbal gunslinger. Nothing boring about them.

Keeley’s political obit has been penned in so many times it’s like his name is made with disappearing ink. He just keeps on coming back.

Grogins is best known in her home neighborhood Black Rock. But Keeley is best known in Central, the largest piece of the district. Both are trying to secure the endorsement of delegates to the nominating convention next month. Either way, an August primary looms. I’m still holding out for a mud-wrestling match at Ellsworth Field.

Two other potential primaries for state representative to watch include the 130 State Assembly seat occupied by Felipe Reinoso who announced the other day he will not seek reelection, throwing the race wide open.

And over on the East Side former legislator Lydia Martinez is taking a close look at challenging Andres Ayala who defeated her in a primary two years ago.

This oughta be fun.

Press release from the Secretary of the State

Secretary of the State Initiates Investigation of Local Voter Registration Rolls
Bysiewicz Takes Action to Ensure Accuracy of Local Voter Lists
HARTFORD:  Secretary of the State Susan Bysiewicz has initiated an investigation by the State Elections Enforcement Commission to determine whether locally elected Registrars of Voters and Town Clerks failed to properly remove deceased voters from voter rolls. Secretary Bysiewicz has also issued a Declaratory Ruling in accordance with section 9-3 of the Connecticut General Statutes ordering all city and town clerks to immediately provide their local registrars with death notices dating back to the last time such notice was disseminated.

“The integrity of the voting process is paramount here in Connecticut,” said Bysiewicz. “That is why I am urging the State Elections Enforcement Commission to conduct a full investigation to determine if locally elected Registrars of Voters and Town Clerks failed to properly remove deceased voters from voter rolls. I want to thank the University of Connecticut for bringing to light these discrepancies and I am pleased their investigation found no evidence of voter fraud.”

Under state statute 7-42, town clerks, on a monthly basis, are required to provide registrars of voters with updated notices of death for all citizens over the age of 17. The Secretary Bysiewicz has secured a commitment from the state Department of Public Health to request their Consolidated Master Death File dating back to 1974 in order to match that file with the state’s centralized voter registration database. The results of that comparison will be forwarded to local registrars of voters to assist in the removal of deceased voters and to the State Election Enforcement Commission to assist in their investigation.

“Sloppy lists only compound human error,” said Bysiewicz. “Our voter rolls are only as good as the lists produced at the local level. That is why I am stepping in and working with both the Department of Public Health and the State Elections Enforcement Division to ensure we greatly reduce any chance of voter fraud come Election Day.”

In her letter to Jeffrey Garfield, Director of the State election enforcement commission, Bysiewicz wrote “I have contacted Commissioner Robert Galvin of the Department of Public Health and he has committed to assisting our office in matching the vital statistics registry with our centralized voter registration database to determine how many deceased persons remain on lists statewide. As we approach the national election in November, it is critical that your office expedite this investigation and take enforcement and corrective action to ensure that voter lists are accurate and up-to-date.”

Pursuant to the General Statutes the registers of voters are required annually conduct a canvass of the voter rolls. This canvass is used to identify individuals who should no longer be on the official list because they have moved out of town, had their voting rights revoked, or died.

Police recruits’ press release from Finch

New Bridgeport Police Recruits Begin Police Academy

Mayor Bill Finch (D-Bridgeport) and Bridgeport Police Chief Bryan Norwood today announced that a group of 20 new recruits began the Bridgeport Police Academy today. The 20 new Bridgeport officers will join 10 other recruits from surrounding municipalities during their 24 weeks of training. Bridgeport’s Police Academy has become recognized as the premier training program in Southern Connecticut, Mayor Finch said, and some other cities and towns have asked that their smaller recruiting classes be trained at Bridgeport’s Academy.

After approximately seven years of no new recruits in the department, the City of Bridgeport will have graduated two new police classes over an 18 month period, creating more than 50 new police officers to walk the beat in Bridgeport and help make the community safer. According to Chief Norwood, the arrival of new police officers on the force is particularly important in lowering the rising costs of overtime the department has recently seen.

“With the possibility of 74 officers reaching retirement this summer, it is important that we begin to train new officers so that our community is well protected in the future,” said Mayor Finch . “I have pledged to make Bridgeport the greenest, cleanest, safest city, and this is an example of how we are working hard to increase the safety of Bridgeport’s residents and visitors.”

Upon graduation, the new recruits will join Chief Norwood’s Community Policing Program.

“For the past two weeks, as part of the City’s community policing effort, officers have been walking their details in the streets, positively affecting the communities they serve and interacting with the individuals they protect,” said Chief Norwood.

The most interesting aspect of this program is that these officers walk from lineup directly to the bus terminal in downtown Bridgeport and take the bus to their assignments as opposed to driving and parking their squad cars.

“The sight of police officers riding buses to their assignments has been very well received in the community,” said Mayor Finch. “People feel that the officers are more accessible and at the same time are making mass transit safer.”



  1. Lennie I have to tell you this is not one of your better efforts. Grogins is one of the most clueless people I have ever met. I can’t see her beating Keeley.
    Please there has to be someone better than Martinez to take on that dismal failure Ayala who thinks he is king of the Puerto Ricans.
    The race for Reinoso’s seat should be interesting. Is Robles going to push his stepson for this spot also? It seems like his stepson is the only other living person in that district. First it’s a greeter’s job at city hall; then it’s the city council seat. Then it’s a new job with the city Special projects Coordinator with a hefty raise. The people on his TC are DUMB and he leads them around by the nose. Time will tell. In any of these cases I dont see Bridgeport getting better representation.

  2. I’m going on a short vacation. While I’m away somebody please come up with 1 or 2 good reasons to knock out a long time incumbent, who chairs a an important committee, in favor of someone who could not even hold on her BOE ed seat in the last dem primary.



    [simulated drum roll]


    [simulated drum roll]

    After careful consideration and due diligence I announce the PHILISTINE OF THE WEEK.

    It is I.

    I really had no business getting angry with Grimaldi over the fact that he is being compensated by the DiNardos. I was also upset because I thought he was getting too cozy with Testa. But, alas, I discounted the fact that Len is a journalist. It is important for him to have access to the newsmakers no matter how nefarious they may be. Thus far I have found no evidence of bias. Good decision-making and choices are not possible unless both sides are fully considered. Len has consistently provided broad-spectrum reporting of happenings and non-happenings in our city. Regardless of his financial ties with the DiNardos nor his association with Testa, I believe that he will tell it like it is. Had I give more thought, I would not have published my hissy fit.

    I apologize to those who support my “insightful” postings.
    And to those who don’t…thank you for flying Alitalia.

  4. Yahooy, welcome back. I also had the same thoughts as you. I was completely flabbergasted and then disgusted that Len was making money from the DiNardos. But it all makes sense now to me. Anyone that he is bashing on this blog, has not hired him. It’s simply a tool to get work, and hey, what a smart tool!

    For example, due to the fact the Ms. Grogins has been treated so well and is receiving so much attention, I will take a wild guess that she too, is paying our good “journalistic” friend Len.

    Yahooy, thanks for inspiring a former non-poster to get active on this blog!

  5. Hi Rizzo:

    Clarification. I’m not a hired gun for Auden Grogins. I like Auden. And I like Keeley too. I’ve known Keeley for 100 years. Believe it or not, I like Finch too. I like Chris Caruso. But, again, I write from the perspective of a strategist, so I freely, accurate or not, make strategic suggestions to pols on this blog. I’m not always right. But if you look at my track record for providing accurate information here, dare I say, it’s pretty good. Better than the CT Post.

    But I can assure, just because I write something nice about someone does not mean they’re paying me or I’m cozying up for a payment. Many things I can gurantee you including, I will never be on the city payroll. I’m not going back there no more! The electorate is safe! Plus I enjoy my daily conversations with you too much. Thanks. And Yahooy, you’re welcome to knight me Philstine of the Week anytime you feel I’m deserving.

  6. O the faint of heart… There’s a case to be made that the state is responsible for the sad state of the city budget; Bridgeport has always been shortchanged when it comes to state aid. Not saying that this argument carries the day, especially when things are bungled quite this badly. But any ambitious Council member must know it’s never easy to knock off an incumbent, even with Mario’s blessing.

  7. Terrific. I always new that there was a central core of committed voters in the City of Bridgeport that got out and voted no matter what. Typically they are democrats. Even when they are dead, they still get to the polls. You got to admire that type of civic pride.

  8. yahooy….you appointed me Philistine of the week, at least let me finish out a few more days before you push me out of the picture and snag the title for yourself. Credit where its due for coming back on the blog and admitting to a hissy fit. I heard that about the dead voting by absentee years ago before they got a handle on it. Think I can register my pets?

  9. I have no idea how somebody could back Keeley vs. Auden Grogins. John from Black Rock and Wondering obviously don’t really know Auden. I believe the better question is why does Keeley deserve to stay in office? “A long time incumbent who chairs an important committee” isn’t exactly a reason to keep the same person in power. What progressive things has he done on the Downtown Special Services District? Hmmmm. Now, more than ever, the City of Bridgeport and it’s residents are entitled to the best representation possible. Someone who can command respect through thought-provoking questions, an ability to fully grasp the gravity of the decisions that need to be made. Auden has always impressed me with her drive and desire. She doesn’t need to waste taxpayer dollars sending out postcards on the closed firehouse after the “manure was already out of the horse”.

  10. Bob I dont have a dog in the up coming primary and I am really not a big Keeley fan but Grogins???
    If you want to talk about wasting money her tenure on the board of education is a prime example of wasting money. Not once did she ever publicly question the BOE budget request. The drop out rate under her tenure increased.
    When she volunteered to defend those 2 home invaders in their death penalty case that was it for me. .
    She has never worked for the party except for her own elections. i can tell you this she is not the sharpest knife in the draw law degree or no law degree. everyone knows her goal is to be a judge (god forbid). this is nothing more than an effort to get to Hartford in order to make the right connections needed to be a judge.
    Keeley is not the best but has seniority and a leadership role on the money committees that is worth something.
    They both are a good example of the poor quality of candidates we are faced with for all elective offices.

  11. Auden Grogins knows nothing about state politics or state issues. She has very bad judgment and I am not sure how she passed the bar exam. I am not sure Keeley is the best either, but weighing his seniority on the committees he sits on (bonding and finance) and the fact that he gets along with the leadership, the scales are tipped in his favor. Auden has done nothing but beg those in power for favors. What has she accomplished that shows she would be able to be effective in Hartford?

  12. BobBlackRock – As I’m on vacation, I’m just going to suggest you read the above two posts one more time and then think about reassessing your position with regard to Grogins.

  13. Keeley is a bum par excellence. Grogins is not intelligent, a political hack, self serving, self interested and inept. Under no circumstances should she be permitted to hold public office.


  14. Auden has nothing to offer. Keely at least has experience and knows people in Hartford. She was useless on the BOE, who would even want her for a state rep?

  15. It is extremely interesting how nobody can really find Keeley has having accomplished anything of substance. Words that fellow bloggers have used for Keeley include: mediocre, “not the best”, a “bum par excellence”. Not exactly ringing endorsements for somebody that has been in Hartford so long. Add the rather “non-existant” accomplishments he has made on the Downtown Special Services District and I am not sure that, during these trying time, that is the guy that I want in Hartford. I am sure that if people here feels as if he is mediocre, the people in Hartford don’t rate him much better. Auden Grogins is a lawyer. She was excellent for Black Rock in the City Council and, I believe, that she tried as hard as possible on the BOE. Doing something like that, on a voluntary basis, is an investment in community. I know that others will also agree that, somebody with that drive, should be given an opportunity to take over the position of someone described with such words as a “bum par excellence”.


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