State legislative races are heating up. Time to take inventory of Democratic primaries just two months away. Primaries are different animals than general elections. Turnout is small, perhaps just 10 or 15 percent, with a premium on retail campaigning: identify your friends and drag them, pull them (bribe them) to the polls.
The heavily Latino 130th Assembly District shapes up as a beauty because of the old, new and dramatic-idea dynamics of the candidates.
Endorsed Democrat Ezequiel Santiago, a member of the City Council, is the favorite. His papi Americo Santiago knows and served the district. He has the support of district honcho Mitch Robles and many of the usual suspects that delivered those voting areas (South End, West End) for Bill Finch in his hotly contested primary win over State Rep. Chris Caruso last September. Santiago’s being challenged by wily Chico Rivera, a political player for decades, who also knows the district as well as anyone, and Sly Salcedo whose accomplished naval background and unconventional social ideas add zest to the electoral landscape. Sly fought the good fight in the government’s war on drugs. He says it’s a complete failure, doesn’t work, drains the economy and should be turned inside out.
Auden Grogins, the blonde banshee from Black Rock, is taking on incumbent State Rep. Bob Keeley, the longest serving legislator in Bridgeport’s history. This one is just plain fun because of the quirky personalities of the combatants. Keeley says he delivers for his district, Grogins says baloney, after 25 years what has he done? Rapid Robert travels to the beat of his own drum with an odd sense of humor, Grogins served 10 years on the City Council and four on the Board of Education before she was defeated in the September primary. Despite the loss citywide she was the top vote getter at Black Rock School, a key base of support to wage a challenge. The largest chunk of the district, however, votes at Central, Keeley’s backyard.
Maverick State Rep. Chris Caruso, who twice came within a whisker of claiming the mayoralty, faces a contest from City Councilman Carlos Silva. Silva’s chances are as steep as Caruso’s girth. Caruso is popular in his legislative district, with a long history of blowing out challengers, including Finch, on his home turf. Caruso’s constituents may say that he’s a pain in the ass, but he’s our pain in the ass and that’s just the way we like it.
Politics on the East Side of Bridgeport are just plain loco. You just don’t ever know what will happen one day to the next. Former City Council President Andres Ayala, the incumbent state representative, is trying to hold onto the seat that was occupied by his challenger Lydia Martinez. Ayala came up on the short end of a fight for control of the district in the March Democratic Town Committee primary.
In the East End incumbent State Rep. Don Clemons faces a fight from gregarious Bill Stewart, who emerged as a player during the Joe Ganim years. Judge of Probate Paul Ganim, Joe’s brother, has been poking around for party support in anticipation of running for mayor in 2011. Paul Ganim has run citywide three times and Clemons’ legislative district is an area where the Ganim name still has appeal.
Democratic Registrar of Voters Sandy Ayala’s staff is reviewing the petition sheets of Marilyn Moore, whose trying to qualify for a primary against Democrat-endorsed Anthony Musto, Trumbull’s town treasurer, for the state senate seat occupied by Republican Rob Russo. They’re also reviewing petition sheets of Lee Whitnum, seeking to challenge Jim Himes, endorsed by Democrats to challenge Congressman Chris Shays. Whitnum has dropped off petition sheets to several shoreline communities of the congressional district. Roughly 50 percent of her signatures in Bridgeport have been invalidated, so stay tuned.
Shays Announces Moolah For Bridgeport,
See Shays Release Below:
Washington, D.C. – The City of Bridgeport will receive $500,000 in a supplemental Brownfields grant from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for community-wide cleanup of hazardous materials, Congressman Christopher Shays and Mayor Bill Finch announced Thursday.
“The Brownfields Program is one of the smartest and most important tools our urban areas have for revitalization. It helps put property and people back to work by spurring economic development and generating property tax revenue from previously idle sites,” Shays explained.
“The $500,000 the City of Bridgeport will receive will help assess and clean up contaminated sites throughout the community, making these areas safer for community residents,” Shays continued. “This funding, combined with the $200,000 grant Bridgeport received in April is great news for Bridgeport and I am grateful for this assistance.”
“The City of Bridgeport contains many brownfields, which can cause health concerns, perpetuate blight in the surrounding community and deprive our city of critical funds in the form of property taxes,” said Mayor Finch. “One of my administration’s top priorities is to remediate and revitalize these vacant properties. This funding is very important to our efforts to clean up our city and reduce property taxes for our residents. I thank Congressman Shays for his continued support of the Brownfields program, as well as our City’s Central Grants Office for securing these funds.”
The Brownfields Program empowers states, communities and other stakeholders in economic development to work together to prevent, assess, clean, and reuse Brownfields. Shays helped establish the Brownfields program in 1995, when he and former Congressman Jim Maloney introduced the Brownfield Economic Revitalization Act, to provide financial assistance to communities for the clean up of contaminated industrial sites to return them to productive use. The bill subsequently became law.