My Favorite Sport, Plus: Brownfield Bucks, And Tim Russert

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.



  1. Thanks goes to Chris Shays for the $500,000 grant to clean up Brownfields. – Now, which one should we start on first?
    If only we had the $10,000,000 a day we have been sending to Israel for the past 60 years, even if it’s for one month only, just think how much of Bridgeport we could clean up. Then maybe we too could invite the world to Bridgeport to see how we’ve rebuilt the City.

  2. Ten Million dollars a day to Israel ??
    Spend that money in the U.S. I have heard Iraq and soon to be Iran are wars for Israel anyway.
    Shays gets us five hundred thousand – big deal. I hope he stays in Iraq on his next trip, or should I say commute.
    10 million a day and American’s go hungry in some places.
    Something is wrong.

  3. Gee, with all the largesse politicians spread around each election time, perhaps we should have an election every year and really let them bring home the bacon.

  4. In case any of you are wondering why we haven’t heard from “Joel” yet today. He’s asleep. The jerk stays up all night long polluting the blog with his vitriol. The hell with what ever he’s running for…..let’s make the putz Governor.

  5. I would like to note Mayor Moonbeam is almost as generous as Iraq Chris when he gave Slick Sal
    $ 400,000.00 for his “brownfield” in the South End.
    Home groan generosity is such a nice touch, makes one proud to be in Bridgeport.

  6. Yahooy: You never will. Nor will you see the $10,000,000+ he owes the City. Your mill rate went up 3+ points just because he hasn’t come across with what he owes.

  7. Posted earlier, but just as relevant here:

    Consider this example in contrasts.

    A corporate CEO heads a chronically under-performing, poorly positioned business delivering competitively inferior products at a high cost to its customers.

    CEO fails to develop a strategy supporting a vision that will position the company for future profitable growth. CEO surrounds himself with sycophants…similarly challenged in terms of vision, creativity, leadership skills and general intellectual breadth/depth.

    CEO’S Board of Directors doesn’t like what it sees. Considers two options for immediate action: shit-can or shore him up with outside talent. Decision made within a month. Action plan and “new” leadership in place to ensure the business succeeds.

    A situation similar, but also very different, to the dilemma faced by Bridgeport (and other municipalities) in choosing the right leaders. The process of politics (and elections) complicates the issue of getting the best people INTO the key jobs. It also complicates the issue of getting them OUT, when they fail to perform.

    The implications are clear. If we want talented, principled and dedicated people running the city, the state or the nation, WE have to work harder to put them in office. The standards are ours to set.

  8. What do you think Himes, the millionaire from Greenwich, is going to do for Bridgeport? At least Shays lives in Bridgeport, pays taxes here. Himes will be on his yacht.

  9. For those of you who are critical of Chris Shays’ 21 trips to Iraq, maybe you should consider what his agenda may have included. Now, I don’t suggest that he is totally responsible for the following, but he sure has been involved in matters other than war which will benefit not only us but the world. For example:

    Did you know that 47 countries’ have
    reestablished their embassies in Iraq ?

    Did you know that the Iraqi government
    currently employs 1.2 million Iraqi people?

    Did you know
    that 3100 schools have been renovated,
    364 schools are under rehabilitation,
    263 new schools are now under construction;
    and 38 new schools have been completed in Iraq ?

    Did you know
    that Iraq ‘s higher educational structure consists
    of 20 Universities, 46 Institutes or colleges and 4 research centers,
    all currently operating?

    Did you know
    that 25 Iraq students departed for the United States in
    January 2005 for the re-established Fulbright program?

    Did you know
    that the Iraqi Navy is operational?
    They have 5 – 100-foot patrol craft,
    34 smaller vessels and a naval infantry regiment.

    Did you know
    that Iraq ‘ s Air Force consists of three operational squadrons,
    Which includes 9 reconnaissance and 3 US C-130 transport aircraft
    (under Iraqi operational control) which operate day and night,
    and will soon add 16 UH-1 helicopters and 4 Bell Jet Rangers?

    Did you know
    that Iraq has a counter-terrorist unit and a Commando Battalion?

    Did you know
    that the Iraqi Police Service has over 55,000
    fully trained and equipped police officers?

    Did you know
    that there are 5 Police Academies in Iraq
    that produce over 3500 new officers every 8 weeks?

    Did you know
    there are more than 1100 building projects going on in Iraq ?
    They include 364 schools, 67 public clinics, 15 hospitals,
    83 railroad stations, 22 oil facilities, 93 water facilities
    and 69 electrical facilities.

    Did you know
    that 96% of Iraqi children under the age of 5
    have received the first 2 series of polio vaccinations?

    Did you know
    that 4.3 million Iraqi children were enrolled in primary school by mid October?

    Did you know
    that there are 1,192,000 cell phone subscribers in Iraq
    and phone use has gone up 158%?

    Did you know
    that Iraq has an independent media that consists of
    75 radio stations, 180 newspapers and 10 television stations?

    Did you know
    that the Baghdad Stock Exchange opened in June of 2004?

    Did you know
    that 2 candidates in the Iraqi presidential election had a
    televised debate recently?

  10. Yahooy
    You forgot to mention that there is universal free medical care in Iraq
    The Baghdad stock exchange – golly gee I’m impressed.
    I’ll say it again, I have heard Shays has some kind of condo or apartment project there and has to go there so often to collect the rents.
    Building projects in Iraq – out of sight. Can we send them Kuchma and our crack developers from Bpt.
    Iraq has a planes and an airport yaya. Do we in Bpt. still have an airport?
    Cell Phones – I hear you man and am impressed.
    The Iraq goverment employs people. We can find Ramos a job there – please!
    This list goes on.
    Why don’t all of us from Bridgeport move there, it sounds like a better place than here.
    Moonbeam can lead us out of this desert of taxes, poor services and goverment of Bpt. scams.

  11. Black Rockin

    It’s more than just a war in Iraq. It’s important to the whole world that a stable middle east be established and it won’t happen by just blowing their heads off. Building a solid infrastructure where the populace can normalize and contribute to their own and the global economy is a
    vital objective there that we hear little about.

    I have talked to Shays many times about what he is doing there. It’s not just him. Countless legislators from both sides of the table are there making good things happen for us and the world.

    I’m proud of what Shays has accomplished.

    For you to demean these efforts is just simple ignorance.

  12. Yahooy
    I am delighted we have created a stable middle east and thank you for letting me know, but you know I am “simply ignorant”. Happly I have not compounded it, nor refined it as some have.
    By the way screw the global economy, leave that to be worked out by the Bagdad stock exchange.
    Think locally.

  13. Okay what’s the big deal, who cares if Shays got $500,000 for Bpt, it’s too little too late. Jim Himes is gonna smoke him in November in Bpt. Chris Shays is going to even lose his home precinct of Black Rock school. Like Len said, Auden will win Black Rock and Keeley will win central easy … so the X factor will be Longfellow school and I think Keeley will lose there big.

  14. Two observations:
    (1) if sleazy sal was as noble as his commercial tries to make him, there would be no deficit and b’port would be able to weather the economic storm. All of you so-called politicians and do-gooders for bpt should be ashamed for letting him get away with it … if you had any morals!

    (2) Chris Shays is a damn good man and his loss to the district could be b’port’s gain when he unseats Finch!

  15. donj,
    I don’t know if it’s the X factor or the maxfactor. In the hotly contested mayoral primary, Caruso lost Longfellow by about 80 votes. Nobody votes at Longfellow unless they are getting paid. Watch out for Rose Huan in that district. She’s the one who got thrown out of Longfellow for coaching. Then was allowed to go back and be an interpreter.

    She’s getting laid and paid on city time going to seniors and soliciting their vote for Auden and Bill Stewart. Talk about a political whore.

    Another factor is how much will the potential Himes/Whitnum/Musto/Moore primaries have for endorsed candidates bringing out more votes in an August primary. John Stafstrom already has his AB filled out as he will be summering and simmering on the Cape.

    Is it true Carlos or Carlose “Not So” Silva “Thin” has dropped out of the primary against Caruso?
    Guess Carlos “The Endorser” couldn’t raise any money.

    Shays is doing his election year suck-up with Brown Fields money. Maybe it should be called Brown Nose money.

    Moonbeam is probably going to proclaim Himes belongs to a cult and applaud Shays as a Christian “Rocket” Scientist. Larry Locke’s next documentary, after Saddam And Gomorrah, starring McCain, Lieberman and Shays, is going to feature Finch as “The Cultist.”

    New porn movie to be premiered about Bridgeport Politics. Screening or screaming of Sodom and Gone or Rhea to chronicle taxpayers legend of having it stuck up their ass while Zero Finch fiddles around and about.

  16. Summer Wind: You have it right. What does Himes care about Bridgeport. He’s living so well and comfortably in Greenwich with all his millions and a mil rate of less than 10. I’ll take Shays any day. So, he’s made some mistakes (Iraq and Medicare D). We all do. That’s why there are erasers at the end of lead pencils. There isn’t anyone in Washington trying harder to make a difference.

  17. Interesting OP-ED in yesterday’s Hartford Courant titled “A Corrosive Quality of Life … Hartford’s Problem: Tolerance of Bad Behavior” by Vincent Turley. One need only to substitute Bridgeport for Hartford in the piece. Some excerpts: “But these periodic (crime) sprees mask the true problem in Hartford, and it is not serious crime. It is the tolerance of elected officials for the inappropriate behaviors that occur daily throughout the city. It is this tolerance that has infected Hartford and is choking the city. The behaviors are well known. It is blaring music, or a person urinating in public. Maybe it’s the car stopped in the middle of the road, blocking traffic so the occupants can talk to friends. Perhaps it is the trash thoughtlessly discarded on thoroughfares and sidewalks. People act this way only because they are allowed to do so.”

    With the onset of warm weather I am waiting for the onslaught of feral youth speeding through the streets on pocket bikes, mini bikes, off-road ATV’s, etc., with no regard for their or anyone else’s safety or peace. God forbid one of these little creeps should suffer injury or death due to their own irresponsible and insolent behavior, it’s the “Man’s” fault or whoever is their unsuspecting victim now tagged as the assailant.

    As long as we allow this behavior to continue, Bridgeport will not become the great city it can be. Developers and visitors will turn away, unwilling to invest their time, energy or capital.

  18. Any Shays supporters on here note you are only 8% of voters in Bpt because republicans don’t even make up 10% of all voters in Bpt so if you guys really think Shays will do good in Bpt on election day you are dreamin’ … he won’t even get 25% of the vote he would be lucky if he even gets 20% of the vote in Bpt. With Obama on the ballot it’s going to equal big wins for Himes in Bridgeport, Stamford and Norwalk.

  19. Iraq: Before and After
    30% of Iraqi children went to school. Before the war, attendance was nearly 100%. A survey of children in Baghdad found that 47% had recently experienced a major traumatic event; 14% had posttraumatic stress disorder. An American psychiatrist says Iraqis are suffering “epidemic levels of ptsd.” 40% of Iraqi professionals have fled, including 1/3 of all doctors. 2,000 doctors have been murdered since 2003. The number of Iraqis in jail or prison is up 30% since the fall of Saddam Hussein. The president of the Iraqi National Council of Women does not go out without bodyguards. “I started with 6, then I increased to 12, and then to 20 and then 30.” One of the 66 women in the Iraqi Parliament told the UK Observer, “This is the worst time ever in Iraqi women’s lives. In the name of religion and sectarian conflict they are being kidnapped and killed and raped.”

  20. March 10, 2008 Issue
    Copyright © 2008 The American Conservative

    Oil for War

    After invading one of the most petroleum-rich countries on earth, the U.S. military is running on empty.

    by Robert Bryce

    (to read the whole article go to www

    “After the invasion, when inspectors failed to find any weapons of mass destruction, Bush and his supporters changed their story, claiming that the U.S. had invaded Iraq to spread democracy in the Middle East. When democracy failed to materialize, the justification for the invasion turned to oil. During an October 2006 press conference, Bush declared that the U.S. could not “tolerate a new terrorist state in the heart of the Middle East with large oil reserves that could be used to fund its radical ambitions or used to inflict economic damage on the West.”

    The U.S. military and the new Baghdad government have failed, however, to secure Iraq’s tattered oil sector. As A.F. Alhajji, energy economist and professor at Ohio Northern University, has said, “whoever controls Iraq’s oil, controls Iraq.” For the last five years, it’s never been exactly clear who controls Iraq’s oil. That said, the country’s leading industry is slowly increasing output. In January, daily production hit 2.4 million barrels per day, the highest level since the U.S. invasion.

    But America’s presence in Iraq isn’t making use of the local riches. Indeed, little, if any, Iraqi oil is being used by the American military. Instead, the bulk of the fuel needed by the U.S. military is being trucked in from the sprawling Mina Abdulla refinery complex, which lies a few dozen kilometers south of Kuwait City. In 2006 alone, the Defense Energy Support Center purchased $909.3 million in motor fuel from the state-owned Kuwait Petroleum Corporation. In addition to the Kuwaiti fuel, the U.S. military is trucking in fuel from Turkey. But some of that Turkish fuel actually originates in refineries as far away as Greece.

    In 2007 alone, the U.S. military in Iraq burned more than 1.1 billion gallons of fuel. (American Armed Forces generally use a blend of jet fuel known as JP-8 to propel both aircraft and automobiles.) About 5,500 tanker trucks are involved in the Iraqi fuel-hauling effort. That fleet of trucks is enormously costly. In November 2006, a study produced by the U.S. Military Academy estimated that delivering one gallon of fuel to U.S. soldiers in Iraq cost American taxpayers $42—and that didn’t include the cost of the fuel itself. At that rate, each U.S. soldier in Iraq is costing $840 per day in fuel delivery costs, and the U.S. is spending $923 million per week on fuel-related logistics in order to keep 157,000 G.I.s in Iraq. Given that the Iraq War is now costing about $2.5 billion per week, petroleum costs alone currently account for about one-third of all U.S. military expenditure in Iraq.”

    This article was published by a conservative.

  21. The news world will never be the same without him. He was my political life-line and journalist hero. I always wanted to meet him. This is a very sad day.

  22. Yes, Lennie, we will all miss Tim Russert. Recently, I was on a cruise and the ship’s library had his autobiography which I read. He was truly a family man who loved his father more than anything in the world and depended upon him for his opinion even in his work as a jounalist. I feel like I have known the man intimately and I’m truly saddened by his passing.

  23. Many words have been used to describe Tim Russert… probably none more accurate than these: “He was someone you always trusted to be fair.” What more could we ask of any journalist. Today is a sad day indeed.


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