Non-Voters Are Brain Dead–What Does Finch Gain By Debating?

zombie senator
Registered voters who don't show up suffer from this.

The Connecticut Post on Sunday published a package of stories (Inside the Machine) examining Mayor Bill Finch’s primary win over Mary-Jane Foster: the warchest, the role of the party apparatus, hundreds of “consultants” hired to churn out the vote, the bulging absentee ballot operation led by Democratic Town Chair Mario Testa and the queen of ABs City Councilwoman Lydia Martinez.

It appears pols involved in Mario’s and Lydia’s mighty primary absentee ballot operation have collapsed from exhaustion. Just a handful of voters have cast a ballot via AB for the November general election while nearly 900 did for the primary. The aftermath of the primary is still more engaging than the general election less than three weeks away. Some OIB posters are questioning the mayor’s pullout of debates, one as a result of  a scheduled city visit from Connecticut Department of  Energy and Environmental Protection Commissioner Dan Esty. If you want to look at pure pragmatic campaign politics, what does the mayor gain by attending debates against opponents Republican Rick Torres and petitioning candidate Jeff Kohut, both of whom are so relatively unknown and underfunded? What’s the point?

But Lennie, Finch has an obligation to debate! Really? Much of the city electorate are brain dead (those who do not vote ). It’s incredible how a majority of registered voters in the city have no clue how local government impacts their lives from police and fire, to development and education, to garbage pickup and parks, to spending and taxes, and a variety of other services. No clue.

Now if Finch had a competitive general election, as he had in the primary, it’s a different story. He’d be debating. Instead he can be mayor and act like there’s no election.

Rick Torres, who waged a competitive battle as the GOP mayoral candidate in 2003, has the ability to turn up the rhetoric, make some noise, but there’s been very little rhetoric from Rick and perhaps that’s by design? It’s tough when you don’t have money. When you’re outgunned financially and out-manned you must make noise, shake things up.

Mary-Jane Foster received nearly 4000 votes. Don’t assume a good chunk of those Democratic votes will go to Torres or Kohut. In 2007, Finch defeated Chris Caruso by 270 votes in a tough primary battle. Caruso challenged the results in court and was turned back. Caruso received 4200 votes in the primary. What happened in the general election? This:

Finch, 9604
Mike Garrett, Republican, 1580
Keith Rodgerson, Bridgeport First Party, 502
James Morton, petitioning candidate, 438
Milton Johnson, petitioning candidate, 378
Ralph Cennamo, Park City Party, 42

In the 2007 general election Finch built up large margins even in the precincts in which Caruso ran strongest in the primary. The citywide turnout was 23 percent. What’s the over/under for the general election turnout next month hitting 20 percent?

If opponents are not talking to voters, the voters will not hear them, especially because the majority of Bridgeport registered voters are brain dead.

Torres debate
Republican mayoral candidate Rick Torres, standing, debates petitioning candidate Jeff Kohut Thursday night in the North End. Torres posted this image on his Facebook page.

CT Post reporter Keila Torres Ocasio’s take on the mayoral debate Thursday night without Finch:

While Mayor Bill Finch watched the body benders at the Ringling Brothers & Barnum and Bailey Circus, his mayoral challengers Republican Rick Torres and Independent Jeff Kohut battled it out Thursday in the first of two scheduled mayoral debates.



  1. Lennie–If this article is damning enough against Finch and The Machine could Foster’s supporters and unaffiliated voters, with Foster agreeing, tip the scales for a stealth write-in campaign for Mary-Jane?

    Do the Write Thing!
    Write In Mary-Jane!!
    WRITE … ON!!!

    1. FtM, I believe if Mary-Jane Foster had the money and the fire in her belly as the saying goes and didn’t listen to naysayers she could make history with the write-in ballot campaign. There would have to be an awful lot of money spent to educate the “Brain Dead” Bridgeport voters. But I believe she may have reigned supreme in November. There will not be another opportunity for anyone else to run against Finch for 8-12 years. Within the next four years, Steelepointe will be on its way and Seaview avenue will have many bidders. Perception of the city will change with Steeleponte under way and then of course the proposed development in the South End by UB will most likely begin also. At that point what type of money could any other campaign raise and why would anyone want change? The time is now or never. Can it be done? Well, Mayor Jarjura did it in Waterbury. It took a marketing strategy that obviously worked. But it took a determined individual at the helm to make it a reality. I believe MJF is that individual. The problem is the first step is to register with the State. The deadline is in a few days. The election is only a few weeks away. THINK FAST!!! It is now or never. Really!

  2. Mary-Jane Foster
    She will put the lead back into Bridgeport’s pencil!

    Get the Lead Out and Vote for Foster!!

    Erase Finch!!

    All you Lager Heads Go Out and Pull a Foster Draft … Movement!!!

  3. “Much of the city electorate are brain dead (those who do not vote).”
    Lennie, I know and have met plenty of city electors (who do vote), but show the classic signs of being “brain dead.” Then there are those (donj for example) who seem to be in and out of a political comatose state. Finally, there are the gullorant ones.

  4. A write-in campaign for MJ? What are the chances? Have the non-voters realized what their collective apathy has done to this city? If given a second chance, will they come out and vote? What about the independents and Republicans? Will they vote for MJ or the other candidates? What about all the supposed followers of John Gomes? Can he motivate them to come out this time? Can MJ stomach another election?

    1. John Gomes would be a better write-in candidate than Foster. It would be interesting to see the numbers between Finch and Gomes in the mayoral race.

    2. city hall smoker // Oct 21, 2011 at 7:53 am
      To your posting

      Keeping suppressed vote among Democrats is part of the voting history in Bridgeport as we have all come to understand, but we don’t yet know if an invigorated Republican and unaffiliated voter turnout would solve the problem through a write-in campaign.
      What I am sure about is every opportunity should be taken to end the current situation.
      What we should do is get everyone to send in the form to the CT Sec of State’s office so every write-in is a vote that doesn’t go to Finch and the vote gets counted. This is a way to make democracy work in Bridgeport.
      What’s your thinking about this?

  5. While I though Mr. Auerbach more than a bit hyperbolic during the primary, I have really come to appreciate his demeanor and commentary afterwards.

    I particularly agree with his quote today … “Within the next four years, Steelepointe will be on its way and Seaview avenue will have many bidders. Perception of the city will change with Steeleponte under way and then of course the proposed development in the South End by UB will most likely begin also.”

    That was why I supported Finch. However between then and now, Mayor Finch would be very wise to clean up his department heads, particularly Labor, Legal and Purchasing. They need to be run in a businesslike fashion with minimal consideration to political pandering.

    He would not lose any voters but earn the respect of the disillusioned who so populate this blog. That, coupled with future development would firmly cement him as one of our better mayors.

    To accomplish this, he needs a very strong businessman/hatchetman.

    1. None of this will transpire … Adam Wood runs Bridgeport, Mario Testa runs the DTC … a large percentage of the DTC are employees of Bridgeport, and vote Democratic as they rely upon this to keep their jobs.
      Steelpointe is and has been for 20 years dead in the water. Finch is a direct reason for no development on the waterfront. Bridgeport is a laughing stock of Connecticut and a dumping ground for low-income housing, criminals, high property taxes, low city services, cronyism, nepotism and corruption.

  6. FBD,
    “He would not lose any voters but earn the respect of the disillusioned who so populate this blog. That, coupled with future development would firmly cement him as one of our better mayors.”

    You are a fair-minded and obviously intelligent individual. I appreciate that, and you. But it would take Mr. Finch curing cancer and naming the cure “Bill Finch” for him to garner the respect of most of those who populate this blog.

        1. Please don’t count on me to be a regular, unlike some of you this is not my daily dalliance. Negativity is not my forte, there really is life outside of posting incessantly on here.

          1. Au contraire, chocolatier. You have just attempted to dress up the negativity and condescension with words like “dalliance” and “forte.” But we do love having you here! All are welcome. My suggestion though, is if you don’t want to be mistaken for an OIB blogger, then don’t blog on OIB.

          2. There may be a breath of fresh air if Miss Dark Chocolate gives the rest of the followers a break from her presence. One of the few times I will not miss chocolate.

  7. MJF will not be running as a write-in candidate. In a few short months the people of Bridgeport are going to find out Finch & Company lied to them again. The pension plan A PAYMENT WILL REACH APPROX $80 MILLION.
    The people who stayed home and don’t give a shit will suddenly wake up with a giant tax increase and you know what, they deserve it.
    I had a candidate stop by my house and asked me what the people here think about Remington Woods. I told him two things. 1. They don’t think as was shown in the primary, and 2. Most have not shown any interest in the neighborhood thus most of them don’t know where Remington Woods is located. What it boils down to is you get what you deserve thus Finch for another four years.

  8. “Within the next four years Steelpointe …”

    FBD–We are now into year 14 for Steelpointe between all the developers. Seaview Plaza will take how long???

    Be prepared for a mini-tax to be implemented this fiscal year. BTW–I can’t believe OUR city council people put out a primary campaign piece that proclaimed we had a AA Bond Rating. Check out that pita of a pocket pothole in front of bike stencil on Grovers heading toward Saint’s at flagpole?

  9. Lennie has lost his way.
    To suggest you cannot force Finch to debate is absurd. What kind of media-savvy expert is Mr. G supposed to be?
    There is a very simple way to get Mayor Finch to debate. You embarrass the hell out of him.
    1) You get Jeff Kohut and Rick Torres to agree to schedule a debate a day up until Election Eve. They do not need to be very formal but do not let this man off of the hook.
    2) Some debate needs to be conducted with bullhorns outside of where the mayor is conducting his pressing city business. You say the candidates might be arrested for creating a public nuisance? Demonstrating without a permit? Good! Just make sure you get all of the arrests recorded on tape.
    3) Go viral; go YouTube; go Facebook! At the “mock” debate on October 31st have the mayor’s effigy be the Scarecrow from the Wizard of Oz (if I only had a brain) or the Cowardly Lion (Courage, that’s what they’ve got that I haven’t got). Or simply a big Blackberry waiting for text messages from his handlers.
    4) Try to make this the lead on the nightly news, “and in Bridgeport’s daily debate, tonight the mayoral contenders portrayed him as …”

    Come on Lennie, where’s your imagination; where is your sense of fun???

  10. Steel Point???
    Just think if these deadbeat developers had actually done some of their development on this site and built some waterfront restaurants and clubs we might be seeing a headline like this:

    WTNH reported Thursday, Oct. 20, 2011 that NBC Sports was close to announcing a deal to move its headquarters to the Clairol site in Stamford, shown here in this 2002 file photo. Photo: ST, Andrew Sullivan / Stamford Advocate

    Instead all we are seeing is:

    City refuses to comment on possible Walmart megastore on Steel Point.

    Come on Auerbach, so you really think you are going to see a quality development out of this fraud? They have yet to put up a penny of their own money in any real development cost. They have refused to match the federal TIGER Grant with their money and are making the city match it with taxpayers’ money. They won’t even buy their own clean fill.

    If Bill Finch’s future relies on Steal Point or Stale Point then he will truly get what he deserves.

    1. Bob,
      I am an optimist. I just cannot imagine the city of Bridgeport supporting a Walmart on Steelpointe. We would become so laughable the city may actually never recover. Papers will talk about the largest city in the state of Connecticut. The wealthiest county in the United States, Fairfield County. ONE OF THE LARGEST CONTIGUOUS TRACTS OF DEVELOPMENT PROPERTY AVAILABLE AND CALL IT A GROSS TRAVESTY. It will be sad for the thousands of families that were forced to move. To make way for a big-box retailer paying minimum wage jobs? Luxury housing? A conference center? A destination? No way!!! I refuse to believe Mayor Finch would even accept such a ridiculous proposal. That’s the kind of rumor you would expect to go around during a campaign. Eversley should try to attract a Walmart to Housatonic avenue perhaps, but Steelpointe? I can see the locals rising up against city hall and that could be very scary. These rebellions are happening everywhere. Why not Bridgeport. I will wait to see a proposal before I start condemning. And Bob, yes I do expect to see quality development from Finch. I did support and vote for Finch four years ago. Economic development was the reason I did. So yes! I expect it. I also am hopeful since Mike Nidoh and Ed Lavernoich are still employed by the city.

      1. Steve,
        I submitted a resolution to the council to strongly come out against a Walmart on Steel Point and present at the committee meeting the other night to speak against the resolution were City Attorney Anastasi and Development Director Eversley.
        Although neither one would confirm or deny the rumor Walmart was coming to Steel Point, Eversley spoke highly of the Walmart Urban store concept. Sometimes you need to learn to listen between the lines.
        Walmart here they come.

        1. And furthermore Steve, I introduced this resolution from the council floor at a recent meeting. There was some debate on the matter before being referred to committee. At one point the mayor noted this is a resolution about a rumor and he didn’t see why the council should waste its time on it. At that point I said to the mayor he could put an end to the rumor. If he publicly stated there is no way he would allow a Walmart to be built on Steel Point then I would withdraw my resolution. He said no more and remained silent.

  11. It just goes to show the arrogance of Finch and the Democratic Party have towards their constituents … If the independents and the Republicans (in particular) don’t show up at the polls to vote against this system there will be no economic revival, high taxes, poor city services, and a continuation of corruption, cronyism, and nepotism. Shame on the Republicans for not being proactive in signing up voters. You deserve what you get!!!

  12. AND … also in the rag known as the CT Post …
    Mayoral debate at HCC called off
    BRIDGEPORT — The mayoral debate to be held at Housatonic Community College on Thursday has been canceled.
    Mayor Bill Finch this week backed out of the debate, in which he was set to face off with Republican Rick Torres and Independent Jeff Kohut, because of a meeting scheduled at the same time with Daniel C. Esty, state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection commissioner.
    The event was sponsored by the Housatonic Community College Women’s Center and the League of Women Voters.
    Read more: www

  13. Bridgeport Votes Candidate Reception 3–5 today

    Bridgeport Votes invites you to a “Meet the Candidates” reception at the Bridgeport Public Library 925 Broad St.. All candidates appearing on the November 8th ballot will be invited and we expect a large turnout. Don’t miss this opportunity to meet the candidates and share your views and concerns with them about making Bridgeport a better place to live.

    Bridgeport Votes is a non-partisan long-term group whose members include Common Cause, the Bridgeport Public Library, GBLN and community leaders. Bridgeport Votes’ mission is to provide voter education, voter registration with the goal of increasing voter participation in Bridgeport’s electoral process.

    Free finger food and refreshments from the Corporate Deli.

    For more information contact:
    John Soltis

    1. Thank you John, for opening this event in an informal manner. I decided to show up with some new graphics attempting to show folks the external process currently that creates, reviews, and monitors City plans for spending and debt handling, that keeps us solvent, that increases our net worth or oversees a reversal of fortunes. First views with the Money Storyline were positive as I signed up half a dozen new candidates for Budget Oversight Bridgeport 2012 next spring. First we will announce an evening showing in power point and with specific numbers. Mayor Finch did not come over to see the graphics and hear the storyline but Jeff Kohut, Rick Torres and others did, including some other candidates. Some good questions and a desire for more info as well as encouragement to keep fighting for more open, accountable and transparent City process was expressed. Adam Wood and I had a brief conversation about the external auditor Management Letter that Blum Shapiro thinks resides in the City Clerk office along with the other two components of their Comprehensive Annual Financial Report process. Did not get the opportunity to show Tom McCarthy (Council leader, colored them yellow in the graphics) or Mayor Finch (colored him green in the graphics). Still have real concerns about oversight, monitoring, info flowing to and from the watchdogs, and comprehensive care. It’s OK to have differences of opinion, but we need to get to agreement as to what the facts are, it seems to me.
      Maybe Mayor Finch will invite the rating agencies to a “brown-bag luncheon” and let us know about it. It seems my view of raters (only talked with Fitch people in full disclosure) is our A rating is as high as it is only because they believe the administration can tax more heavily than it does today. I wonder whether they really drill down in our current process to see how financial decisions are made and then monitored, and how much of our Charter, policies and ordinances are not followed though, they can be read today. Anyone wishing to be part of our upcoming PowerPoint meeting on City Financial operations is welcome to call 203-259-9642, my daytime business phone # and leave your name, please spell it for me, phone # and email address so you can be alerted as to date, place, and time. In these times we need as many watchdogs as possible, especially if the “financial prophets” are correct about impending property tax increases and not too much later, revaluation of property for taxation purposes, creating new values for the Grand List.
      Time to be involved, to learn about details and your role, to think about positive changes that produce better results and discuss with friends and neighbors the problems, issues and potential alternatives. Time will tell. In the meantime there is a $491 Million City operating budget and separately $258 Million Capital budget available (per last spring accounting). And if you add in new Federal monies, State amounts aside from ECS or PILOT, etc. that is a lot of money to keep track of. Who are the watchdogs? What info do they regularly review? Where does the public access the same info? Where is a regular comprehensive posting of this a Finance Board in this community (if we had one) would otherwise have access to? Don’t you want to know about this stuff before the stuff hits the fan? Time will tell.

  14. Sorry John,
    But if this group had any balls they would uninvite the mayor until he agrees to participate in future debates. No one should attend this event unless they are protesters against Finch’s refusal to debate. Will Stafstrom and Woody be there to text the mayor what to say while he is greeting voters?

  15. The mayor will be there full of green giddiness to talk about how his administration has opened the doors of our libraries to extended hours. Of course then he said how there would have been a tax decrease if the library referendum had not gone through.

    He will leave at 3:05 pm to dedicate the newly created green space on the corner of State and Broad at the Annex. It is Faux Park that will be growing the cabbage to fuel his campaign.

    Anyone for some Kimchi?

  16. Sorry you feel that way, Bob. This event is a nonpartisan opportunity for the citizens of Bpt to meet the candidates and talk to them about anything they wish. BPT Votes has no other agenda.

    1. Sorry John,
      But it is a fraud. Bridgeport voters are entitled to an honest open discussion of the issues. If the mayor wants to manipulate the media, a non-partisan group should not allow itself to be used in this manner.
      You can be sure I for one will not be attending this mockery.

  17. We have invited all the candidates, and members of the BPT voting public and/or the media can talk to them about anything they wish. If this is your definition of manipulation and mockery, so be it. You’re going to miss a really good lunch from Corporate Deli.

    1. It is always easier to lie to the voters in private one at a time than to lie to a room filled with people with the press present to record such lies.
      Aiding and abetting in manipulation and mockery; most definitely.
      Guilty as charged!

  18. More on the NBC Sports move to CT.
    32 acre site. Chelsea Pier sports and recreation facility. Spinnaker Real Estate partners in the deal.
    Everything needed to jump start Steel Point. Retail and restaurants would immediately follow.
    And where is Bridgeport and Steel Point? WALMART!!!
    Bridgeport gets what it deserves. A grossly incompetent administration and Economic Development office. And where is Governor Malloy; still deep in the heart of Stamford.

    The 32.68-acre campus on Blachley Road was purchased in March 2010 by a partnership affiliated with Steven Wise Associates LLC, Norwalk-based Spinnaker Real Estate Partners and the Connecticut Film Center. The partnership, Stamford Exit 9 LLC, paid Clairol about $16.75 million and announced plans to establish a film, television and video production center. The 770,000-square-foot facility was used by Clairol and parent company Procter & Gamble starting in the 1960s before operations were relocated to Mexico.

    A chunk of the real estate was claimed last year by Chelsea Piers Connecticut LLC, which announced plans to build a sports facility on the complex similar to one on the Hudson River in Manhattan. Construction on the 418,000-square-foot athletic facility is under way.

    1. Grin,
      Thanks for posting this. I read the fourth bullet in the reference to when pension rights may be affected and think it may apply. Assuming the “sex” was not a financial transaction in itself, the State employee did use power of the position to gather something for himself that seemed very important to him from someone he was trusted to care for. He had no right to the “sex” or whatever that references, and this then is an abuse of power. The expense of his incarceration should be laid at his doorstep as a reminder to him and others. Time will tell.

  19. Councilman Bob, you are going to be missed. Would love to pick your brain about what is really going on (or NOT going on) in my district, the 131st. The progress that was visible in the South End a few short years ago has come to a grinding halt. The residents of the Lofts I have been talking with over the last six months feel like they are being completely ignored. Not a good feeling. People who chose to move here, to be a part of a new diverse community. Folks not hip to the inner workings of “the machine.” Folks who chose to either not believe the countless stories of corruption and greed in the Park City … or folks (like yours truly) who hope like hell to change it.

  20. The machine articles in the paper today were an eye opener. It would be interesting to see how many of the employee contributors received increases, excessive overtime or otherwise preferential treatment as a reward for their donation. Interesting that Warren Blunt was punished for absentee ballot fraud but as soon as he served his time he was put back on the city council. Bpt is a lost cause, sorry to say.

    Big fundraiser at Stafstrom’s house this week co-hosted by Lynn Fusco. This is her quid pro quo for getting the school projects. Do you think Finch knows Lynn doesn’t pay her bills and is being fined millions by the state because she made no effort to get minority companies for a job in Hamden? Do you think Finch cares?

  21. Dennis Scinto, Jr is the contract compliance officer for the City. He should do his due diligence and FOI the state regarding the Hamden DOT bus garage. Fusco is being fined 4 – 5 million for failure to comply with minority hiring. They don’t like minority contractors–Lynn will tell you that behind closed doors. Why are we using a scumbag like this in our city? Doesn’t say much for Dennis Scinto or the minority office. Or is it okay because Lynn Fusco is writing a check to Finch’s campaign?

    Dennis, if you are reading this, do yourself a favor and investigate this company before you are completely embarrassed. Fusco refused to pay vendors in Hartford at Prince Tech and Camp Niantic forcing several companies into bankruptcy. Plus they are being held responsible for delays on school projects in Waterbury. All sorts of lawsuits against them. Bad, bad company.

  22. Congrats to Finch on his primary win, my precinct of Central went huge for Finch. I break my silence today because I finally decided who I will vote for. Torres got my vote in 2003 but Finch will get my vote this year. It was a hard decision because I like both guys but there is no reason to vote out Finch.

      1. tc,
        Like you have been waiting for NORTH45 to provide his likeability measurement for how he votes for Bridgeport candidates?
        Like you need to listen to donj tell us for the 15th time about his voting preferences? Sorry donj, I was really OK until your 15th confession!

        As founders of Budget Oversight Bridgeport-2011 where we (and about 10 others) attended each of the Budget and Appropriations meetings last spring, we got an earful. And we are recruiting for that B.O.B. team again. We heard what the B&A people heard, and observed what they failed to ask Department heads. We also noted almost total passivity at approving 66 unfilled positions costing us about $4.5 Million annually. This group is not a true fiscal check and balance, even though an initial appearance might fool you. They have not been willing to meet monthly in regular fashion and the reports they get (when they get them irregularly) do not show a comprehensive fiscal picture.
        The financial problems that will face the City early in 2012 and provide reasons for tax increases to be advanced by the Mayor and Tom Sherwood will not be solely from the Education budget. The BOE budget could have been improved by at least $7.5 Million reallocation in the current 2011-12 budget. But frankly no more money should be provided until the final phase of that 4-5 year education audit has been completed, made available to the public and discussed publicly. Post the cost of the audit relative to the cost-saving findings (hope there are some), and allow us to see what Hartford and New Haven have been getting as a % of their annual budgets from their own taxpayers, various State of CT programs, Federal grants or programs and other external sources. That info was not available from the BOE two weeks ago at Tisdale School.

        A major task of the Board should be to provide evidence current funds are well spent and additional funds will be closely monitored. Hard to do in a way when the BOE would rather cut councilors and other professional specialists but keep all but one or two of the custodian and security personnel. Are we running educational sites or a prison program, after all? Time will tell.


Leave a Reply