Now What, For Bridgeport: Will Malloy Be Like Weicker?

It was a screwy election, with the state’s largest city at the center of a ballot storm, the city’s Registrar of Voters Office vilified for its myopic election management, Connecticut Secretary of  the State Susan Bysiewicz, capping a year of dubious decisions, confirming once and for all she’s not the goods, and a frustrated city electorate wondering how its government representatives could be so mind-numbingly dense.

But Democrat Dan Malloy is the governor-elect. What does that mean for Connecticut?

With a Democratic governor and a Democratic legislature we could see the abolition of the death penalty and marijuana for medicinal purposes, both of which were vetoed by Governor Jodi Rell, and possibly a state agenda more focused on urban development. One thing seems sure–it would be shocking if not–additional taxes on the wealthiest of Connecticut residents to cure all the red ink.

What does Malloy’s election mean for Bridgeport? The state’s largest city is a kingmaker, irrespective of the electoral mess, something it has not enjoyed in a gubernatorial cycle in a long long time. Dan Malloy is the first Democrat elected governor since Bill O’Neill’s last election win in 1986. Malloy has Bridgeport, Hartford and New Haven to thank for that. More than being a Democrat, Malloy was chief executive of Stamford. He understands cities.

Malloy inherits a financial abyss as he looks forward to inauguration in January. He will raise his hand, take the oath of office, and then try to sort out the financial madness as the General Assembly convenes right after that. Good luck. On a political level in Bridgeport, who gains? Malloy will remember the work of former Democratic Town Chair John Stafstrom, an attorney, who was there for him in 2006 when he came up short in a guber primary and helped to organize the turnout for Malloy this cycle. He will also remember the work of State Rep. Chris Caruso who along with his admiral Bill Garrett and friends, orchestrated the turnout in several city precincts.

Caruso has a decision to make. A $100K state job is probably available to him. Will he take it? Caruso’s far from a man of wealth and he could use the financial stability at 51 years of age. But would he become bored in the job? He’s not the kind of guy used to  a chain of command. If he says no to the state job he probably runs for mayor in 2011 setting up a likely rematch with Mayor Bill Finch who defeated him by just 270 votes in a 2007 Democratic primary on his way to the mayoralty.

What about Finch and Democratic Town Chair Mario Testa, who supported Ned Lamont over Malloy in the primary? Hey, if I’m them, I’m saying we were there in the general election when it really counted, helping to deliver a 13,000-vote plurality. (It would have been more had perhaps upwards of 1000 voters not walked away in disgust waiting for ballots to arrive.)

Bridgeport’s in a good spot, no matter the Election Day ballot blunder. Bridgeport hasn’t had a governor that gave a shit about the city since Lowell Weicker. Will Malloy come close?



  1. “… one that may be court challenged by Republican Tom Foley …”

    Lennie, Tom Foley is not the only one affected–politically and financially–by the ballot chaos. How would you feel if you spent $15 Million or $50 Million of your own money and you lose like this, yet come so close? The people (perhaps not all) voted ultimately. Lots of people got a chance to vote. Who is to say that for every 1 person who couldn’t vote, 2 persons got to vote due to the extended hours? Who kept the records (list of names) of people in line when there were no ballots? If such a list exists, who wrote the names? Were they in fact all registered to vote or in the right school? Did the Democrats intentionally send people to create longer lines and get a favorable ruling from the judge? These and many examples are what I meant when earlier I wrote “Democrats had to deliver votes by all means necessary.”

  2. Caruso has the option of turning down–for the time being– a job offer from Malloy. He has the option of staying to challenge Finch one more time and if he loses, he can then go back to Malloy and take the job. Who would take his State Rep. seat?

    Will Malloy screw the state workers union and cut state jobs now that he knows or may have been made to believe that it was the Bridgeport, Hartford and New Haven machines who catapulted him to the top of the king’s throne?

    As for the prospect of Malloy being like Weicker? Not a fucking chance. I will not give my only remaining index finger to Malloy.

    1. Malloy will be whatever Don Calamari tells him to be. Lamont or not, the Calamarians controlled the 17,000 votes and they can swing them in a different direction next time.

  3. Instead of taking responsibility for raising their children, a great majority of Black and Hispanic men chose to blame Republicans for not providing for the needs of their abandoned children. They expect liberal Democrats to take care of them–after all the Democrats always say the Republicans don’t care and they (Democrats) will take care of the poor.


  4. Lennie you’re kidding right? These dolts in Hartford are suddenly going to have a change of heart and are going to put the urban centers on the front burner?
    These are the same people that have been a majority in Hartford for years and they have done squat.
    So let me get this straight. We have the same Democratic-controlled legislature we have had for years and because Malloy is now the governor we are going to get more help?
    What about the 3 Billion dollar deficit?
    Yeah, I know, Christmas is coming.

    1. TC, your skepticism is understandable. The difference is governors can make things happen. Weicker did a lot, Rowland did a little, Rell did even less. First things first, they have to deal with the red ink the first year and they will raise taxes to do that. Stepping up for Bridgeport cannot be judged in the first year. Weicker was able to help Bridgeport big time once he stopped the red ink. We’ll see.

      1. Lennie it’s not skepticism it’s just facts. The Democrats have controlled the legislature for years, in fact they got us into this financial mess. Now I know Malloy has to take care of the deficit first and I know that will be a hard job.
        The majority of State legislators have done little to help Bridgeport. Our own delegation is impotent. If anything is done I would like to see the Pilot payments to the city for all the non-profits we have increased.

      2. Lennie, the state income tax helped Weicker raise that money. The Democrats (Bridgeport delegation) helped pass the state income tax. Weicker raised taxes, are you saying that’s what Malloy will do? I said he will, gas tax 45 cents on the gallon by the time the people are fuming.

  5. Seriously??? Malloy is going to give Chris Caruso a $100,000+ a year job? DOING WHAT???

    Caruso has never held a job, nor has he been responsible for meeting goals and objectives while ensuring that subordinate managers and staff perform at a high productivity and perform within budgetary constraints.
    Giving Caruso $1 in salary is essentially an investment by the people of the state who expect a return on their investment. If Caruso is given a 6-figure job, the only person in the state who will benefit from this expenditure is the guy who owns the Merritt Canteen.

    At 51 years old, Caruso offers no true benefit to the people if he takes a patronage salary from Malloy. Just take a look at what Finch has accomplished with his patronage giveaways.

    This would not happen if Foley were successful.

  6. It is perhaps difficult to move our attention from the shameful Bridgeport voting mess that was revealed last Tuesday and more fun to focus on the hypothetical and potential attention that a new Governor and legislature will spend on Bridgeport (and red ink everywhere) at the State level.
    My attention does look back and forward both, but the targets of my attention (and yours too) might better be directed at money matters. Specifically:
    Looking back during the past 30 days, did it seem to you that Bridgeport will be the recipient of considerably more special-purpose Federal money than we are used to? Steel Point infrastructure? Southwest Health Clinic? Congress Street bridge? How much was forthcoming and were there terms to get the funds? What’s the story? How soon will it be available? Put to work? Any more hoops to move through? Isn’t this worthy of follow-up? Perhaps you are counting on the CT Post? Maybe Congressman Himes’ office has the list and schedule?
    And now for the forward look, or perhaps the current city financial temperature! What is the City’s current unreserved fund balance? No one has mentioned it for months and it is this cash usually that provides the freedom for “smoke and mirrors” magic within a fiscal year. Isn’t that number available to our Council persons monthly? What progress towards reducing the $8 Million hole in the Mayor’s budget has actually been made? Can we see the actual statistics? And since Federal and State legislators are going to have to begin making actual slicing and dicing from current budgets, what is going to happen in a municipal election year when an incumbent does not want to raise taxes and presumably does not want to be seen using additional debt (notes or bonds) to finance operating expenses?
    Perhaps David Walker, in his twice-monthly Sunday Post columns, will spend some time and attention on local issues. With a Bridgeport office and a valuable residence, local property taxes will become a matter of personal regard, if they are not already.


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