OIB Poll: Finch 40, Foster 34–Dem Voters Blame Ayala For Blocking Foster From Ballot

Just days from a Superior Court hearing that will decide whether city Democrats will vote in a mayoral primary, an OIB poll conducted by the Merriman River Group www.merrimanriver.com shows a close race between Mayor Bill Finch and challenger Mary-Jane Foster. Finch leads Foster 40 percent to 34 percent with 20 percent not sure and six percent preferring another candidate. The Merriman poll sampled a total of 499 likely Democratic voters Wednesday and Thursday nights. Poll respondents also overwhelmingly blame Democratic Registrar Santa Ayala for denying Foster a spot on the ballot.

The poll asked likely Democratic voters their vote preference if a Democratic primary for mayor takes place September 13. The poll, according to Merriman River, has a margin of error of plus or minus four percentage points. The last OIB poll conducted in July had Finch leading Foster 41 percent to to 34 percent.

A poll question also addressed Foster’s rejection from the ballot by Ayala on the basis that Foster had one too many candidates for Board of Education on her slate. The questionnaire asked voters: Was this Foster’s error? Ayala’s error? Or was this an act of sabotage by Ayala? Results:

Foster error: 24 percent

Registrar’s error: 27 percent

Registrar’s sabotage: 25 percent

Not sure: 24 percent

So more than 50 percent of respondents blame Ayala for keeping Foster off the ballot whether by error or sabotage. Monday morning Superior Court Judge Barbara Bellis is scheduled to hear legal arguments from Foster’s lawyers Alan Neigher and Michele Mount why Foster and her slate of candidates should appear on the September 13 primary ballot. Ayala, represented by the Bridgeport City Attorney’s Office, will likely be called to the stand. Ayala became a lightning rod in city politics when she failed to order enough ballots for voters in last year’s gubernatorial general election. The gaffe placed a national spotlight on the city when thousands of voters either left polling places in disgust or waited for upwards of an hour to vote as city officials were pressed into action to photocopy paper ballots to accommodate the turnout. Ayala’s latest controversy has put her back in the spotlight with the editorial board of the Connecticut Post calling for her resignation. Ayala is an elected official and it appears the only recourse for her removal (barring her resignation) from office would be a state legislative impeachment hearing. Ayala’s up for reelection next year when her fate would be decided by an endorsement by the Democratic Town Committee. She could run a primary herself if the party refuses to endorse her. Gee, who would check her petitions? Ayala became registrar many years ago when she defeated Lisa Parziale in a party primary.

The key for Foster is keeping her supporters engaged during this period in case Judge Bellis orders a primary. Finch operatives aren’t taking any chances. They’re acting like a primary will take place which could give them a large organizational advantage. If Bellis orders a mayoral primary it likely would leave 10 days or so for both campaigns to gear up unless the judge pushes back the primary date. One area where a short window could hurt the Finch camp is an absentee ballot operation where Finch should have a large advantage. Most of the campaign operatives who know how to work an absentee ballot operation are supporting Finch, including Democratic Town Chair Mario Testa. Right now, no primary, so no absentee ballots for mayor to fill out.

A poll is a snapshot in time. Public opinion polls cannot measure a field operation which is so vital in pulling out primary voters. This is an area where Finch should have a large advantage.



  1. Well looks like we the Mary-Jane Foster supporters have some work to do. We will do what we have to do. We will prevail on September 13th because the people will come out in droves. A big turnout will be a big win for Foster. We all will rise to the challenge supporting Mary-Jane Foster. If I were Finch I would call off that redundant negative poll you take doing character assassinations of the Foster slate. Those who live in glass houses–well you know the rest. If I were Bill Finch I’d be very afraid. He has so much to lose and he will. You know there is a problem when so many City Hall employees including Police and Firemen–the city’s finest, are supporting Foster.

  2. Bill Finch will be the city’s next Mayor at the end of the day and the voters of Bridgeport will prove it. Bill Finch will go down as the best Mayor in this city’s history and let me be the first to name our next school as the Mayor Bill Finch School of Government Excellence!

    1. hahahahahahahahaha. Great comedic story. Who’d’a thunk it someone actually thinks Bill Finch is a great mayor …

  3. Lennie–Thanks to a robust AB operation Mayor Finch will be up by 1500 or more votes when the polls open. The MJF camp needs to keep and eye on the back door of Testo’s Restaurant. Some Foster supporters have slowly been trickling in and making their mea culpas should there be no primary. Remember MJF, when you lie down with dogs you get fleas. ______ ______ and ______ ________ have already met with Mario and made deals should their be no primary. Watch your backs!

    1. And misuse of campaign funds is a crime. Just ask John Mitchell.

      BTW, obstruction of justice is a crime as well, a very serious crime. Perhaps Paul Ganim will inform Santa Ayala of that fact.

  4. Bob // Aug 24, 2011 at 9:08 pm
    It’s time for a Bridgeport version of the Tea Party

    Weren’t MJF people accusing Finch of being Tea Party folks? I am confused. MJF is really the Tea Party Illuminati.

    1. I was talking about Boston Massachusetts and the real Boston Tea Party … the Republican version is not what was being referred to. The Republicans have hijacked the premise of a tea party.

  5. I’m curious as to why either Mary Choen or Godiva2011 is posting here. You’ve been extolling the virtues of Mario Testa, at one point declaring him to be a “god.” Mr. Testa is not running for elected office; Bill Finch is. I’ve heard both of you say Bill Finch has been “fighting for Bridgeport for decades.” If that’s true then please explain why he beat a hasty retreat from Burroughs Community Center last night. Soon as the questions turned to his money laundering and the illegal rejection of the Foster campaign’s primary petitions he turned tail and ran, got out of there before the water turned dark with his political blood.

    “Finch has been fighting for Bridgeport for … decades.” Oh really? Give us some details. You haven’t done that, only bragged about expensive shoes and overpriced vodka. Give us some facts, not a litany of town committee and yahooy quotes taken out of context. (They were part of a much larger dialogue.) Neither of you have done more than engage in baiting and bragging about the fancy restaurants you don’t patronize.

    Bill Finch has done nothing for the city. While laying off municipal employees and wringing concessions from labor unions he has continued to add unqualified employees to the city’s payroll and doled out millions of dollars in outsourced legal work. As the city is in the hole for more than $1 billion dollars it doesn’t make sense.

    Mr. Finch is also a liar. He promised a $600 tax rebate that never materialized. You’ve blamed Michele Mount for not lobbying the legislature for the necessary charter revisions. If she didn’t, so what? There are other lobbyists. Mr. Finch could’ve dropped coin to call one of them.

    Bill Finch disenfranchised many voters by asking the CT Department of Education to take over Bridgeport’s dysfunctional BOE and not putting the decision to a referendum. The disenfranchised voters voiced their displeasure with the mayor’s action. His response was bigoted and racially charged. Prefacing his remarks with “Democracy doesn’t work … in all cases,” he said many of the parents of Bridgeport’s school children are either illegal immigrants or convicted felons and are unable to take part in the democratic process. As more than one third of the city’s population is Hispanic there ought to be no question what Bill Finch thinks of the Latino community.

    Bill Finch, abetted by attorney William Beccaro, has been laundering money through a political action committee. This has been going on since late 2007. Before this revelation we knew him to be a liar.
    During Wednesday evening’s debate Mr. Finch gassed off about all the wonderful things he’s done to move the long-moribund Steel Point project forward. He’s had almost four years and it is still a large piece of dormant land the city owns and cannot collect property taxes on. Mr. Finch also mentioned the RFPs issued for city-owned property in the city’s downtown north area. Why did he wait until three months before the election to issue RFPs? If he’s been fighting for Bridgeport he should’ve pushed to issue them three years ago last December.

    Bill Finch is a fraud.

  6. “And six percent preferring another candidate.” Well there isn’t another candidate in the primary, so that 6% either doesn’t vote, or they pick one of the two. 20% undecided BIG news. Now that the SEEC investigations have began, who knows what other ones will be started? Bill may have to figure how to come up with bail money rather than giving another raise to his cronies.

  7. Did anyone hear Finch is trying to put a Walmart at Steelpointe? All those millions spent getting the site ready for a super duper development project and he brings in … a Walmart? I guess that’s what he thinks of the people in the East Side/East End. Give them a Walmart and they’ll be happy. What an insult.

    1. Mary-Jane Foster noted that during the debate. I’ve seen first-hand the damage Walmart can do to the business district of any town. Walmart puts a lot of mom-and-pop retailers out of business. Small towns all over the midwest and the south are dotted with empty store fronts because of Walmart. At least a few people might lobby for a Walmart at Steel Point, claiming the company creates a lot of jobs. That much is true. The rest of the story is the jobs do not pay a living wage.

  8. I think Merriman River is full of shit. They need to use a call list other than Mario’s payroll.

    Other than the people who depend on their patronage jobs, who in their right mind wants to keep this outrageous idiot in office?

    We have seen a steady erosion in Testa’s Goombah Gang of loyalist voters as evidenced by Chris Caruso’s near miss last time.

    Since he has been in office, an office preordained for him by Don Calamari, there has been no improvement in our way of life. Our school system has collapsed, crime has risen exponentially and the tax burden has broken our backs beyond repair. Oh and Bill, you need to hire a financial person who understands debit and credit theory and can prepare an accurate financial statement. Just because you don’t pay a bill like the pension obligations doesn’t mean they go away. In a municipality Assets – Liabilities = The NET effective worth of the community. Don’t insult my intelligence by presenting a financial statement conveniently absent of the huge obligations you choose to ignore.

    Merriman is leading us to believe despite the miserable conditions the calamarians are forcing us to live in, the majority of the citizens want more of the same. That is a ludicrous contention.

    I dare say if someone else hired a different pollster, the results would not favor Finch.

  9. Dear OIB,
    You reported the Merriman figures polling primary support from Democrats. I have said more than once, time will tell the final results the community will live with.

    However, Lennie, what you failed to report is certain quantities or numbers from your own turf, OIB. Yesterday in the midst of about 120 posts, 40 were from Mary95 and Godiva 2011 that provided stimulus or response by The Bridgeport Kid who came in at 30 more, most in reply. So more than half of your mail was caused courtesy of ‘intentional spoilers’ of the discourse level you have created. This morning, as I write this, already 3 of 14 are from “the two girls.” They have appeared on your site within the past 8 days and with rare exception have added nothing but distraction to the comments most usual to this site.

    Blogs are a form of conversation, discussion or debate, and intelligent and factual discourse can occur. But just as in any public forum, a moderator on occasion has a duty to keep people on track or task. (Perhaps you can share your thoughts on this formally, because I already understand there are posters and readers who have been negatively affected by this turn of repartee.) Their absence during heavy weather from the two ‘her-icanes’ may make your site less vital.

    We all see the diversity of the Bridgeport community. I recognize some people embrace this diversity; some people are merely politically correct; and others may truly not get it! Foot in mouth all of the time!!! But the diversity the City machine leadership cannot tolerate is DIVERSITY OF OPINION!!! So Lennie, if your readers and writers are sharing diverse opinions, the most effective way for the Machine to pollute this wellspring is to throw obnoxious and off-topic garbage in. That was what I called “static” previously but the poisoning of OIB is heading way beyond that as I look at yesterday’s posts.

    See you at the party tonight. Give this some thought. For some reason the girls have not seen fit to reprise my words for the benefit of all. I certainly am not perfect or subject to error. And on occasion I have written a number of posts in one day. Yesterday there were three!!! But no one either saw or cared about the Mayor’s delinquency on monthly financial reporting as called for in the City Charter. No response. Could it be the “static?”

    I will re-post the info on the missing monthly Mayoral reports from yesterday with your permission. I ask anyone who cares about finances in the City to comment in any form. City governance is a 24/7 activity. Over 140,000 people are affected. Gutter politics and polluting the well where civic conversation is happening are not good for improving governance!

  10. A poll is only a rough estimation of what people are thinking at a particular time. Both candidates have more than a little work to do here if they want to win.


    Well seek and ye shall find, I guess. Yesterday was Thursday, a day when the City Clerk is closed. My previous call to the office before being away for one week, I was told the “latest report” was received March 29, 2011. This morning when I called I found a quarterly report covering three months March, April, and May 2011 is now available in the City Clerk office and to be distributed to City Council members. Going to get a copy and discuss with anyone interested.

    But here is yesterday’s post about “monthly” reports from the Charter, that may have changed to “quarterly” reports in practice. And that also means that on August 26, our Council people have no report on the final month of the fiscal year 2011 where numbers released would talk about surpluses or deficits, and revenue and spending patterns relative to budget. FROM AUGUST 25:

    “All this talk about reading the law, statutes, regulations, etc. had me thinking that maybe I wasn’t understanding the language of the City Charter as it deals with public finances otherwise known as money from the people, tax payments. So here is a section for each of you to review from Chapter 9 BUDGET AND FISCAL CONTROLS:

    “Section 7. Monthly Financial Report.

    “(a) Not later than the fourth Friday of each month, the Mayor shall submit the City Council a report showing: (1) budgeted and actual revenues up to the last day of the prior month; (2) budgeted and actual expenditures for each budgeted agency of the city up to the last day of the prior month; and (3) the projected budget surplus or deficit for the fiscal year. Such report shall also be filed in the office of the City clerk and copies made available to the public.

    “(b) The City council may, by ordinance, require that additional information be included in such report.”

    OK. Does anyone require interpretation of these statements? Or does it clearly say by the fourth Friday of each month Mayor Bill Finch must submit a report to the City Council AND to my mind more importantly (since I have observed how little the reported financial affairs of the City mean to some Council members), those reports are filed with the City Clerk and available to me a member of the public?

    The Mayor’s record for the 2010-11 year is best termed tardy and inconsistent. Let’s assume July, August and September were issued as directed by the Charter. I did not track or follow those dates. But if you were waiting for October’s numbers the day after Thanksgiving, you really had to wait until March 29, 2011 for that info, along with November, December, January and February to appear. And as of this week March, April, May, June and July are missing (and regarding the last due as of tomorrow afternoon), the fourth Friday in August.

    Do we need an interpretation of this by the City Attorney? Maybe Stafstrom, Beccaro or Bohannon, those legal luminaries who receive significant compensation as outside legal counsel, would weigh in and provide a five-minute interpretation, gratis? Perhaps there is an ordinance that has eliminated this language in budget and fiscal controls? Has the State of CT waived this obligation of our City Chief Executive during one of his many trips to Hartford? Is this information important to residents, to taxpayers, to the City Council in performance of their duties? Does this type of information have an ultimate relationship to taxes and good fiscal management?

    So what is the story? Would someone else chime in on this one? Am I the only person who is disturbed by the cavalier way this City provides access to their financial dealings? I suggest strongly the longer this apparent failure to live up to the Charter continues, the more surprises will pop up and indicate we owe more in taxes. Where is our fiscal discipline? Do we have too many “acting” City department heads, without sufficient credentials and gravitas to hold down their position officially? Where is the loyalty to the City Charter? Is anyone listening?”

    Friends, neighbors, taxpayers,
    Lend me your ears.
    You have nothing left to lose,
    Except more wasted taxes,
    Less self-respect in the region,
    And more life without real progress!

  12. Beacon,
    Thank you for dogging the financial issues facing the city. There is a significant disparity between the report issued out of Chicago sounding the alarm on Bridgeport’s unfunded liabilities; the recent Fitch rating the Mayor was waving around at the debate at the Burroughs Center; and the lack of timely financial reporting as required by the City Charter. I for one do not have confidence we have an honest budget. I am also not confident the reports that should be available to the public and those filed with the rating agencies are consistent.

  13. As long as the DTC remains under the control of Mario Testa there will never be a balanced city budget. Too much of Bridgeport’s tax revenues must be slipping away.

  14. Finch’s peeps who are stuffing the AB’s like chickens in Mario’s basement, are crying Fowl over Lennie’s numbers. Could it be they are counting their chickens before they hatch? Or have they put all their AB eggs into one basket?

  15. I received a call and although I know who I am supporting I didn’t want to answer because the poller knew my identity–so some of the undecided may be decided–just not forthcoming in a poll when you are unsure who is really calling you–especially for a local election where people know people–I don’t personally know the Governor or President.

  16. Word must get out that Santa Ayala, a cog in the corrupt political machine headed by Mario Testa, tried to do an end-run around the civil rights of Mary-Jane Foster’s right to seek public office and the rights of the people of the city of Bridgeport to vote for the candidate of their choice. Word must get out that Bill Finch didn’t include the people of the city of Bridgeport in the decision to allow the state to take over the dysfunctional BOE because many parents of schoolchildren in the city are illegal immigrants and/or convicted criminals. Word must get out that Bill Finch has taken credit for a number of things that happened on his watch that were the original initiatives of his predecessors. Word must get out that Bill Finch has been laundering money through a political action committee, the ironically named “People for Excellence in Government.” Word must get out that Bill Finch claimed to have done more than a little to move the long-dormant Steel Point project forward when the reality is it is still a disused piece of real estate that cannot be taxed. Word must get out that nothing is going to come of Steel Point, in spite of the fact homes, businesses and livelihoods were affected by the city’s land grab via eminent-domain laws. Word must get out that Bill finch is an inept leader, unfit to manage the city. Word must get out that he is nothing more than a shill for Mario Testa, same as Santa Ayala.

  17. *** Should MJF get back in the primary race, the camp will have to kick it up a notch or two. Especially getting their own A/B’s & checking fraud A/B’s from the different Finch-supported districts which are known to target senoiors, city workers, out-of-town ex-residents and the “living dead!” *** Rallies, phone calls, signs, billboards, radio & TV, newspapers, Foster political flyers, meet & greet, etc. … HERE WE GO! ***

  18. I don’t care what everyone thinks, we’re stuck with Finch. Oh and by the way, how many take-home vehicles did he say there were again??? Three??? I’ve seen (I believe it was) 509-BPT (Black SUV) in Fairfield after 6 p.m. and 42-BPT (Ford Ranger P/U) parked in a driveway on Huntington Turnpike after hours.

  19. eyedoctor,
    You should’ve gone to the O Bar. The driver of 509-BPT was in there drinking expensive vodka and congratulating himself on being the master of the universe.

Leave a Reply