OIB Poll Soon, Plus: Let’s Make A Deal!

Weekend Update: Okay kids, spread the word … OIB will release results of its first public opinion poll next week.

OIB has partnered with an accomplished Connecticut-based pollster (more on that later) to provide insight into the standing of Mayor Bill Finch as he approaches two years into his four-year term. We are currently in the field polling electors.

We are surveying Democrats that voted in the municipal election of 2007. Why this universe? They are serial voters that will best provide a snapshot into Finch’s mayoralty and how he measures up against potential Democratic primary opponents in 2011. Finch defeated State Rep. Chris Caruso by 270 votes in the Democratic primary in 2007. But Finch overwhelmed his underfunded Republican opponent Mike Garrett in the 2007 general election.

Some of you will be happy. Some of you will be exasperated by the results. Some of you will not be surprised.

We are measuring Finch against the following potential candidates and elected officials head to head and collectively in a large field: State Rep. Chris Caruso, former Mayor John Fabrizi, former Mayor Joe Ganim, Probate Judge Paul Ganim, retired Superior Court Judge Carmen Lopez and State Rep. Andres Ayala.

I could have thrown in others such as City Councilman Bob Curwen who’s looking at a mayoral run, but had to limit the length of the poll. I tested Lopez and Ayala in the poll to provide context with how Finch measures up with better known political figures such as Caruso.

Stay tuned.

Deals, Deals, Deals 

Election Day is just around the corner. What deal is in the works?

The Board of Education election has eight candidates to fill five slots.

Democratic candidates for Board of Education: incumbent Bobby Simmons, City Council member Leticia Colon and former council member Patrick Crossin. All Dems are overwhelming favorites to get in. (Incumbent Dems Max Medina and John Olson decided not to seek election.) 

Assuming the Dems win that leaves two seats.

The Republican candidates: Nate Snow, Juan Hernandez and Raul Quiroga. We heard from Nate Snow earlier this week. If Juan and Raul want to introduce themselves to OIB, feel free.

Connecticut Working Families Party candidates: Sauda Baraka, a GOP incumbent dumped by her party and Maria Pereira. We also heard from Sauda and Maria this week.

If Republican political operatives don’t pay attention to this race they’ll risk losing one or perhaps two seats. The BOE has Republican members by virtue of state-mandated minority-party representation. That means any minority party, and  Working Families political operatives are pretty good at identifying and pulling a vote. Could it be enough to blowtorch the Republicans?

The GOP city registration is roughly 5,000. What could turnout be in this yawner of a municipal election, 20 or 25 percent? Maybe 1,000 or so Republicans vote.

Well, that opens the door for Baraka and Pereira to stitch together a coalition of Republicans, Dems and independents to squeeze past the Republican candidates. Dem political operatives clearly want to do battle with Superintendent of Schools John Ramos. They see this as their chance to control one third of the city budget.

Pereira says she decided to jump into education politics after she learned her daughter had nine different teachers for one math class. She talks and acts like someone with a populist message ready to make noise. Could Dems play a little winking game with Sauda and Maria to make sure they get in, assuming one or both commit to line up against Ramos? We’ll throw you some votes on election day if you pledge to vote with us.

Or could they cut the same deal with the GOP candidates?

Ah, don’t ya just love city politics?

Most of the juicy action is in the suburbs where many mischievous city political operatives ended up residing. Stratford Democratic Mayor Jim Miron is in a dogfight with Republican State Rep. John Harkins. The GOP candidate from four years ago Domenic Costello, a former Bridgeport cop, is running as an independent. How many votes will he pull from Harkins?

In Shelton, can Democrat Chris Jones upset popular Republican Mayor Mark Lauretti who’s in the crosshairs of a federal corruption investigation although he has not been charged with any wrongdoing? Taxes are low in the land of Lauretti. Shelton features a mighty grand list built on Lauretti’s watch. Can Mark, who served as Barnum Festival ringmaster a few years ago, perform a little election day magic? Will the electorate give Lauretti the benefit of the doubt?

In Trumbull, the town that sends the state’s largest city its garbage, sewage, sick and homeless, four-term Democratic First Selectman Ray Baldwin has his hands full with Republican Tim Herbst, chairman of the Planning & Zoning Commission. Ray, a darn good golfer, said he bogeyed when he proposed a double-digit tax increase last year. Looks like both camps will spend $100K by the time election day approaches.

News release from Governor Rell

Governor Rell: 7 More Weeks of Federal Benefits For Individuals Exhausting Unemployment

Governor M. Jodi Rell announced today that Connecticut’s unemployment rate has qualified the state to provide seven additional weeks of benefits to unemployed individuals. Under federal guidelines, individuals can begin filing their claims beginning Nov. 15.

The federal extension called High Extended Benefits (HEB) is provided when a state’s total unemployment rate averages eight percent or higher over three consecutive months.

The latest unemployment rate released this week by the Connecticut Department of Labor is 8.4 percent for September while unemployment rates for July and August were 7.8 percent and 8.1 percent, respectively. As a result, the average for these three consecutive months now stands at 8.1 percent.

“These benefits offer the lifeline we need to help our families weather this economic storm,” Governor Rell said. “More than $150 million in unemployment benefits is currently being provided to our residents each month. While I am confident our nation will soon emerge from this recession, until we do recover and begin to create new jobs, we must provide assistance to those who have felt the brunt of this downturn.”

According to Governor Rell, the HEB is in addition to the 26 weeks of regular state benefits, the 33 weeks of federal Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC), and the 13 weeks of Extended Benefits (EB) currently being provided to the state’s jobless residents. With the addition of the seven weeks of HEB, claimants can potentially receive 79 weeks of unemployment benefits.

The HEB will be available to those claimants still searching for work and who have exhausted all 72 weeks of the current state and federal benefits. According to the Labor Department, claimants now receiving the 13 weeks of Extended Benefits will automatically receive the additional seven weeks. For those who have exhausted their 72 weeks of benefits, the agency will send letters to all potentially eligible individuals to notify them of the additional HEB weeks.

“The Labor Department is updating its records to allow claimants to seamlessly transition from the 13 weeks of Extended Benefits to the seven additional weeks of High Extended Benefits,” noted Governor Rell. “Although we are fortunate that Connecticut’s current unemployment rate is well below the national rate of 9.8 percent, finding a job in these challenging times is extremely difficult. This newest extension is a welcome relief to the thousands of citizens who want to work, are diligently seeking employment, but have had little success.”

Additional information about the seven weeks of HEB, including Frequently Asked Questions, can be found on the Labor Department’s Web site at www.ct.gov/dol.

Individuals needing information about other possible assistance can contact United Way’s Infoline program. This is a free referral service, with information about community services, basic needs assistance, crisis intervention and much more. 2-1-1 is toll-free from anywhere in Connecticut and it operates 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. The service, which offers multilingual operators and TTY access, can be contacted by dialing 2-1-1.

News release from Connecticut Common Cause

“Common Cause in Connecticut is pleased that the Government Administration and Elections Committee is holding an informational hearing to take up the critical issue of the landmark Citizen’s Election Program in the wake of a district court ruling in August,” said Cheri Quickmire, Executive Director of Common Cause Connecticut.

Common Cause is working actively with Attorney General Richard Blumenthal’s office in the Green Party of Connecticut et al v. Jeffrey Garfield case as an Intervenor represented by the Brennan Center. “While we are grateful that the Attorney General is fighting to appeal to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals a damaging district court decision, we believe that we cannot wait the outcome of that appeal before acting to ensure the viability of the Citizens Election fund,” said Karen Hobert Flynn, Vice President for the national office of Common Cause.

We believe that we must act quickly to fix the law and that we cannot wait for the outcome of the appeal for a number of reasons.

This is a highly complex legal case. The 2nd Circuit will take time to deliberate. Legal experts that we work with suggest that a decision probably will not be reached until at least April of 2010. In addition, plaintiffs will undoubtedly want to challenge the appeal and take the case straight to the Supreme Court, which will drag this case on well beyond 2010 elections.

Candidates who want to run for statewide office for the first time under the program need to know the program is viable. Uncertainty will inhibit participation by legislative candidates as well.

The State Elections Enforcement Commission will need time to reconfigure the program in time for candidates who would like to participate.

Although the General Assembly modified a reversion clause in 2006, Section 9-717 is still in place. On April 15 if the CEP is still enjoined, the law will revert back to pre-2005 until December 2010, opening the doors to special interests, lobbyist and state contractor money and a return to pre-reform days.

“Connecticut has come a long way from the days of “Corrupticut” to become a nationwide leader on comprehensive reform,” said Quickmire. “We believe it is incumbent on us to find a way to address any questions of constitutionality.”

Hobert Flynn added, “There are a number of constitutionally permissible options that give lawmakers many avenues to explore a permanent fix or a temporary fix that allows the program to move forward in 2010. We urge the General Assembly make these changes as soon as feasible before we get too far into the election.”

Poise Your Applications. News release from Jim Himes.

Himes Reminds Military Academy Applicants of Oct. 30 Deadline

WASHINGTON, DC—Congressman Jim Himes (CT-4) today reminded students applying for 2010 admission into one of the nation’s four military academies that applications are due to his office by 4:00pm on Friday, October 30th. Applications are available on the Congressman’s website and from high school guidance counselors throughout the 4th District.

“I’m honored to play a part in nominating young men and women to our country’s prestigious military academies,” said Congressman Himes. “Attending a military academy is an incredible but challenging opportunity. I look forward to meeting the young leaders who will make this impressive commitment to serving our country.”

A panel of judges will review applications and conduct interviews with candidates in early December. Applicants must have turned 17 but not yet reached their 23rd birthday on July 1, 2010 and live in the 4th Congressional district.

More information is available by calling the Congressman’s office at 866-453-0028 or by visiting the Academy Nominations page on this website.



  1. Participated in Read Aloud Day with brothers and sisters from the Bridgeport Bar Association at the Hallen School earlier today … as in the past five years, always enjoyed the event with the students and staff … controlled every urge in my body not to go political with a Liberate Libraries pitch to my innocent 5th-grade audience.
    The campaign for the library referendum continues to be desperately underfunded and is definitely facing a serious uphill battle, but I think and I am hopeful that a buzz will build over the next ten days and the heroes and heroines to win the day will be the parents and everyday citizens of Bridgeport (plus a hardy core of dedicated volunteers) who will spread the word to their friends and neighbors by old-fashioned word of mouth and get the vote out. We will all be happily surprised on Nov. 3.

  2. My guesses for election day in the ‘burbs:
    Lauretti by a smaller margin than usual
    Harkins by a bigger margin than expected
    Very close in Trumbull with Herbst pulling it out (although I like Baldwin)

    Let’s see what happens …

  3. I saw one gag line and remembered another great gag line today.

    “We Believe in Bridgeport!” is one campaign lawn sign message, by a couple of Democratic Council candidates. Now these must be some real creative critical thinkers. Do they have to tell us this message or are they just trying to justify their beliefs in their own misbeliefs. It must be the party line in telling the faithful to believe in Steal Pointe. Remember how this district crucified Donna Curran for not voting on the LDA on the Eve of Destruction vote in 2007? Maybe we need some non-believers running the city.

    How ’bout all the hoopla by the Connecticut Post about Juvie Girl Joint being placed in Bridgeport? Same paper that endorsed Boy George Joint on the River.

    Auden Grogins gearing up for Attorney General run by taking on Dick Blumenthal on campaign finance court case. Grogins knows Dick, and the law.
    Audie openly and rightfully challenged Dick, on the merits of appeal to Higher Court, in front of G & A Committee. Transcript read like something out of Dick and Jane. Run, Auden, Run! See Dick’s (weak) Spot!!! Look! Look!! Look!!!

    R.I.P. Soupy Sales
    Best line ever uttered on television. “How come every time I see F, you see K?”

    As Lennie would say; “Old Uncle Soupy was a real PIES-ON!”

    1. He was a nice Jewish pies-on. Soup man did a number of fill-ins through the years at WICC.

      “Do the mouse, yeah … you can do it in the house … yeah.” Soupy’s tribute to Yahooy and Anna.

      ‘Now boys and girls you go reach into your mommy’s pocketbook and pull out those nice green pieces of paper with the presidents faces, put it in an envelope and send it to Uncle Soupy!’

      1. I remember watching Uncle Soupy as a kid. I would race home from school, zipping down Central Avenue to Maple Street, flying under the train trestle, past the Salt Brook bridge, skidding to a halt in the one-car garage and slipping into the basement to view Soupy, White Fang, Black Tooth, et al., on an old Motorola black-and-white television. I’d have to wait a minute or so for the picture because the tubes had to warm up.

        What a time for television in the greater New York area. Does anyone remember “Wonderama” with Bob McAllister, Sonny Fox and Sandy Becker? “Does Anybody Here Have an Aardvark?”

        1. I remember going with my father and sisters to Christmas parties at Shakespeare theater for AVCO employees and seeing Sonny Fox. Those parties were the best. The presents and indoor snow made them that much better.

        2. *** Race home from school so he wouldn’t get beat up by the school’s local bully. A small freckle-faced, four eyes, pigtails, dress-wearing little girl, one grade lower than B/K whom he still has nightmares about today! Maybe that’s why he blogs like a paper tiger on this forum with nothing relevant to say or share worth reading along with his other pretender bloggers as well. Example of such to be blogged later today! Don’t miss it readers, it’s priceless no doubt, in a pathetic sort of way??? ***

  4. I went to the meeting at the North End library last night and listened to the Q&A with the police chief and the citizens.
    I am sorry to say that they meaning the PD are on the wrong page and I have heard all of this BS from the PD before.
    They call the students kids and state that it is more inconvenient for the kids when they are not arrested and are suspended by the school. Yeah I believe that!!!
    News flash these are adults, 18-year-olds and older. We are not talking about kids 13 through 17 years old.
    The city has the tools to do something about these illegal 1-family dwellings but it does not seem that anyone knows how to get it started.
    First: When the PD responds to a call at a house occupied by students they should establish just how many live at that address.
    Second: Once it’s established that 3 or more unrelated students are living at this location the PD should report this to the Fire Marshal & Zoning. They presently do not do this.
    Third: The Fire Marshal’s Office can and should get an administrative warrant and conduct an investigation as to the number of students residing there. More than 3 or 4 unrelated students constitutes a rooming house and unleashes expensive Fire Code upgrades.
    Fourth: Once it’s established that this is a rooming house or a multi-family dwelling in a 1-family neighborhood Zoning should now enter the picture as this is a zoning violation.
    Fifth: Dwelling should be vacated because of these violations. Use the city sheriffs to serve notice and empty this dwelling of its residents.
    This is not rocket science put together a group from each city agency and charge them with the responsibility of rectifying this problem.
    The citizens of the North End have been harassed by these students for years and have been fed BS from various administrations for years. It’s time to act.
    The city is siting on a powder keg here. 1 fire and 1 death will cost the city millions as they know the problems and have not actively done anything to rectify the situation.
    To the Finch administration here is a chance to show the people of the North End and the city that you really give a damn about quality of life issues.
    Remember action talks and bullshit walks.

      1. Contact Marty McCarthy. He’ll be looking for something to do after the election. Mr. McCarthy hasn’t yet learned that the Bridgeport City Council is a moribund legislative body that can’t even come to a unanimous agreement on whose stipend will pay for dinner at Testo’s.

  5. Hey Lennie you forgot Monroe, Buzi over Varek by a landslide. Democrats also take for the first time since 1972 over the GOP the Town clerk, Treasurer, Town Council and BOE. People here are tired of acrimony and the Joe Sullivans and Pat O’Haras of the world. Most of the GOP here are just beating up on Bridgeport hoping that some of our associations will “scare” people. Word on the street–people are disgusted, not fooled, and think Joe Sullivan is several slices short of a loaf. I might have to thank him when we win.

  6. If I’m not mistaken there is already a law in Connecticut that addresses properties and locations deemed a nuisance to the public. If the police are called 3 times [separate visits] the owners can have their properties seized. You may want to contact your State Rep. The law was enacted in 1995 or ’96.

  7. “Never believe anything in politics until it has been officially denied.” — Otto von Bismarck

    From The Connecticut Post:

    Fairfield & Brewster was the only bidder and withdrew its proposal the day the FOI request was filed.
    However, city officials refused to release any information until the night of Oct. 19, when a public hearing on the property’s disposition was scheduled before the City Council.
    Finch contended the delay did not violate any FOI law, even though according to a legal notice the bids were to be publicly opened Oct 1. He said the city’s lawyers determined they were in their rights to withhold the information.
    “In my role I have to do what’s in the best interest of the public,” the mayor said. “I’m an open person, but I can’t negotiate things in public.”

  8. “town committee,” your points and suggestions are right on target concerning the housing issues. My question is what is the fire chief, the fire marshall and the mayor’s office doing to correct these problems? They know about everything that you wrote Andy but they are not doing their job.

    1. Ron as far as I can tell no one is doing much about this problem. I will say I was impressed with John Gomes and what he had to say last night. I do think that the Fire Department’s Fire Marshal’s Office should take the lead as this is a Life Safety Issue.

      1. Actually the Fire Code is much more lenient than the building code, or the Zoning office which decided on “more” than three unrelated occupants is illegal. The Fire Code doesn’t even address one/two family occupancies for this type of violation. If it has more than 6 occupants, then the Fire Code officials can take action because it is classified as a “rooming and lodging” occupancy. Also, the Building, Housing, Health and Zoning departments have faster acting bureaucracies than the Connecticut Fire Code. You must have forgotten that … or the Code has changed since you retired.

  9. Hmmm poll is interesting wonder how many suburban people will vote from Republican areas!!! Expect voter turnout to be higher than expected because there are many voters from 2008 that will vote. Vote the Working Family Line. Vote out that city council woman in the 130th. Vote yes!!! Black Rock school leads the way in getting rid of these do-nothing people in Bpt. Ganim 2011.

  10. Some of you may have surmised that I am no fan of Phinch, Timpanelli and Don Calamari. That triumvirate has kept this city a shit hole for too long and all should be pushed out of town.

    I have to give the Philistine Phinch a kudo though. He hired young Chris Anastasi to work in CitiStat. Now Chris, according to the Post, is a U of Penn Magna Cum Laude graduate in public administration and has recently completed a Master’s Degree in a similar discipline. Plus he is being paid the paltry sum of $34,000. This my fellow citizens is a good use of our taxpayer money. We need to hire more people like Chris (whom I do not know). The only glitch that I can see on his otherwise highly impressive resume is that his father is City Attorney Mark Anastasi, the kiss-ass dilettante.

  11. yahooy

    I in no way want to diminish Chris Anastasi’s degree. He graduated from Fairfield University, Magna Cum Laude. You penned it wrong.

    My pedigree is Magna Cum Lager from UCLA, University at the Corner of Lenox Avenue, where I received my BhD, Doctor of Barley and Hops. Yahooy thinks this is probably a BS story.

    Lennie–I think you should do a corresponding cereal poll.

    1. Thanks Grin. Magna at Fairfield is also a significant achievement. I’m glad the kid is with us. Hope we can keep him around for awhile. If his father would quit and Phinch would take the coveted Dog Catcher job in Waterbury, Steel Point might provide Chris with some real meaningful urban development and planning job experience.

  12. Nothing against Chris Anastasi. He seems like a nice polite kid. But let’s not lie about how he was hired. Finch created CitiStat and put it under the CAO’s office so that the positions could be appointed with no interview, no test, no Civil Service approval. The fumbling in the CT post today by Jodie Paul and Elaine Ficarro was somewhat comical. Get your stories straight ladies.

    Second, people are being hired and promoted in CitiStat while the civil service and union employees are being laid off and taking 0 increases plus the furlough days last year. Why is there no money for the employees but plenty for the appointees in CitiStat?

    Third, why is Chris working part of his week in the Finance Dept? If I’m not mistaken, there were layoffs in that dept last year. If there is a need for a position, then one of the laid-off workers should be called back to work. They, after all, know their jobs while Chris is still in an on-the-job training program.

    It’s not Chris’s fault and I’m sure he’s happy to have a job in this bad economy. I wish the kid well but the way it went down stinks in typical Finch administration fashion. And shame on father Mark for putting his son in this situation.

  13. Hope the pollster includes a key instruction at the top of the questionnaire: “THINK! That’s right, THINK … before you answer.”

    Might also be interesting (or shocking) to see how those polled answer the following:

    “Considering the city’s past history and future challenges, which potential candidate would be the BEST choice as the next Mayor of Bridgeport.” Check one of the names listed, or check … NONE OF THE ABOVE.

    “Which of these potential candidates, in your opinion, scores highest when measured against the following criteria: CHARACTER (a reputation for honesty and integrity); COMPETENCE (the brains and know-how to do the job better than anyone else); and CREDIBILITY (demonstrated ability to deliver results in a prior leadership position).” Check one of the names listed, or check … NONE OF THE ABOVE.

    How ’bout it Lennie?

  14. I’m telling you people John Slater is going to win!!! He is the only Republican that will have my vote. He is a young man 27 years old he knows the problems that my generation goes through, vote John Slater. I am 1,000,000% Democrat but we need a change in the 130th. John from Black Rock what is your opinion about him? Read this about Slater www .connpost.com/ci_13635000

  15. OIB scoops Connecticut Post again!

    The Connecticut Post must read OIB for their leads. Post covers this issue in Sunday’s paper.

    Solid as Barack // Oct 22, 2009 at 2:41 pm

    Under Cover of the Charter–Why hasn’t the city gone out for testing on Police Chief’s job? Acting Chief Gaudett has been in position for over a year and is a good guy. However I heard it through the grapevine that this is a violation of Civil Service or Charter.

  16. Having met with and attended meeting that Chief Gaudett was at and knowing him since he was a patrolmen he is a good guy. I do not agree fully with what is going on in the PD and I think that he can be tougher on certain issues such as the problems with the SHU students and the North End residents. I think the time of talking with the SHU administration has passed and its time for stricter action with the troublemakers.
    I do not agree with all of these specialized units that are now in the PD.
    We have 21 street cops on duty per shift. These are the chief’s numbers not mine. We are asking these overworked street cops to patrol and administer to 140,000-plus residents. Can’t adequately be done.
    Let’s see 21 street cops x 5 shifts that’s 105 cops. 100 supervisors from sgt to chief that increases the total to 205 cops. WHERE THE HELL ARE THE OTHER 200 COPS? We have cops on Segways, Bicycles, ATV’s, Horses, Motorcycles; let’s get them into patrol cars and into the neighborhoods. How many are inside doing paperwork or working in the records room? Let’s get them outside. Does anyone know what the community policing unit does except move all those police cars that are parked on Old Town & Sylvan Aves?
    To all the street cops I say Thank You for doing the impossible. To the chief I say let’s get rid of these BS specialized units and get them out on patrol.

  17. If TC’s numbers on police are accurate we’re in deeper trouble that you may realize. The other day I saw 4 police cars and 6 officers at the Dunkin’ Donuts on Ffld Ave in Black Rock. I thought at first that there might have been an incident until I drove by a second time and saw them enjoying a break. I don’t begrudge them their breaks but if there were that many at this place at one time … … …

  18. Independent: The numbers that I posted as to the number of Street cops on duty in patrol were furnished on more than one occasion by the Police Chief. There is a SET (Strategic Enforcement Team) on the street also but they start at 3 PM. You may have seen some of the Community Action cops.


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