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OIB Rewind: If Only Finch Had Listened

September 22nd, 2015 · 10 Comments · Analysis and Comment, City Politics

OIB column Nov. 30, 2012: Mayor Bill Finch has been mumbling the past few days about some of his political appointments derailing city progress. Yes, what if Finch bolted the ranks of the donkeys? Ciao. Sayonara. Adiós. See ya. You’re on your own. Bye bye. I’ve changed my registration to unaffiliated. He has three full years left in his second term. After the screaming headlines settle it would be a chance for him to make his own mark without the shackles of the political operatives who put him in office and remind him how he got there (not that most of them did anything for him anyway). Free at last, baby!

There’s an independent streak in Finch’s body screaming for freedom: from the gypsies, tramps and thieves in the party; from district leaders wanting jobs for their peeps; from town committee members on the political payroll coveting pay raises; from all 20 Democrats on the City Council meowing about this and that; to all the other Democrats who need fundraising support for their races; from his own political necessity to suck up to pols he’d rather avoid. Ah, he’s too far in, you claim, a slave to the process?

One of Finch’s mayoral pals, New York’s Mike Bloomberg, has been just about everything–a Democrat turned Republican to run for mayor, turned independent several years ago because, he said, it was more in line with how he governed. Shoot, Joe Lieberman, another Finch pal, lost the Democratic primary to Ned Lamont in 2006 and then won the general election on an independent line. After a career of public service Lieberman officially retires come January, his seat filled by Chris Murphy.

Ironically it was Democrat Lieberman who defeated incumbent Republican U.S. Senator Lowell Weicker in 1988. Lowell turned around two years later and became governor on an independent line.

From 1933-57 Socialist Jasper McLevy ran Bridgeport. He had no problem working with Democrats and Republicans, but only on his terms. Think about it, if Finch itched to switch he could govern almost always on his own terms, such as they’d be. (Careful what you wish for.)

He wouldn’t have to suck up to the party politicians. He could keep the effective pols on the payroll he wants to keep on the payroll. The rest can go pound. No concern for a district leader threatening to bolt over this or that, no endorsement concerns (not that he’d have that problem) and no September primary to consider. He petitions his way onto the ballot if he seeks reelection in 2015 and takes his case to all the voters as an independent. He would have all the campaign moolah he’d need.

The prehistoric noises you just heard came from Finch’s political operatives (Lennie, stop being a jerk), but given Finch’s capricious spirit perhaps over a beverage or two by the toasty fire on Crown Street his impulses might bellow, “Yahoo baby, let’s do this!”

Will he switch? Of course not. But think about the possibilities, a mayor governing without the shackles of party regulars. In this season of peace, love and generosity, a little dreaming isn’t such a bad thing.


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10 Comments so far ↓

  • Mojo


  • BptPorter

    Finch had no support outside his party and outside of city jobs and unions. This can only be done if you are popular, which he never has been since Finch raised taxes in six out of eight years in office, except for election years.

  • Joel Gonzalez

    Lennie, way before 2012 I knew Bill Finch wasn’t going to listen to anyone. That’s why I created this page back then:

    Run Joe Ganim Run

    July 14, 2011–

    Run Joe Ganim Run!

    Out of jail, Bridgeport’s ex-mayor hints at a new run.
    Former Bridgeport mayor Joseph Ganim, released a year ago after serving nearly seven years in prison for corruption, has expressed some interest in running.


  • Joel Gonzalez

    “… a mayor governing without the shackles of party regulars …”

    Lennie, for quite sometime you’ve made comments similar to this, but you’ve always stopped short of elaborating on what you mean by this.

    Around six months into my election to the City Council, I realized I’d been “shackled” and then noticed a few other members, were shackled too. I then soon started to notice in a lot of ways, Mayor Joe Ganim was sort of intermittently shackled. Not getting assigned to the powerful City Council committees like Budget and Appropriations or Contracts and Appointments Committee (Bill Finch’s favorite) was a strong hint that you’d been shackled.

    There were about 16 council members who had formed an alliance, I called them “the sweet 16.” They ruled and logrolled. The mayor could not do much unless the majority in the alliance got their way. Joe Ganim had the best interest of the city coming in. Joe Ganim wanted to keep the city moving forward and the political reality was the Sweet 16 could derail his agenda in a heartbeat. Is it something like this you mean, Lennie?

    Joe Ganim will not be played by the City Council members next time around. He know what all his mistakes were and is clued as to the pitfalls. If or when Joe Ganim wins, he will be a strong mayor like none other. I don’t understand all the drama–that’s what it is–from his critics. If Joe Ganim doesn’t get it right in four years, the people could turn him down like they did Finch. Not only are Joe Ganim’s shackles off, the gloves are off and I am in his corner. BINGGGG!

    • Jennifer Buchanan

      Okay Joel, I will give you Joe may have been shackled as you present it, but rather than stay the course, work the system and woo the sweet 16, he got busy and took their part and did the better logroll than any of them combined. Saying he only got caught and not all the guilty parties, so what? He got caught. We are all still paying off that debt today, and not only on $$$ from lost opportunities but also in our collective reputation. I give you he tells a great story, he is a seasoned political pro, and appears to be a very likable man. Voting out of nostalgia for those good old days is just not going to work for me. Have fun out there on the campaign trail Joel, I know you give it your all and enjoy every minute of it.

    • The Bridgeport Kid

      Saying “Joe Ganim only got caught” is to say you have no respect for the law, no concept of right and wrong, you don’t remember anything you were taught in Sunday School.

      Joe Ganim was caught breaking the law. He committed FELONIES, pimped out the office of mayor to support a luxurious lifestyle and the material and financial benefit of his associates. His criminal activity cost the people of the city of Bridgeport more than $200,000,000 in legal costs and fees, lost revenue and tax money that was simply pissed away. Bill Finch, on the other hand, has actually moved the city ahead without lining his own pockets.

      If Joe Ganim  is re-elected, the funding from Hartford and Washington will slow to a trickle before drying up entirely. The city’s sad reputation would be further sullied because the people here chose a crook over progress. Joe Ganim is a crook, end of story.

  • Bob Walsh

    Who ever accused Joel of having too much respect for the law?
    Joel says, now Joe Ganim can rule like a strong mayor!!!
    What world does Joel live on?
    How many of the “Sweet Sixteen” shared in Joe Ganim’s ill-gotten goods? NONE!
    Joe Ganim did as he pleased and the taxpayers paid the price.
    Go away, Joel. Go away, Joe. You just don’t get it.

  • Vale la Pena

    How naive are you, The Bridgeport Kid!!!
    “Bill Finch, on the other hand, has actually moved the city ahead without lining his own pockets.”
    Forty years of tax breaks for nothing in return. Lol.
    Only in your and Steven’s dream world.
    Only after the new mayor takes over we will find out how corrupt this administration really was.

    • Jennifer Buchanan

      More than a few people have filed complaints and requests for investigation with both the FBI and the IRS. They have been investigating for about a year now. No one’s been charged with anything in this administration. I’m not saying they were good, but I’m saying it’s easy to make accusations when you don’t agree with what they do but the proof is in who gets arrested. Joe Ganim has been three steps ahead of Finch in the primary election. That should be proof enough Finch is not clever enough to get away with anything, or at least his infractions are so minor in the eyes of the law there are no charges to press.

  • Andrew C Fardy

    Bob, there were more than a few who benefited from Joe’s illegal activity. Let’s not believe Joe was the only one who benefited.

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