One Happy Political Family, Plus: New Downtown Director

Do you have an extra $500 hanging around? If so, Mayor Bill Finch is throwing a little party March 19 at Testo’s Restaurant.

Hizzoner is beginning the process to load up the campaign treasury for 2011. And why not? He controls the candy store, although there’s not as much sugar to go around. Still, he’s the mayor and it’s a good time to bulge the campaign account two years before the next campaign cycle begins.

The mayor is doing a little juggling act maintaining his relationships with former party chairman John Stafstrom and current leader Mario Testa so throwing the fundraiser at Mario’s restaurant is a good thing to keep up appearances that the party is one big happy family even though it’s more like sticking needles in each other’s voodoo doll.

The interplay between Stafstrom and Mario is always remarkable, has been for years. They chat only when they have to and sometimes it’s like a deep freeze blowin’ in from Antarctica. Stafstrom introduced Finch at the mayor’s State of the City address to the business community the other day. John is a big player in the business sector as a partner in the respected law firm Pullman & Comley, the city’s bond counsel.

Stafstrom introduces Finch while Mario, as party chair, sits nearby as a guest of the mayor. Stafstrom and Mario are both smart pols. That’s part of doing mayoral business. John introduces me, and then I throw an event at Mario’s restaurant. And, maybe, Mario will sell a few tickets. (He can sell a whole bunch if wants to.)

Maybe they’ll raise some extra slush in the campaign account in lieu of the mayor spending $11,000 traveling on city business as Bill Cummings from the CT Post chronicled on Sunday. The mayor attending government conferences to build relationships that can help the city is legit. It’s when he spends $500 for a hotel room at a time the city’s suffering financially and eliminating jobs that drives voters crazy.

Maybe I’ll crash the mayor’s party March 19 before attending the Art Garfunkel concert at the Klein that night. Can’t wait to hear him sing Bridge Over Troubled Water. Maybe I can persuade Stafstrom amd Mario to sing that together at the mayor’s fundraiser. That would be some high note.

Mo and I dined at Épernay Saturday night. That whole restaurant district on Fairfield Avenue that includes Épernay, Café Roma, Two Boots and Joseph’s Steakhouse was jammin’. Nice to see the activity. There’s also a new coffee house next to Épernay. Good stuff.

Special Service Director

The Downtown Special Services District has hired a new director to oversee clean-up, security and marketing of the central business district. This is the position previously occupied by recently dethroned state representative Bob Keeley who took a city teaching position. The new guy will be paid $65K. See DSSD news release below.

Bridgeport’s Downtown Special Services District Hires New Managing Director

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. – February 16, 2009 – Bridgeport’s Downtown Special Services District (DSSD) is pleased to announce the hiring of Rick Myers as managing director effective March 2, 2009. Myers brings more than 12 years of experience in the planning, administration and execution of successful community relations and business development programs. A resident of Stratford, he most recently served as executive director of Wallingford Center, Inc.

“We are very excited to bring Rick’s enthusiasm and creativity to the DSSD,” said David Levine, DSSD Vice Chairman and Chair of the search committee that hired Myers. “Our search committee was very impressed with his emphasis on making the downtown attractive and inviting. He joins us at a moment in our renaissance when desirable housing opportunities and great new restaurants are popping up throughout the downtown and folks from all around the county are discovering what Downtown Bridgeport has to offer.”

As executive director for Wallingford Center, Inc. since 2005, a nonprofit business improvement district similar in mission to the DSSD, Myers spearheaded efforts to enhance the restoration, preservation, revitalization, and utilization of the town’s central business district. He had a broad range of responsibilities ranging from public relations liaison and coordinating outdoor concert series and street festivals to recruiting new businesses, facilitating educational workshops, and developing long term financial planning strategies.

Prior to that, Myers served as director of operations for Keep Stamford Beautiful, Inc. for seven years. Myers oversaw and directed the nonprofit environmental organization from start-up to operability, with responsibility for all aspects of day-to-day management and fundraising. He supervised groups of up to 500 volunteers and established neighborhood associations to address litter, graffiti and beautification projects for their areas. In addition, he secured Fortune 500 sponsorships and federal, state, city, and private grant funding while also serving as the communications and marketing director for the organization.

Myers spent the early years of his career in Bridgeport, Conn. first as executive director for Bridgeport Neighborhood Housing Services for six years and then a year as a general contractor restoring an historic row house in compliance with Connecticut Preservation Trust and City of Bridgeport historic guidelines.

“It’s an exciting time to be joining the Bridgeport DSSD team. Opportunities abound in the district as historic buildings are converted into unique condominium units in conjunction with the restoration of the Arcade which will add valuable retail space to the downtown. Also, the district has seen a swell in the number of upscale restaurants that have recently opened their doors to complement the existing performing arts centers, museum, community college and sports complex which are all contributing factors in a successful downtown. Five years from now, we will be a different downtown, and five years from then, we will be another different downtown.”

The goals and purposes of the DSSD include promoting the general welfare of the citizens and property owners of the City’s central business district through the preservation, enhancement, protection, and development of the economic health of the downtown. The DSSD uses public and private funds to assist the City’s downtown revitalization program and to maintain physical, economic, and social improvements to the District.

For more information about downtown Bridgeport, visit



  1. Lennie thanks for the information. It just so happens that I am free that night. I think I will go sit at the bar and take stock of who shows up for this gathering of the swell people. I would expect all of the appointees will be buying tickets. I would expect DiNardo will buy a table which means more than one councilmen will be there for free. I would expect a few of the land-use attorneys will be there as they owe Finch. Robles should have at least 1 and maybe 2 tables. Scinto (Bob) should have a table. This gathering has got to be better than anything on TV that night.

  2. Interesting that March 19th is St. Joseph’s Feast Day and the anniversary of the not-so-St. Joseph Ganim being found guilty in 2003. I’m wondering if Luigi’s will be supplying the Zeppole? I’ll have to settle for a St. Joseph aspirin for my ticker.

  3. *** Maybe next time the Mayor will have a Masquerade fundraiser without the Masks! *** I’m sure 50% of the guests will have gotten a free ticket, with a few pretenders on the sidelines jockeying for position like always. ***

  4. For someone who doesn’t get along with the mayor, Mario still has a lot of juice with this administration. His girlfriend Rosemarie Hoyt should have retired a long time ago. But she continues to collect her $60K+ and does nothing. I hope the NAACP lawsuit comes to light very soon. They seem to be gathering momentum as others of a non-Caucasian persuasion are speaking up about discriminatory behavior at the Eisenhower Center. You’d think the mayor would be embarrassed by something like this or at least look into it. But Rose can do anything and they all look the other way. Not this time my friend. Not this time.

    Mario is still calling the shots. I don’t think it’s any different than the last two administrations. It’s politics as usual. Rose is a perfect example.

    1. I’ve been wondering about Rosemarie Hoyt, actually. Why is this person overseeing elderly services when she doesn’t have a clue? She acts as if Eisenhower Center were her own personal fiefdom. Whenever someone enters her domain without permission she calls up Sonny Boy the Bridgeport Police Sergeant (on his cellphone and never through the BPD switchboard, a clear violation of department policy) and he comes a-runnin’ to arrest whoever it is that Mommy Dearest is displeased with. What’s up with that shit?!

  5. The coffee house on lower Fairfield Avenue is Las Vetas, owned and operated by the folks at Las Vetas Lounge on the corner of Post Road and Sanford Street (scene of a highly toxic wing sauce spill recently) in Fairfield. Andrew Cassavetas, the proprietor, is an all-around good egg. He runs a spiffy java joint, lots of good coffee, lots of tropical smoothies, excellent pastries, all at an affordable price. Good luck to him!

  6. I would give good odds that the FBI and the U.S. Attorney’s office will be taking an interest in the fund-raising party at Testo’s on 3/19, as they should. The Bridgeport Democratic Town Committee is a criminal organization. Have ANY of their endorsed candidates done anything positive for the people of the city of Bridgeport? Oh sure, Joe Ganim got the ball park and the arena built, had a bunch of blighted properties torn down, handed a contract to Ganim’s Flowers in Fairfield to “beautify” the city. Big deal–he was convicted of racketeering and went inside for all day. A crook is a crook is a crook. Then it was Johnny Fabs’ turn. He got the job by accident. What did Johnny Boy do? Told us everything is great and conned most of the people into believing it with a budget that was balanced by léger-de-main bookkeeping practices. Oh, and he admitted to snorting cocaine and getting liquored up on the job, but only under duress after the news was leaked by the U.S. Attorney’s office (if you believe that was an accident I’ve got a bridge in Brooklyn, New York, I’d like to sell, no money down). Now we have Bill Finch, a man who epitomizes the Harvey Milquetoast GQ style, a man with about as much substance as cotton candy. I can imagine the appeals that Stafstrom and Testa made: “We need you to run for mayor. That troll Caruso is going to rain on our parade, put a turd in the punch bowl! Pleeease, Bill, help us, we’re desperate! We’ll make it worth your while …”

  7. Somewhere along the way the Bridgeport Democratic Town Committee lost sight of the party’s ideals and goals. It has become an organization concerned solely with advancing the interests of its members. If that is at the expense of the other 149,900 people that call Bridgeport home, what does the DTC care? None of those people are members of the organization. Nonprofit groups like ACORN and the NAACP are doing more to improve the quality of life in the Park City than the DTC is capable of at this point. The DTC is primarily concerned with its own survival at this point. It is time for this oppressive, self-interested and corrupt organization to be dissolved. We’ve had enough.

    Barack Obama’s electoral win bodes well for everyone. The President’s focus on improving life for those of us that reside in urban centers most likely encompasses rooting out corrupt political organizations that enrich themselves at the public’s expense. There ought to be little doubt that the U.S. Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation are still sniffing around City Hall on Lyon’s Terrace. With the help of God and the RICO statutes, maybe the Feds will finally be able to remove this foul entity root and branch.

  8. Bpt Kid; Just once I wish you would know what you are talking about. Who the hell gave you all the insight as to the DTC being a criminal organization? I am not a criminal, I don’t work for the city, no relatives work for the city and I did not endorse Finch. For your information it was Stafstrom who worked to get Finch elected not Testa. As far as Rose Hoyt how many times did she call her sgt. son and how many people have been arrested by him or any other police officer?
    What this sounds like is an attack from a group in Black Rock who want a certain politician’s wife to head the program that Hoyt now heads. I suggest the next time you trolls meet you tell this women to step forward and present any charges she may have. She should do this instead of sending you to the blog with misinformation and BS.
    BTW don’t you think the Feds would have already acted if they had anything to act on?

    1. The Feds are occupied with making several drug-trafficking conspiracy cases, in case you haven’t been keeping up on current events. We have a new Attorney General, Eric Holder. After graduating from law school, Holder joined the U.S. Justice Department’s then-new Public Integrity Section during an interval lasting from 1976 to 1988. While serving in that position he was involved in the prosecution of Congressman John Jenrette, who was convicted of bribery in the wake of the Abscam investigation. Holder then served as U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia, the first African American to occupy that office. In that capacity he prosecuted Dan Rostenkowski in the U.S. Post Office scandal. Jenrette (whose sexual escapade with then-wife Rita provided the name for the comedy troupe Capitol Steps) served thirteen months in prison; Rostenkowski served fifteen before receiving a pardon from President Clinton. This man doesn’t hold much truck with corrupt politicians. I don’t think the President does either, especially not at the expense of taxpayers and the less fortunate.

      I’m here as an individual, not at anyone’s behest. Rose Hoyt has lunch at Eisenhower center every day with her son the non-commisioned-rank police officer. A few people have been threatened with arrest for “disturbing” Ms. Hoyt. It is impossible to remove her from office, however. Johnny Fabulous made sure that could never happen by signing his name to an executive order. So now the city’s elderly are stuck with an incompetent administrator. As for “a group in Black Rock who want a certain politician’s wife to head the program,” eh, I have nothing but antipathy for them. I know exactly who you are referring to. It is not a politician, just a DTC hack with an inflated opinion of his own worth.

  9. The Bridgeport Kid is right on the money. Rose’s cop son was called to the Eisenhower on a regular basis. Every time she had an argument with an employee or a senior (which was often) she’d call him on his cell and he’d come running. This is against PD policy as the calls are supposed to come through the dispatcher. Now he’s not around as much and I hear that Gaudett transferred him to the night shift. The point here is that Rose does not have the ability to perform the job. We are the biggest city in the state and the Eisenhower is the biggest senior center in the city. It should be bursting at the seams with seniors. No one goes there because Rose is so negative and nasty towards everyone, especially if you are a person of color. Ask the veterans why they moved out. It’s because Rose verbally abused them and called her son the cop on them many times. She is there to serve people and instead she kicks people out and has them arrested. And I know the person from Black Rock and she would do a damn good job as Dept of Aging Director. She cares about people and is very creative and energetic. She is exactly the kind of person we need to lead that center. And she wouldn’t discriminate either.

  10. Joel …

    In your case, if someone were to suggest that you were a bird brain, it would be complimentary. You see, the size of the brain of a bird is significantly bigger than yours.

  11. I just read Bridgeport’s list of projects under the stimulus package. Talk about everything but the kitchen sink! So my question is: if we get some money, who prioritizes which projects get done? I have nothing against McGivney, PAL and the Shehan Center, but they would NOT be on my list of priorities. Does anyone know who picks? And let’s hope and pray that we get at least a few of these projects off the ground.

  12. Bridgeport Kid: You really don’t have a clue do you. You cite the totally corrupt Acorn Group as doing something good for Bridgeport. Just what is it they have done? If they have done any good it will be the first time in their history.
    If you have had enough of the DTC get 9 people to primary the group in your neighborhood and start to change things. You and I know that won’t happen because it would mean you had to do some work. You know it’s a lot easier to bitch and moan on the computer than it is to make changes.
    If Holder is the man you say he is nothing has been happening to date as it relates to crooked politicians. BTW the Attorney General does not investigate anything it is his investigators that do the work. You can bet if there were a whiff of corruption they would have been on it already.

    1. *** Don’t sweat it T/C, it’s only personal opinions that “most” times are only fueled by outside rumors or personal grudges rather than “true facts”! As long as they don’t personally disrespect you & yours or character; then what’s said on this forum behind a blog (mask name) is “sometimes” nothing more than an inner need for attention. Remember, there’s always much more to a book than just its cover! ***

    2. Building a RICO case takes time. U.S. Attorneys want something ironclad to present to a jury. How many people went down with Joe Ganim’s sinking ship? You fail to note that there was a shift change or two at Justice during the Bush Lite administration. Obama appears to be of the same bolt as Clinton: hire nonpartisan career bureaucrats to perform the important governmental tasks. Holder’s only had the office for a short time; it will be a little while before he gets it all sorted out.

      I mean no disrespect toward any members of the Bridgeport DTC that are honest, hard-working and idealistic. The Committee’s leadership has led it–and the city–down the wrong path. Fairfield County Bank opened a branch on Madison Avenue. The zoning process took so long that the bank was operating out of a trailer for months. Why did it take so long? Because of all the greedy palms that demanded greasing; from city hall on down to the local alderman to the DTC district leader to the self-important avaricious nincompoops on the various zoning committees. Everyone wanted their little taste. 52% of all taxable real estate within Bridgeport city limits is owned by the city of Bridgeport. Interested parties could purchase some of this property for a very good price, but it will become a money pit as soon as the purchaser submits a development plan. The demand for payoffs is so prevalent in Bridgeport that the city actually scares away potential developers.

  13. TC, I am not biased but I have seen other employees disciplined or even fired for a lot less. But I will let up. It is what it is. The politics in this city have reached an all-time awful and there’s no changing them. If you are protected by Mario then you are untouchable no matter what you do or don’t do. Maybe I’ll follow Joel and join the Republican party.

  14. So you would like a job in the City of Bpt? This is what you do. Go to the Package Store. Buy the best bottle of booze you can find. Make sure it comes in one of those fancy boxes. Remove bottle. Fill box with cash. At least a grand or two. Drop off at Madison and Westfield Ave. Bada-Bing you gotta job! Most likely in Board of Ed. during these hard times!

  15. Local Eyes: I wish all of the projects listed for Bridgeport were in fact covered under the stimulus plan but they are not. Here is the breakdown in money that the State of Connecticut received under the Obama Stimulus Plan:
    1. $One Billion to Medicaid Fund (No New Jobs)
    2. $300 Million for Bridge & Highway Construction. Not really a lot of money when you consider the Congress St. Bridge will cost in excess of $40 million to replace or about 12% of the $300 Million.
    3. $175 Million for transit projects whatever that means
    4. $136 million for special education. JOBS?
    5. $545 million for fiscal stabilization to protect a select group of employees. How many jobs does this save or add to the job rolls?
    6. $48 Million for clean water. How many jobs does this add?
    This is the total package for the entire state so as you can see there is no way it will cover Bridgeport’s needs when it has to cover 169 towns and the governor doles out the money.The total I think is 3.3 Billion.


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