Political Food Fight! Who Looks Better In An Apron, Torres Or Stafstrom?

Torres storekeeper
Torres campaign piece.

A little fun, a little gamesmanship, maybe a little flattery as well has entered the February 24 State House special election race between Democrat Steve Stafstrom and Republican Enrique Torres.

Torres, who operates the popular Harborview Market in Black Rock, is leveraging his business brand with the campaign slogan “The Storekeeper.”

Stafstrom apron
Stafstrom campaign mailer.

In response, Stafstrom issued a campaign mailer of his own touting small business support donning an apron with Fred Kaskowitz, owner of the popular Wood’s End Deli on the West Side. Guess who once operated a deli out of that same space? Yup, Enrique Torres.

The mailer is drawing some howls from the Torres camp.

Maybe the two combatants will settle this matter with a food fight in the final days of the campaign.



    1. Okay John, tonight at the debate Stafstrom had the opportunity more than once to rebut he wanted to repeal the library 1 mil and did not, you still want to vote for him?

      1. Yes, Jennifer I do and yes I haven spoken to Steve about this. However, I do not have to agree with a candidate on every issue to give him or her my support. Overall, I believe Steve is the best candidate and that is why I am supporting him.

        BTW–It was good to see you tonight and I’ll be in touch soon about appearing on your show to discuss all the good stuff going on at the BPL.

        1. I would argue this one issue, which the voters supported, Finch opposed, and your candidate wanted to repeal is more far-reaching in his ability and desire to represent the will of the people and what we support. Very much looking forward to having you on the show, great programs are offered by our libraries and promoting them while they are offered is a great pleasure.

  1. Steve should stay in the kitchen with Pulman and Comley. The issue of conflict of interest should be most important to those who live in Black Rock. Rick has no loyalty to other than his constituents. I can’t say the same for Steve Stafstrom.

  2. Food is too precious in this City and for citizens in parts of Black Rock and the West End to have a fight with. And Lennie has fired up this competition around apron wearers, anyway.

    But what about a fight with facts about taxpayer funds? When Steve served on the City Council, as the June City fiscal year was coming to a close, he and other Council persons were approached by President Tom McCarthy with an idea TO USE CITY FUNDS FROM THEIR LEGISLATIVE BUDGET–NOT FROM THE STIPEND ACCOUNT as some have thought–But from the OTHER SERVICES $90,000 LINE ITEM.
    Many were facing primaries and an election in November. The concept was to be generous to local not-for-profits, a charitable contribution at a political time. Sound illegal? Well the Stipend use agreement makes it such. And the City received no OTHER SERVICES. And the meeting was never promoted by notice, minutes, agenda, etc. But Steve used $1,000 of the $30,000 spent of taxpayer funds. That’s a fact. Why has he never tried to justify? And if you can’t justify, why haven’t he and Sue Brannelly and the other 13 Council persons repaid the City and taken their own charitable contribution?

    Aren’t aprons to be worn when things get messy? And they are often worn in the kitchen where Harry Truman opined: “Can’t stand the heat? Stay out of the kitchen.” Rick Torres respects taxpayer funds too much to be part of such misappropriation activity. And he continues to ask questions of this administration that Steve never asked publicly. Isn’t Torres better qualified for the “hot kitchen” in Hartford? Time will tell.

    1. John,
      All I saw in your post were questions. You keep harping on this issue, so obviously things aren’t going the way you’d like. So how about this radical idea? If you have a call to action, make it! Stop asking questions and try telling people what you’d like them to do, rather than have them try to figure it out for themselves.

      And if you think this is illegal, call 1-800-CALLFBI like they asked you to.

      If you can’t or won’t do these two things, SHUT UP about it and give it a rest.

      1. Booty,
        Why don’t you supply me with Steve’s answer or any one else’s answer, if you are able? I post a lot of questions but a lot of info too. Don’t like repeated questions? Too bad. Try giving me your answer regarding a non-public meeting that spends taxpayer money for personal political use? How do you justify it?

        I have called 1-800-CALLFBI but not just on this one issue but a number of issues where “public servants” are taking care of their own first, and the public, if at all, later.

        So slow answers don’t bother me. They are a sign of people coming to terms with their situation. And if you know anything about me, you can stop telling me to SHUT UP. Perhaps you can skip reading what I write instead. From what you write, it does not seem to be a serious loss in readership. Time will tell.

        1. Hey Booty,
          When you actually do extensive, essential public research for the greater good, as John does, let us know.

          Or perhaps, use your real name and post regarding why you’re against legitimate, evidence-based discussion of substandard governance practices, which we taxpayers in Bridgeport and throughout CT pay for.

          Until then, go stick your booty somewhere else.

          1. John Lee’s oratory skills and attention to detail sometimes polishes his remarks in a way not intended. He is referring to an example of misappropriation of funds in a scheme concocted by council president McCarthy to avoid using their stipends and paying taxes. I say it bluntly and I also wonder why people are not offended by this mindset.

          2. Hi Pete,
            I’m all for “discussion.” But repeating essentially the same post time and time again is not what I call “discussion.” We know the facts, we’ve been told the facts time and time and time again. If someone would like to suggest some specific actions, please do! Maybe that will start some real “discussion.”

            I and many others greatly appreciate John’s research and reporting. But being continually asked “where is the outrage?” is neither useful nor productive. I further state repeating the question without a proposed course of action is downright annoying, and I’d feel the same way if Jesus Christ Himself were to say it.

            So if you really want to know where’s the outrage, how about suggesting an outlet for it? Would someone like to suggest a mandamus lawsuit? A petition? Something???

        2. Why John, I didn’t know you cared!

          For the answers and information you supply, I thank you very much!

          For finally(!) telling us you’ve reported the data you have to the proper authorities, I thank you very much! (After all, why should anyone else do something you yourself won’t do/haven’t done?)

          I still don’t see a call to action, though. What would you specifically like people to do??? As a model of a call to action, look at the corruption task force. They would like anyone with any knowledge of corrupt actions to report those actions to them. It is clear, it is concise, and it is actionable.

          Steve never represented me, and I don’t live in that district. If your call to action is to have all his potential voters ask him that question, try telling them to do that (in a way not using questions).

          If you want my personal answer, here it is for what it’s worth. I have always thought political corruption is wrong, and I have never and will never knowingly vote for anyone participating in actions I believe to be corrupt. I would bet my answer matches the great majority of the people who’ve read that oft-repeated post of yours. Another repetition of that post isn’t going to change my answer. And neither is it going to get me to do anything specific, BECAUSE YOU NEVER ASKED ME TO DO ANYTHING SPECIFIC. Now how does that help you?

          1. First things first … Do you think City Council members voting taxpayer money for charitable purpose in a secret manner for which the City gets no Services (as the line item referenced) in an election year is right or wrong? I don’t think you provided an answer to that. If you don’t identify this as a case of “political corruption,” what is it in your estimation?

            And if you don’t see this as corrupt, how is anything I ask you to do going to work out? Too many questions for you? Sorry …j ust stop reading me. There are enough people who have responded with outrage to this closely held City secret (though I have reported it for over a year now and the CT Post has kept quiet … wonder why?), I likely will mention it from time to time in the future.

            Why not tell us what amounts to political corruption in your book? Time will tell.

  3. I think Rick Torres looks better in the apron. However, I think Stafstrom’s mailer was brilliant. Rick, cut your hair! If the city is going in the direction of getting rid of conflict of interest scenarios, then Stafstrom could be in trouble.

  4. Although I do not agree with much of what Rick Torres states, I personally find it offensive that someone that has resided in Bridgeport for approximately two years feels they are the best individual to represent the interests of thousands of Bridgeport residents that have real roots in the Bridgeport community.

    In addition, the very inherent conflict of interest he represents should really give pause to those that are considering voting for him. I honestly don’t know how those that support the end to conflict of interests that Jack Hennessey is trying to address through legislation can also support John, I mean Steve Stafstrom as their state rep.

    Just my thoughts.

  5. Lennie,
    Is it true Stafstrom just became a Democrat a few years ago? If it is then that’s disgusting. How does that work?
    1) Become a Democrat
    2) Move to Bridgeport
    3) Immediately join the City Council
    4) Don’t get reelected
    5) Run as a Dem for State Rep.
    Talk about a sense of entitlement …

    1. I think Steve’s voting record places him in Bridgeport for at least seven years. Look it up.
      And check it out–he is entitled to run for State Rep, too! What a country! Who’d’a thunk the laws in the State and country would be so outrageous as to allow someone who lives in a district to run for office there? Yes siree, that sense of entitlement is really kicking in.


      1. Bond Girl,
        With all your savvy, perhaps you can get Steve to answer the question I ask for his charitable contribution, or political use of taxpayer funds, or secret meeting action. Whatever … it does not get better from going unanswered.

        In the past I had a different connection in mind when considering your nom de plume. However, in promoting Steve Stafstrom employed by Pullman Comley with their multiple representations of City activities including long-term debt financing, I see where BOND Girl is truly derived. Perhaps you can help secure some of the City bond information I (foolishly, it appears) assumed would be housed in the City Clerk office. Not there! I am directed to the Law Firm and a specific attorney who has at least four messages requesting a call. It seems almost more protective than writing an FOI request. With an FOI request you get a letter from the City in about four days. A phone call left for response from a Bridgeport taxpayer gets you ignored, it seems. Time will tell.

        1. Nope, you are wrong about the handle. As for the rest of your inquiry, I have no idea, I am not Steve Stafstrom. I am not his keeper, nor his mouthpiece. I am not here to post personal opinions about candidates and I am not here to defame candidates.

          I simply responded to Mr. Walsh whose information and post was inaccurate.

          1. Bond Girl,
            Good to know you are “not here [posting on OIB] to post personal opinions about candidates … [or] to defame candidates.”

            You’re a better person than I.

            Full disclosure:
            1. I’ve collected sigs for Ed Gomes this election and have volunteered to work a polling place for his campaign on Tuesday.

            2. I will vote for Bob Keeley for state rep.

            Steve Stafstrom is far from the world’s worst person. Same goes for all the candidates running for Grogins’ seat–despite some of the mailers Stafstrom has approved against Torres. Stafstrom’s anti-Torres mailers don’t show me a bright new way in politics; they mostly reflect an uncreative commitment to same-old same-old political pabulum. No?

            With all the shenanigans the Finch Administration gets away with in serving the interests of a few at the cost of the many, with quite a bit of cover from the majority in Hartford, here’s why I will vote for Bob Keeley:
            If/when the state needs to hold Mayor Finch’s feet to the fire to follow a law, regulation, or requirement (e.g., meeting the state-mandated “Minimum Budget Requirement” for the public school budget), I need a state rep who will stand up for the law and for Bridgeport, especially for the neediest of the neediest who rely on the public schools as their children’s way to a less bleak future.

            I don’t need a state rep who will give nuanced lawyerly hot air about parents’ choice and children’s zip codes; I need someone who can and will say, “Mayor, we must have the city do what every other municipality in the state is doing for its school children or there will be serious consequences.” (BTW, the subtext when you hear “choice” for schools from the smarmy set is this: Charters are Governor Malloy’s big-money donors’ passion in life; I’m a well-oiled cog in the Malloy works; it is my duty to smile and say I don’t know what you’re talking about.)

            We don’t need a state rep who may have to first check whether being tough with the Finch Administration about doing what’s right for the people of the city–and by extension, the state, since it is our financial parent–will rock the boat for his law firm handling cases for the Finch Administration.

            I believed Steve Stafstrom last night at the candidates’ Q&A, where he said he doesn’t currently handle cases involving the state. Will that always be true? What about cases involving the city? What then? Did Steve Stafstrom ever recuse himself from a vote while serving on the City Council?

            I want a state rep who has the independence, toughness, and experience to lead and to take the side of the argument the evidence most supports … and most supports the public interest.

            I also want a state rep who has a record of bringing back essential state funding to Bridgeport. I don’t want someone who’ll go up there and be a political leper delivering speeches on the evils of corruption. This legislative work does not seem to be Messianic work. We need competence, experience, diplomacy, and independence.

            I don’t want someone who’ll go up there and be only a YES man. I don’t want someone who’ll go up there and be mostly a NO man.

  6. The choice before us has been narrowed to this question: In whose hands, is the welfare and safety of Bridgeport’s people likely to be more secure during the critical test that lies ahead?

    My vote goes to Hector Diaz!
    Re-elect Hector Diaz for the 129th!

  7. Sack of shit.

    This guy is so weak he needs to rip off the opposition’s mailer? What in God’s name do you think he will do in Hartford? Steve Stafstrom will NEVER be or understand Bridgeport or the incredibly vibrant community that commits itself to excellence every day. I’m sorry but this kid is way way out of his league on this one. He’s a Fairfielder whose only purpose is to do the bidding of his uncle John. Hell, just watch him. Clearly uncomfortable. This election is about accountability and honesty. The kid may be honest, and I’ll give him that, but accountability??? Not so much … he is and always will be owned by his uncle’s law firm of Pullman Comley. The most crooked, connected, dialed-in political law firm in the State.

    Sorry Steve, family name kinda screws you here. Move back to Fairfield where you and your commuting wife to NYC will be far happier. The battles of Bridgeport should be among those who reside in the community, and not those who are just here to play the game.

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