Sour Note From Mother Rellish, Plus: Opus To The Council, And Package Peeps

Yowser! After watching Gov. Jodi Rell’s we’re-strong-but-screwed speech on Monday two things occurred to me: she’s going to flame entire state departments and dramatically scalpel state assistance to cities and towns.

When you vow not to increase taxes in a bleeding economy there’s no other choice but to fire up the blowtorch.

Every mayor in the Nutmeg State is heading to the liquor cabinet for some comfort. The easiest thing for a governor to do is say we all must cut our budgets. I cut here, you cut there, they cut at home: next case. Easier said than done. She cuts up there and Mayor Bill Finch says why the frig did I take this job! He’s torn between more cuts and another tax increase, or a combination of the two. Mother Rellish will reveal the bone-cutting on Wednesday.

Booze Cruise

I’m going to start hanging out with City Council members Jim Holloway and Rich Paoletto. They seem to have the most fun, at least when it comes to food and drink.

Connecticut Post reporter Bill Cummings wrote a hysterical piece about the expenditures City Council members report regarding their annual $9,000 stipend expense.

Good Jim Beaming Holloway enjoys his shots and beer. Jim always has a good story or two to tell, holding court at Testo’s Restaurant where Democratic Town Chair Mario Testa pounds out deals and menu meat.

The council’s living-legend cheapskate Bob Troll Walsh spent not a penny of his stipend money, as well as other council members. Troll, in fact, wants to do away with the entire stipend. Spoken like a true accountant.

I’m the last person to criticize anyone for spending money on food and drink.

Shoot, I had some unforgettable days when Joe Ganim had to schmooze members of the council and city’s legislative delegation. I’d get the call. “Lennie, I need a sponsor. I’m meeting with Keeley,” he’d say referring to that indomitable state representative Bob Keeley, now a city schoolteacher. “How about Morton’s in Stamford?”

“Damn, Joe, Keeley eats too much.”

“Lennie, don’t you have a client coming to see me tomorrow about something?”

That was Joe’s way of saying, take me out or I’m canceling the meeting. We went out.

And along the way you never knew whom Joe would invite to the party. A few more council members, a few more state legislators. Pretty soon, Morton’s calling in extra help. Joe and company order lamb chops, steaks, lobsters, Opus One. Then another Opus, and another and then oops, the bill is four figures.

When the check arrived Joe had this recurring gag; he’d lean a little to the right, slip his hand in his pocket and pull out a dollar or two like he was going to pay, then push the crumbs back into his pocket.

I used to love those few lunches and dinners we had with State Rep. Chris Caruso. Diner food is easy. Maybe a few pastries from Luigi’s. Priceless!

That’s All They Got?

News release from the state Department of Consumer Protection

Compliance Checks in Bridgeport Identify 36 Stores That Sold to Minors

HARTFORD, February 2 – Department of Consumer Protection liquor control agents, working with officers from the Bridgeport Police Department’s Selective Enforcement Team and volunteer minors provided by the Governor’s Prevention Partnership, conducted compliance checks in Bridgeport this past weekend at 138 package stores and grocery stores in that city. Thirty-six (36) stores failed by making unlawful sales of alcohol to minors, Consumer Protection Commissioner Jerry Farrell, Jr. said today.

On Friday, January 30th, from 4:30pm to 9:00 pm, 58 stores were tested for compliance and 13 failed by selling to one of the minors provided by the Governor’s Prevention Partnership.

On Saturday, January 31st, from 1:00pm to 7:00 pm, 80 stores were tested for compliance and 23 failed by selling to one of the minors provided by the Governor’s Prevention Partnership.

The package stores and grocery stores that failed the weekend compliance tests are:

· Bridgeport Variety Plus, 1382 Park Avenue
· Los Primos Grocery Store, 64 Roosevelt Street
· Pembroke Variety, 582 Pembroke Street
· New In Town Grocery and Deli, 1218 East Main Street
· Bonita Chef Louie, 1601 Fairfield Avenue
· Park Avenue Supermarket, 375 Park Avenue
· Sapiao’s Grocery Store, 351 Lexington Avenue
· Emily Market, 818 Noble Avenue
· Los Primos Deli Grocery #3, 731 Noble Avenue
· Neighborhood Variety, 179 Newfield Avenue
· Junco 4, 891 Noble Avenue
· T-Market, 1482 Reservoir Avenue,
· Fine Fare Supermarket, 2251 Main Street
· Lou’s Food, 1255 Madison Avenue
· Nick’s Grocery, 3018 Fairfield Avenue
· Sylvan Variety and Deli Store, 1020 Sylvan Avenue
· J & S Deli and Luncheon, 2099 East Main Street
· Junco Supermarket II, 27 Highland Avenue
· LaPrimera Grocery, 1615 Park Avenue
· Walnut Groceries, 204 Walnut Street
· Conchitas Grocery, 127 Lewis Street
· A & P Super Foodmart, 1700 Park Avenue
· Pueblo Super Market, 420 Pembroke Street
· Dew Drop Inn Deli, 1050 Brooklawn Avenue
· Sunshine Deli and Grocery, 878 Reservoir Avenue
· George’s Deli, 2509 Main Street
· East Main Liquor Store, 1157 East Main Street
· Jimmy’s Discount Liquor, 1312 Stratford Avenue
· Granfield Liquor, 326 Granfield Avenue
· L & A Liquor, 1506 Stratford Avenue
· East End Package Store, 1153 Stratford Avenue
· Boston Package Store, 874 Boston Avenue
· King Discount Liquor, 1818 Barnum Avenue
· Seaside Liquor, 320 Iranistan Avenue
· Campus Package Store, 378 Park Avenue
· Brookside Package Store, 4555 Main Street

“We routinely conduct these alcohol compliance checks in town and cities statewide because we find them useful in helping to identify licensed or permitted locations that are selling alcoholic beverages to minors,” Farrell said. However, the Commissioner added, compliance checks are not intended to hurt local businesses.

“In no way do we trick or entice establishments to sell alcoholic beverages to youth,” Farrell said. “If asked for proof of age before making a liquor purchase, the youth will hand over his or her actual ID. Our objective is to find those businesses that are selling to minors and bring them into compliance with state law.”

“We sincerely thank Acting Chief Joseph Gaudett and the officers of the Bridgeport Police Department, and the Governor’s Prevention for their support and assistance in undertaking an operation of this scope and magnitude,” Commissioner Farrell said.

The failed establishments are charged with selling liquor to a minor and will be brought before the Liquor Control Commission for an administrative hearing, at which time each will have the opportunity to address the charges.



  1. No Surprise Silva and Blunt spent their money on dinners … Looks like Career Resources isn’t paying Silva and his son enough to afford eating out … And of course Warren Blunt, Environmental Health Director, I guess he just eats out to make sure the restaurants are up to code, nice patronage job a salary and paid dinners …

    As for Paoletto and his $3,500 on cell phone expenses … He must be paying the bill for his babycakes Librarian …

    No surprise McCarthy didn’t touch his stipend, who needs $9k when you make $90k??? Maybe Cummings should have taken a look into reimbursements McCarthy submitted through his employed position, same for Holloway, Blunt and the others that work for the City …

    1. Celia Cruz, who is the babycakes librarian, haven’t heard that one … it makes me sick to think that his cell phone bill was that high–WHAT THE HELL?!?!?!

  2. I think the stipend issue warrants a serious review and revision. I can understand providing refreshments when you are meeting with your constituents. But why should a councilman be allowed to sit at the bar at Testo’s and spend thousands of dollars on his personal food and drink? Just ridiculous. Reminds me of Fabrizi and his infamous jaunts to Port Jeff and Little Italy. All were “business related” and paid through your tax dollars in accounts hidden by Tom Sherwood.

    And Lennie, you asked for a rumor and I have one. Of course my rumors are always supported by fact.

    A few weeks ago at a NAGE meeting someone said that the Tax Collectors Office was holding $5 million in checks and cash in the vault. The person said that the city (Sherwood) ordered that the revenues not be deposited because he wanted to make the deficit seem worse than it really is in order to get more concessions from the unions.

    I thought the Tax Office must be short-staffed and they haven’t had the chance to make a deposit. Then yesterday on WICC, I heard a caller tell the mayor that she paid her taxes 3 weeks ago and her checks haven’t cleared yet. Now I’m wondering “what the hell is going on?” What is the interest on $5 million and if you have that much wouldn’t you bring a few people in on OT just to make the deposit???

  3. Nice find Smoker. I’d love to hear the explanation for the delay in depositing those checks, etc.

    I also would like an explanation as to why the Chief of the Fire Department has three (yes, 3) vehicles. A Ford Crown Victoria, a Chevy Suburban and a NEW Hybrid (or is it High Bird?) Toyota Prius! Talk about a WTF!

  4. So that’s where my tax checks ended up; hidden, locked away, not cashed and me left to wonder why my checkbook accounting is screwed up. Thanks Moonbeam.

    Shifty Sal DiNardo, I wonder if your tax payment is there too? Anyway you can use this as a new excuse.

  5. Well I see my council person from the 138th Rich Paoletto managed to spend all of his $9,000 stipend. Was this his way of saying goodbye?
    I mean $3,500 for a cellphone is outrageous. I know his cellphone does everything a cellphone could do but what’s wrong with the basic cellphone? $3,000 for food? Who did he spend that money on? As far as I know it was not his town committee or his constituents.
    Living in this same neighborhood for over 60 years it is sad to see what has happened to a once quiet and beautiful neighborhood.
    To say that we are a forgotten area is an understatement. We are not part of the East Side is an understatement. We are not part of the North End. We are just forgotten about when budgets and maintenance schedules are made up. Just drive through our roadways and you would think they were mortared on a regular basis.
    We have become the haven for unregistered autos. I have never seen so many unregistered autos parked on people’s front lawns. We are also a great place to park your large dump truck or you commercial vehicles as no one will do anything about it. Now we have roofing and siding materials being delivered to a 2-family dwelling and stored in the yard until the roofer tenant needs them.
    We have been the scene of six armed robberies in the past year yet we never see a police car patrolling, well almost never. Last week I saw one on my street and watched as he discovered it was a dead-end street; boy was that officer pissed.
    The point of all this is when you complain and offer suggestions to our council people we get told how busy they are and why don’t we call it in. We up here stopped calling because nobody comes or if they do come we get lip service. May I suggest less time on the telephone and less time eating on our dime and more time driving around the neighborhood and getting the proper departments off their collective asses?
    The winds of change are coming.

    1. “The winds of change are coming.” I hope so. It’s nigh well time. The DTC, under the stewardship of Mario Testa, put Joe Ganim into office. He did get a few things done, it should be pointed out: Harbor Yard, the baseball stadium, removing blighted buildings, etc. But he was a crook. And he was a member of a corrupt organization. The crook is gone, but the corrupt organization remains. The best interests of the people of the city of Bridgeport should and must be put on the agenda. The political machine than runs this town is only concerned with the enrichment of its members and the survival of the organization. Chris Caruso lost the primary in ’07 by 170-some votes. That’s not a big margin. His message struck a resonant chord with a few of the voters. Maybe the DTC is losing its hold. Let’s pray that’s the case.

  6. $3,500.00 for a cellphone bill? What kind of shit is that? Spending city funds on a cell phone bill and restaurant tabs is a bit much. There are plenty of restaurants owned and operated by members of the DTC, including Big Daddy Mario’s joint. He could feed ’em for free, or maybe he charges the aldermen so that Bridgeport tax dollars continue to flow into his bank account.

    From what I’ve seen, Bob Walsh is the only independent thinker on the City Council, completely unbeholden to the DTC. Good for him. He ought to run for mayor. His accountant’s background would be put to good use when it comes to trimming the fat from the city’s budget.

  7. It’s sad to see Bridgeport from I-95. Y’know, northbound to New Haven? Steel Point looks like Gulliver’s armpit. I’m reminded of an old Warner Brothers cartoon about fleas on a dog. The dog’s hair follicles look like trees, and the fleas set up housekeeping, stringing a hammock between two hairs, building a house, etc. Steel Point reminds me of that. That house sitting there in the middle of a weed-choked field, the only inhabitants pigeons and wharf rats. Your tax dollars at work.

    The city owns all of that land. Why, for the love of God? It will not be developed. Neither will that chunk over by Harbor Yard that Earvin Johnson glanced at. The city bought up the land so that the previous owners could make a few bucks. It was at the taxpayers’ expense, but so what? They were friends of Mario, they were friends of Joe Ganim, they were friends of the DTC. Sal DiNardo is one of those “friends.” so are the D’Addario people. They both received forgiveness of massive delinquent tax bills, large amounts of money the city could’ve used to pay off its debt. But that would’ve made too much sense, would’ve been too practical, so the song was “Hi ho, hi ho, away the tax bucks go…”

  8. *** Once again, I believe that the red ink is not as red as outside the box rumor believers keep hearing & believing! Whether you feel that the last budget in the Fabrizi Admin. was a bad one or not, and it was posted on the city website for a year. I still have my doubts on just how bad the Finch Admin. make things “still” sound? City election year is coming & the Finch Admin. needs certain council members they can work with, so a tax cushion of some sort would be in order. The next budget for 2010 should give some better insight; however it has to be looked at & understood first, before naive blanket opinions are made! *** Also “OIB”, I think the time has come to send an understandable message to all that Bpt. is not that big & sometimes in life you have to reap what you sow! Sometimes you need to shake the tree enough ’til what you want falls out. ***

  9. Tonight on “Bridgeport Now” LIVE Tuesdays at 8pm on Ch 77

    You saw the article in the CT Post. City Council stipends and who spent it and how.

    Here’s our proposal. Make the city council spend the money only in Bridgeport. As leaders, let’s have them assist the Downtown Implementation Task Force in bringing people into the city.

    Also, Charles Brilvitch on history, Bob Halstead on other developments.


  10. These stipend figures are very disturbing. How do Holloway, Paoletto and Silva justify spending $9,000? Just what the hell have they been doing for the city and for their constituents? AmyMarie used $0 dollars and yet manages to E-mail her constituents about various meetings, closings and other activities. How is this possible? I know. She does not use the $9,000 as a personal bank account. One council person told me that because they use their cars to ride around their districts and don’t get gas money they are entitled to something.
    I know they put in for various training sessions scheduled round the country. If only they learned something when they went to these conferences.
    Look, with a few exceptions such as AmyMarie, Michele Lyons, Bob Walsh, most of the rest of these council people should be replaced. They are not looking out for the taxpayers and have not questioned one thing this regressive administration has done.

  11. Wondering- Carlos Silva=Nobody, Holloway=Drunk and Paoletto=Joke.

    Mojo- as far as your last budget is concerned let’s not be fooled. Even though you used outside counsel all you did was have Sherwood cook up the budget and pass it along as your own. Please do us all a favor and use spell check. Using # and ! and $ and *** is really stupid and shows you …

    a) are not smart
    b) were dropped on your head when you were a child
    c) were dropped on your head when you were an adult
    d) are just not that smart let’s face it.

  12. Dewars, you are really hard on Mojo. It’s one thing to knock someone in office but when he’s out of power we should have more compassion, no matter how he answers your question or was part of the problem … besides, he’s kinda cute!

    News of the day, Malloy announces his run for Gov. Looks like Finch is going nowhere. Malloy uses up the Irish downstate slot on the ticket. Stamford may go republican this time and B’port should be so lucky!!!

  13. As Mojo has pointed out on many occasions–the City had hired an accounting firm to assist and advise the city on its budget.
    When I was in the Council, the maximum yearly stipend was $6,000 as of 2001. I’m not sure whether it was the City’s Councilmen or the accounting firm’s idea to raise the stipend to $9,000 annually; it seems that it was an unnecessary bad idea.
    I never got to use up all the stipend money–I can surely go for some Lobsters and Champagne right about now–to me it was clear that dining out or drinking liquor was out of bounds.
    I’m of the opinion that council members should received and spend their stipend money within reason and guidelines. For some readers, not using the stipend may be an honorable and honest thing to do. But I would also look at it from another angle. Is it smart or responsible for council members who have been given the resources to communicate and set up meetings with their constituents not to do so? What excuse can the Council members of the 130th dist. give their constituents for not having community meetings, keeping us informed, hearing our frustrations and concerns? They have the resources to do so; but do they have the desire? It sure doesn’t sound like it to me.

  14. What the HELL is this? Are you trying to be funny Mrs. Jimmy?

    Dear Joel,

    The dust is settling! I’m back from the incredible Inauguration of President Obama, and Jim is hard at work in Congress. He is really excited about the prospect of working with the President to turn this country around and deeply conscious of the trust and hopes that you have for him. I can’t thank you enough for your hard work and generous support during the campaign.

    I have included some pictures of Jim on the road to Congress.

    Now, as Jim begins working hard as your advocate in Washington, it is important to remember that in order for President Barack Obama to deliver on his vision for America he needs to maintain a Democratic Majority in Congress. Whether it be implementing an economic stimulus package that reaches everyday Americans, a global climate policy that moves us towards energy independence, or keeping our country safe from attack–it is your grassroots support that will make the difference.

    I know you have invested a tremendous amount in my husband and the future of this country. But right now, your continued participation in the political process is more important than ever.

    It’s hard to believe, but it’s time for us to make sure Jim’s campaign for reelection comes out of the box looking strong.

    A contribution of $1000, $500, $250, or even $50 today will go a long way to ensuring we reach the end of the path this historic election has set us out upon.

    Please help Jim come out of the box looking strong by contributing today.


    Mary Himes

    Paid for by Jim Himes for Congress

    This email was sent to:
    To unsubscribe, go to:

  15. *** Dewars, Joel, Bpts Finest, to start; I was able to find out your true ID’s behind the OIB mask & have decided that explaining things in person would be much better than on this forum. “SEE YOU SOON”! ***

    1. Mojo, did you really have to investigate my true identity?
      I think that explaining things on OIB rather than in person is better. OIB gets lots of hits. How many Lennie?
      Since you know who I am, and I know who you are; tell me, who are Dewars and Bpts Finest?

  16. As for all the postings about a Better Bridgeport, blah, blah, blah …

    I say we should eliminate the Town Committee, it’s a system that doesn’t work and is not needed. Candidates that choose to run should file petitions and just primary. Simple as that … That will cut out most of the current force that couldn’t walk a street to talk to voters if their life depended on it …

    As for the stipend, what a shame the way they abuse this privilege. Use it for the benefit of the community, donate to a charity, hold events for children and seniors in your district, don’t be greedy …

    As for the Mojo, Dewars and Finest, reunion, AZUCAR!!! If you have truly ID’d them, good going Inspector Gadget!

  17. OMG … threatening one of BPT’s Finest Mojo … memo to my loved ones … if I don’t come home tonight from my shift … it wasn’t a criminal who got me but a former politician; luckily I have my vest on …

  18. Well the Dems in Washington are at it again. They have dusted off every old piece of social legislation they could find and tacked it onto what they are trying to pass as a stimulus bill. They will never learn.
    Memo to Obama fans who have been quiet on this blog now that the election is over: could you all write to Obama and ask him to stop nominating people that refuse to pay their taxes or properly hire their nannies? No lobbyists in his administration that was his pledge. He has thus far granted 3 waivers to that pledge. I think the bloom is off the rose in only a few weeks.

  19. Mojo- quit wasting your time. Threatening people over the internet. Wow real tough.

    Celia- I agree with you about Town Committees. Get rid of them altogether.


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