Spain Versus Kane? Young Dems Split Loyalty In The Rock

Spain mailer
Spain and Smith mailer featuring State Senator Marilyn Moore.

Members of Greater Bridgeport Young Democrats are in a bit of a pickle in its resurgent political activity. And it could create a sour note, or at the very least an awkwardness, in the Black Rock/West End 130th District where the organization has endorsed City Council candidate Pete Spain while its Vice President Rowan Kane was endorsed Monday night by district Democrats with incumbent Scott Burns. So the Young Dems veep is an opponent of a guy the organization has endorsed. Hmmm.

Spain was endorsed by the Young Dems a few weeks ago. His running mate Christina Smith was not. Katie Bukovsky, the sister of Black Rock District Leader Danny Roach who also serves in the Ganim administration, opted out of another council term. The search was on for a running mate to join Burns as a deadline loomed to endorse candidates. Roach holds the endorsement cards. Kane was endorsed.

Kane, who is new to Black Rock, has spent a lot of time in Bridgeport the past few years as a political operative including serving as deputy campaign manager for Congressman Jim Himes’ 2016 reelection. He’s also a teacher at Sacred Heart University. He’s one of the many bright, young guns becoming involved in city politics which is a good thing. The split loyalty among Young Dems, however, is being noticed. What kind of resources do they provide Spain versus Kane?

“Before I became a candidate for city council, the Bridgeport Young Dems voted as a body to endorse Pete (Spain) and Kyle Langan in the 132nd,” says Kane. “Going forward, we’ll be endorsing other candidates. To be fair to the process and to my friends in the group, I will not be seeking the group’s official endorsement and will urge the group to endorse my running mate, Scott Burns.”

Young Dems veep Rowan Kane.

The dynamics of this race are intriguing. Smith and Spain, framing themselves as establishment fighters, have been working the district and dropped their first mail piece this week with a resounding endorsement from State Senator Marilyn Moore who is fussy about candidates she supports.

Last year Roach, when he was then Ganim’s chief of staff, openly supported City Council President Tom McCarthy over Moore in a Democratic primary. That, in itself, was an awkward moment, the mayor’s top soldier supporting the City Council president who worked against Ganim in 2015 over an incumbent state senator who influences the flow of dollars from Hartford to Bridgeport. Not exactly team building on behalf of your boss. In those situations it’s better to stay out of it. Gee state senator, asks Ganim, can you help me with this in Hartford? Gee mayor, replies Moore, you’ve sicced your chief of staff on me. That may not be the precise language, but that’s the sentiment.

Moore crushed McCarthy in Roach’s backyard.

Moore takes note of these slights. Coupled with her strong relationships with Spain and Smith brought an early endorsement.

The 130th District has three basic geographic pieces to cull votes, active Black Rock School voters generally west of Ellsworth Street focused on taxes, property values, quality of life issues and government accountability. This is one of the highest percentage turnout areas in Bridgeport and the wealthiest city neighborhood. Then there’s the Aquaculture precinct, what the pols call the lower half of the district, featuring working class voters. It’s what generally rescues Democrats from insurgent Republican candidacies in Black Rock, the last bastion of GOP registration. The precinct features two key areas where Dems scour votes, P.T. Barnum Apartments and a piece of the neighboring West End.

P.T. is quarry for absentee ballots. It’s typically the area where Dem Party operatives bank votes, be it primary or general election. In a primary like this, the three key areas must all be worked.

Smith/Spain and Burns/Kane will work as respective teams, but the top two finishers among the four go on to the general election.

The Young Dems endorsement of Spain creates quite an individualistic talking point at doors.

“Why should I vote for you?”

“My opponent endorsed me.”

Scott, can ya feel the burns?

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45 comments

  1. It’s imperative that Pete Spain and Christina Smith to make a number of visits and sit downs in P.T. Barnum Apartments and a piece of the neighboring West End. There are votes there that they can really pickup visiting and listening these voters who feel that know ones cares about them and be honest.

  2. I don’t find it strange that the party endorsed Rowan Kane out of the 130th because they knew they couldn’t control Peter Spain, they don’t know Christina Smith and Katie Bukovsky want running. I don’t think the endorsement of Kane was a vote of confidence for him as much as it was a, maybe we can control him. Good luck Peter Spain because we know there isn’t anything they can give our promise you that will lead to the status quo for city council from the 130th.

    1. Pete, you and Christina Smith have a lot of hard work ahead of you but you guys can do it. You have to get your people out to vote and don’t take them for granted. Your message must be positive and give voters a reason to go out and vote for you instead of why they shouldn’t vote against your opponents. I’m glad that you guys are running for the entire 130th district besides Black Rock. Pete I’m glad that you decided to run and wish nothing but the best for you and your running mate, Christina Smith.

  3. I think Burns and Kane make an excellent team. Both are sharp and articulate. I would venture to guess that the young Dems would support their Vice President. Whether they do or do not. The body count is not there. They are all working on campaigns or running. Maria Zambriano is another young Dem that is smart, articulate and educated .

    I always wish all good luck. I think Moore ‘s recent vote on Casino’s and Ganims recent announcement of a 400 million dollar project downtown will resonate with Black Rockers. Yeah, their taxes went up but they are educated voters and they know without development it will continue to go up and up nd up unless we have economic development. I know that Burns and Kane know exactly where they need to be in Blackrock and they are full aware that P>T has valuable voters as those on Anchorage drive, I know. I have seen Burns there . Maybe Moore will walk P.T with Spain and Smith. I am not so sure that will help even though she is a minority. Tyisha Toms was a smart, articulate extremely well educated black woman running with our own John Marshall Lee and they lost and Pete Spain was their advisor/manager. Maybe Spain and Smith can tout their support for Sanctuary City though that is the last thing on the minds of the highest taxpayers in the city that pay for the bulk of the city services. They want development.Of course that is development on Steelepointe and downtown just NIMBY.

    Rowan Kane I am glad you decided to run and wish the best for you and your running mate.

    Of course there is the Republic Michael Gianotti to consider in November as a Republican. ok enough consideration.

    1. Steve, a couple of points, Senator Moore and her family grew up at P.T Barnum and it will help them with voters. I agree with you about Tyisha Toms but a lot of people believed that John Marshall Lee was a Republican because his association with Dave Walker. There is also a Puerto Rican vote over on the other side of the district around the State Street area.

      1. Ron, I appreciate your insight. So maybe Moore and Foster will help get votes. I do not see color or nationality as an issue when I talk to people. I walked with Tyisha- not at PT. I walked PT for other candidates. When I walked Trumbull Gardens I thought people were responsive and respectable. I didn’t know Marilyn Moore grew up in PT. I do know that she did not attend their amazing reunion party in the Summer. Maybe too busy like Donald Trump bypassing the NAACP meeting. As everyone knows where there is good food- I’m there! 🙂 I think Scott Burns is a very respectable guy now with experience. He supports education and Kane a young democrat is a very liberal democrat. I think they have what they need .

        Ron , for the record, I am a new member of the DTC. Just off the top of my head I can think of 15 new younger members . There is new blood. This anti Mario anti Joe is ridiculous. Nearly all who are rebelling have been the recipient of something . The democratic “machine ” in Bridgeport is no different than in any other city or State wide. It is politics. Patronage is part of the make-up.
        I feel honored to serve on the town committee. I certainly do need need to enhance my social life. It is my love for this city that I serve. I do not have anything against Spain and Williams. It is not my district. The district endorsed Burns and Kane. The district was elected and Democracy is a great thing. The people will decide. If you are not banging on doors, chance are you will not win.

        138 take note!!!

        1. Steve, you said,” I am a new member of the DTC. Just off the top of my head I can think of 15 new younger members. There is new blood.” Just because they’re young doesn’t mean that they will act differently than Mario pass down to the district leaders. Steve, I suggest that you get a copy of the list of the 90 members of the DTC so that you can follow how members vote on key issues. Right now you should how those 15 voted last night. Steve, I wasn’t at the PT Barnum reunion cookout and my family moved there when PT Barnum first open, in fact there were only 5 families living in building #7 at that time. Steve, there are still a few families still living there when we were there.

          Steve, I was a member of the DTC 26 years ago from the 131th district but later because of redistricting the lines were changed and my street was placed into the 130th district with Danny Roach as the district leader. While the redistricting lawsuit was in court I was removed from the DTC because we had 11 members instead of 9.  Thanks to Lisa Parziale, Mary Bruce and Chris Caruso I became the vice chairman of the DTC. Then after the City lost the redistricting lawsuit base on race my street was placed back into the 131st district. Steve, the DTC is structure so that the power is with the chairman. The DTC only meets I believe by charter twice a year as a body of 90 unless the chairman calls for more meetings. Then there the nomination conventions where the chairman selects those in certain districts to attend. Steve, listen and follow what’s going on because most members don’t, they are just glad that they are on the DTC. Remember the history and pass it down.

          1. Ron you are currently living in the South End. Maybe it’s time you picked up a glove and got back in the game. Thank you for your advice and insight. Your experience and insight would be more useful on the frontlines than the blogosphere and I am not being facetious.

        2. Steve,
          When you said: “I do not have anything against Spain and Williams. It is not my district.” You are telling it like it is. For the record, Peter Spain’s running mate is Christina Smith, a very credible candidate with great education, working experience, a Bridgeport homeowner-taxpayer for more than 12 years, and specific graduate level study of urban issues today. She is also a person of color and attended public schools when she lived in the City with her family. She is a spectacular candidate and a role model for both young women and men who look to education as a way to reach for their goals in life.

          “This anti Mario anti Joe is ridiculous.” What gets you to say that Steve? Has the DTC assigned you as Communications Chief to Only In Bridgeport? After all, you always have the latest info that is so valuable to those looking for a job, to those parents who are looking for their youth to gain at least a year of advancement in a year of schooling, and of course you are a star when it comes to ‘follow the money’. You do offer a contrast to both Mario and Joe in that you are ever loquacious and cheerful, even when drawing a knife to take on an enemy. It is tough to keep that smile on your face when what you are serving is not on the menu of OPEN, ACCOUNTABLE, TRANSPARENT and HONEST as promised in the campaign two years ago, isn’t it? Time will tell.

  4. Integrity counts. Credibility counts.

    Mr. Kane showed his true colors. He did the opposite of what I did when I was chair of Better Bridgeport Political Committee and I decided to run.

    I removed myself from the review of any and all candidate questionnaires and stepped away from Better Bridgeport BEFORE ever reviewing any questionnaires. In that way, I preserved my integrity and the integrity of the volunteer organization.

    In contrast, Rowan Kane was the Greater Bridgeport Young Dem’s (GBYD’s) point person on receiving the lengthy questionnaire that Christina Smith submitted and then I did too — on a variety of important topics. He got to review our answers to these issues; he even had ample opportunity to share them with our opponent, Scott Burns, whom he’s now calling on the GBYD to endorse. His call for Burns and his vote on my endorsement and on my running mate’s should be null and void. Otherwise, the GBYD, a group with some outstanding citizens in its membership, risks undermining its reputation and its members’ reputations.

    To that end, I state for the record that if the GBYD does not endorse Christina B. Smith, I will officially refuse the GBYD’s endorsement.

    Note: It was GBYD Vice Prez Rowan Kane himself to whom the GBYD instructed us to submit our completed questionnaires to and who notified me of GBYD’s endorsement of me. With this notification, Kane requested a statement from me and a photo for the GBYD press release. On receiving my statement, Rowan Kane called to ask me to soften my statement because he didn’t want to “poke the bear” meaning the DTC. I kept my statement strongly worded with a small revision.

    CREDIBILITY and INTEGRITY … how about Rowan’s running mate, Scott Burns?

    Watch in the YouTube video of Councilman Scott Burns on July 2, 2016 trying to explain how he as co-chair of the Budget and Appropriations committee did his best but didn’t really know that the budget his committee shepherded through and voted on … would lead to a 29% mill rate increase last year.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RYbZrEm4hjs

    Quite striking is at about 16:50 minutes:seconds in where Scott Burns, after saying that the Mayor kept the Council in the dark about the mill rate increase that, in fact, Scott, at 19:50 minutes:seconds in, states that he did KNOW when he approved the budget, which locked in a 29% mill rate increase, that the budget would increase the old mill rate from 42 to at least 52. “We had a sense of what the mill rate would be … probably around 52,” Burns states. Wait, what? So you did know. As a community member on the video says sarcastically, “Only 52!”

    A 2015 campaign flyer approved by Bukovksy and Burns when they ran for City Council included the following promise:

    “Together, Katie & Scott will: Lead the fight to reduce property taxes and their impact on our families and neighborhoods.”

    If voting for a budget that locked in a 29% mill rate increase is leading the fight, then it seems we need some new fighters for the taxpayers of Bridgeport.

    SmithSpain2017.com is the link that works for our site.

    Thank you.

    1. Thank you Mr. Spain.
      Now get your ass out and banging on doors!
      Showing your face to the voters is what will get you elected not posting on this silly blog! (Sorry Lennie)

    2. Pete- you say “He got to review our answers to these issues; he even had ample opportunity to share them with our opponent, Scott Burns, whom he’s now calling on the GBYD to endorse.”

      I think it’s quite two sided that you are going after Rowan for having access to your questionnaire to the GBYD, when your campaign manager Gage Frank is the Comms Director of GBYD and has access to Scott Burns as well. What is the difference? All members do, same way Maria Z Viggiano got to see Jose Casco’s, etc. across the board.

      That is possibly one of the strangest points to be made and don’t even make sense when you think about it.

      You have opponents. Run a better race and try to win. You should welcome the opportunity to discuss policy, issues, and who would better represent the district you and I call home.

      1. Josh Dellaquila… Who are you? Just like Rowan Kane,I have never heard your name or seen your presence at any and all meeting within the 130th CC district.

        1. Frank- I don’t know you either however I live in the 130th, support many of our local small businesses and am looking to become more active in my new home. Any guidance on what you mean by “any and all meetings within the 130th district” is appreciated as I am hungry to get more involved.

          I am new to the area but the past 4 generations of my family were all born and raised in Bridgeport. My parents raised me in Fairfield and Monroe due to, shockingly enough, the school system’s inadequacies. I’ve moved back to Bridgeport with my fiance in hopes of liking where my family has always called home, and to hopefully buy a home and raise our family here in the coming years.

          Knowing who I am is irrelevant, since the statements I’m making are valid. Pete’s argument is not a good one. If you’d like to counter with a civil discussion, I welcome it.

          In addition, I wouldn’t discredit those you don’t know or those new to the area. As long as they’re registered to vote, we all have an equal say at the ballot box.

          Hope to meet you and see you around the neighborhood.

          1. Josh,I hope to meet you one day as well. There is one Black Rock Face Book Page(4000plus) members where community meetings and announcements are posted.

  5. Stevie Ass-hole Auerbach, should mine his own business when comes to District 130th.
    He has no idea what Burns and the Roach Twins did to this District.
    The long suffering Taxpayers in Black Rock can’t wait for September!

    1. Thank you Jim. Always a pleasure when you forget to take your meds that put a filter on what comes out of your mouth ! I forgive you. Spain is lucky to have you!

      1. The mil rate is the same,the differenc is most homes in Black Rock had their assessment go up,while the Hollow stayed the same or whent down. I only care about Black Rock.

  6. Mr. Spain, What would be your plan to hold the line on taxes? Scott Burns did what was necessary as well as the Mayor. Yes that wanted to stop increases but this city has been borderlining bankruptcy for 30 years. Unless we get some serious economic development immediately than we can safely assume another increase. You want more koney for education, that is of course excellent, so does Mr. Burns. Where is that money coming from? You support Sanctuary City status. Do the members of the Black Rock Community agree?

    1. Thank you Jim. Always a pleasure when you forget to take your meds that put a filter on what comes out of your mouth ! I forgive you. Spain is lucky to have you!

        1. Jimfox,
          how you have the audacity to sound like a child in attacking me with un provoked name calling is beyond me. I know you are an old favorite of this blog. So I will bow out gracefully. Your disresepect is uncalled for. I am pleased that Lennie allows it.

          You sir, may want to make more use of your time. Gage Frank is going to need you to knock on doors and get out the vote for Pete Spain. If you are representative of his supporters than I do not think there is hope.

          The fact that he threatened the young Dems that if they do not endorse his partner than he is not interested in their endorsement is also telling.
          Best of luck to Burns and Kane. Everyone else- see you on Facebook.

          1. okay, okay I’ll go back to useing your surname Stevie A.
            And we all know what the A stands for.. Asshole!

    2. Mr Auerbach
      Scott Burns did the bidding on Mayor Ganim and totally ignored the residents of the Black Rock.
      Nice try blaming it on our near bankruptcy but anyone with a bit of brains would have known that far more work could have been done to reduce spending.
      Cut payroll. Surely he could have done THAT!
      three chiefs of police. So many patronage jobs that people are falling all over themselves.
      Musical chairs within the administration.
      Give it a break. CUT SPENDING NOW!!!

    3. Scott Burns could have cut out niceties and gotten down to necessities.
      Cut the horses out of the police budget.
      Get rid of the airport which just sucks money down trough patronage.
      Cut police overtime MORE.
      Scott just Burns me up but what do you expect by naming a newbie to the important position as chair of B & A. It is not amateur hour at the APOLLO.
      This budget called for real action and Scott was simply in over his head.
      NOT TO BUTS ABOUT IT.

    4. Steve,
      There you go again talking about money…”this city has been borderlining bankruptcy for 30 years.” That is not true, Steve. Look at the CAFRs when the Finance Board left town. The City Fund Balance stood at $55 Million, and relative to the Operating Budget was in the upper end of what is called for by our City documents and budget process.
      That was not a “bankruptcy moment”. In fact it was a re-set. How many chances do you get to blow such an opportunity? I am talking about SECOND CHANCES!!!

      The money can come from genuine attention to the Charter and budgeting, from having public priorities and from letting the public know where we stand relative to those priorities. We have squandered 75% of that City fund balance through successive administrations and added debt and community responsibility for large pension funding obligations without the public getting formal notice of same. OPEN? No secret. ACCOUNTABLE? Not without priorities. TRANSPARENT? Not without public dialogue where questions raised by taxpayers are respected and answered with opportunities for follow-up. Not without posting of all City info electronically for education and information purpose. HONEST? Partially, perhaps. Sometimes, perhaps. Misdirection? Often. Time will tell.

  7. *** There’s no-doubt that voters come out to vote in the 130th district un-like some of the other districts that seem to just complain amoung themselves instead of to their city council members & the Mayors Admin. And like they say , it’s the squeaky wheel that gets the oil every time, no? Pass history voting records show exact what district areas come out to vote in local elections so candidates don’t have to waste there time in areas that do not produce many votes nor are aware of their political history, good or bad!. ***

  8. Wishing I could return to CT, go door to door in the 130 for Spain, because he’s that good, but mostly to say, vote for Spain because his opponents endorsed him. Ease your tax pain, vote for Spain. Soothe your burn, get with Smith. Go for the gain, vote Smith and Spain.

  9. Peter, it appears as if you’re saying, all things being equal between you and Christina Smith the GBYD chose to endorse the white male and not the Black female? Say it ain’t so Peter that racism fueled the GYBD decision to endorse. Say it ain’t so Peter that had Christina been white she may have received their endorsement? Say it ain’t so Peter that the GYBD is no different than the DTC, racists to its core.

  10. I would like to take this moment to apologize to Mr Burns.
    It seems that he is not totally to blame for this error in judgement.
    First there is the soon to be gone Council President who thought it was a fantastic decision to name a complete novice to the Chair the B & A Committee. He probably didn’t know that he had no experience with B & A although he should have known that he had no experience with a legislative body.
    Then there is the co-chair to the B & A, Denise Taylor-Moye. Hmmm. Not much going on there. Nice lady but way in over her head.
    So exactly what was Scott Burns thinking when he agreed to co-chair this important committee when they were faced with the prospect of reval?
    “Nothing too worry about Scott. Nestor will tell you what to do. And if you are still not sure, ask the Mayor. What could possibly go wrong?”

      1. Don’t have background info on many people.
        I would NOT put in someone new to the council for sure.
        They have to learn the budget and the council. Too much.
        I would hire outside professional services at a minimum.
        I would probably hire professional services through out the year.
        That is at least a road map on how to do things going forward.

        1. Bob is correct. McCarthy’s vindictiveness and lack of concern for representation of the public was part of his removal of legislative assistance to the City Council in the past four years. That removed funding of two positions from the Legislative Department, only one of which was filled at the time. McCarthy called it a savings though he quietly switched that position to the City Clerk office where it remains today. Meanwhile there is $90,000 budgeted every year for Other Services that is NOT SPENT and is available for critical professional assistance to the City Council. Will the Council raise itself to respectable representation with McCarthy gone before Christmas? Time will tell.

  11. let’s see…. Hmmm….
    How about cutting the city Council STIPENDS!!!!
    Just until the Black Rock is made whole and its taxes are in line with the rest of the city.
    Would that be too much too ask?
    Stipends can not be used for travel. Period.
    Stipends must be approved in advance and not this pay me now and I’ll get you receipts later.
    Stipends should be cut back to what is reasonable and not what is ludicrous. $500 – $750 would do. and again not forever just till the Black Rock is made whole.
    That’s not asking too much is it?
    or maybe it is. What does Scott know.
    He just a newly elected council member.

  12. Lennie
    I was Budget Vice Chair under Pat Crossin and the elevated to Co-chair when Fabrizi tried to please more people as Council President.
    I have a BS in Business Admin with a concentration in Accunting. I graduated Magna Cum Laude from SHU
    I completed half of the curse work for my Master Degree from UB with a straight A average.
    I have spent my entire prifessional career in the Accomting and Finance field.
    I think I am more than qualified.
    Any other questions?

    1. Troll, I am not questioning your qualifications. I know them well and have often put them to practice on OIB. Given what Tom McCarthy had to work with, who is more suited to serve as budget co-chairs than Burns and Taylor-Moye?

  13. Tommy Mac did not pick Scott based on qualification or background. That much is obvious. In a very difficult budget process I would have picked someone far more experienced and provided them with some tools to get it done.
    Picking Scott did a grave injustice to the taxpayers in the Black Rock and set Scott up to fail.
    At least pick your council partner Jeanette Herron. At least you have her in every meeting and can report back to Tom on everything.
    The voters in the Black Rock were seriously short-changed and have every right or dare I say duty to take it out on Scott.

  14. Unfortunately,the sad fact of the truth is none of the 20 members of the current City Council were capable of being either chairpeople or even members of the City Council Budget Subcommittee. The question remains if the current 20 members of the City Council are capable of having a voice in the management of a city like Bridgeport.

    1. Let’s look at the current discussion about Exact Capitol/Poli _Majestic Theater Development. Five City Council members believed in the so-called legal opinion from Mark Anastasi. That is truly a sad reflection on the state of affairs in the present City Council.

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