John Fabrizi is a mighty ball of emotion–cigarette in one hand, a tissue in the other–and Larry Locke’s 80-minute docudrama, The Accidental Mayor, of Fabs’ years as mayor did not disappoint the 270 folks that plunked down $30 for a ticket to benefit the Barnum Museum and City Lights Gallery.
An eclectic group from the business and political communities filled the Barnum Museum. My wife Mo and I were flanked by Sly Salcedo, who had his petition clipboard on hand, trying to qualify for a primary run for state representative, City Councilman Bob Walsh who was there for the entertainment value, Rina Bakalar, former policy advisor with the city now head of Congressman Chris Shays District Office in Bridgeport, and Larry Merriam, last year’s Barnum Festival ringmaster.
Rina had a nice segment in the documentary trying to refocus Fabs on city business in the days after his public admission of cocaine use in 2006. Locke literally had a camera poised on Fabs’ life, in the mayor’s office, in the streets, at ribbon cuttings, at drug testing, at home and with his therapist trying to deal with emotion of public disclosure.
Fabs’ media advisor Caryn Kaufman and Chief of Staff Charlie Carroll were at the center of the hurricane dealing with the public and political fallout of his cocaine admission. And then when it seemed like things were turning around – oops – Fabs walked into the courtroom to seek leniency on behalf of a sexual offender at the request of his son and wife Mary. Councilman Tom McCarthy, now the city council president, has a key role on camera breaking the news to Fabs that testifying on behalf of a sexual predator, no matter how well intended, was political suicide. Locke also captures the days when Fabs experienced buyer’s remorse following his decision to not seek reelection. City pols leaned hard on Fabs to make way for Bill Finch, fearing Fabs could not defeat archenemy Chris Caruso.
The docudrama focuses on Fabs trying to get his arms around a city in the wake of former Mayor Joe Ganim’s conviction on corruption charges. I don’t know if this will play anywhere else, but Locke is a total pro behind the camera, capturing the drama and bizarre episodes. It’s sad, tragic and often times funny. Fabs, who received a standing ovation from the Barnum crowd after the showing, spoke about his apprehension of opening himself up to Locke’s camera.
The former mayor would love to have his old job back. And, in Bridgeport, you just never know.
Hey, what’s the deal with the city possibly owning a piece of Stratford’s Long Beach? Reminds me of the time, only in reverse, that the city built a firehouse on private property. Kudos to Harry Neigher for tipping us off about this land confusion. Could it be the city finally has some leverage over Stratford? Maybe we’ll have a Miron/Bird Man showdown!
Chatted this afternoon with Democratic Registrar of Voters Sandy Ayala (thank you, Sandy, it’s a busy time for you) who provided the following update. Sylvester Salcedo, the Fightin’ Filipino, and the legendary Chico Rivera, have qualified for an Aug. 12 primary against party-endorsed Eze Santiago, a member of the City Council, for the 130th State Assembly District. Cougar Rodgerson, who did not pull petitions, opted out of a primary run. Bill Stewart qualified to challenge incumbent State Rep. Don Clemons in the 124th District. State Rep. Andres Ayala, denied endorsement by Lydia Martinez in the 128th District, has also qualified. State Rep. Chris Caruso, facing a challenge from City Councilman Carlos Silva, had not submitted his signatures as of 2:30 p.m. with a 4 p.m. deadline looming, but the maverick state rep. has a history of turning in his petition sheets just minutes before the deadline. Auden Grogins, the blonde banshee from Black Rock, qualified last week to challenge State Rep. Rapid Robert Keeley. Bring it on, baby!!
Members of SEIU are making a push to persuade state legislators to save health care benefits before it’s too late. See union release below:
Hartford, CT – On the steps of the Capitol building on Wednesday at 9:30 a.m., children will give legislators their applications for HUSKY while their parents, cleaners at the Capitol building and other state-owned facilities, will appeal to the legislators to pass measures that will save their current employer-paid health care. Hundreds of children and their parents are at risk of losing their health insurance because of the legislature’s inaction in correcting the terms of the Standard Wage Law which governs the benefits of service workers at state-owned buildings and facilities.
The Standard Wage Law, which outlines the wages and benefits for nearly 600 cleaners of state-owned buildings and facilities, including the State Capitol building, Bradley Airport, the Stamford train station, UConn and other community college campuses, includes an arbitrary cap on benefit costs which is being exceeded by the rising costs of health care. As a result, hundreds of cleaners and their families could lose their health care, making many of them eligible for public health programs. The cost of the workers going on public health programs is estimated to be upwards of $2 million.