The Soap Opera, Taste Of Honey, Blonde Banshee, And The Super’s Ed Contract

In the ongoing soap opera As The Layoffs Turn (hopefully there won’t be any), it doesn’t appear pink slips will be issued this week. Looks like the city is close to finalizing the savings it needs to begin closing an $8 million budget gap as a result of negotiations from uniformed services without layoffs, the largest piece coming from cutting the overtime budget.

Still several million dollars to go as other city unions dig in. Looks like this Friday is as far as the city’s willing to go before issuing layoff notices, perhaps next Monday. Of course, if layoff notices are issued, doesn’t prevent unions from agreeing to concessions. But union leadership has had enough. They don’t feel Mayor Bill Finch is willing to spread around the pain to discretionary appointments.

I’m Dizzy

What’s this, former Democratic Town Chair John Stafstrom, former City Council President Lisa “Honey” Parziale and State Rep. Auden Grogins, the “Blonde Banshee” from Black Rock, all going door to door together on behalf of Democratic gubernatorial candidate Dan Malloy? Stafstrom and Parziale were once City Council partners, Stafstrom left the council when his law firm Pullman & Comley became city bond counsel, he was replaced by Bob “Troll” Walsh, Parziale left the council and was eventually elected Democratic registrar of voters, but John and Honey had a falling out, and he supported Sandi Ayala for the position and she won a primary over Honey who exacted some revenge by winning a Democratic Town Committee seat against a Stafstrom-backed slate.

Troll and Stafstrom, once political friends, had a falling out and Troll supports Ned Lamont for governor, except Troll and Honey get along pretty good. She came to his defense when the Troll endured some hot water in a rant against his current council partner Evette Brantley, the one who got in Cecil Young’s face that led to a City Council battle royal. And the Blonde Banshee helped to dethrone Honey as council president when she supported John Fabrizi for the top legislative spot which eventually led Fabs to the mayoralty when Joe Ganim was forced to resign in 2003. Are you out of breath? Yes indeed, the sport I call Bridgeport politics never disappoints. Stafstrom, Honey and the Banshee all pulling for Malloy. Hey, Troll, what do you think of this?

Ramos Contract

Superintendent of Schools John Ramos is the beneficiary of a long-held Board of Education policy, a three-year rollover contract. That means every year that the BOE approves job performance the contract rolls into another three-year deal. That’s quite a yearly deal at $250K or so. So a buyout (paging Sonia Salcedo) becomes quite pricey if the BOE ever wants the super to take a walk. This current board, the majority of them at least, want Ramos to stick around but also want to eliminate the generous roll-over contract provision. In exchange for amending the contract length, Ramos seeks post job benefits, such as health care, when he leaves. Does this eventually become more expensive than the three-year rollover? Contract negotiations continue.

What About Cowboy Cheerleaders?

U.S. District Judge Stefan Underhill, the Bridgeport-based judge who ruled the state’s public financing system unconstitutional and then was partially overturned by a federal appeals court, says cheerleading is not a collegiate sport, ruling Quinnipiac University violated Title IX  gender discrimination law when it tried to replace women’s volleyball with competitive cheerleading. Spike!

Congressman Jim Himes, who worked on Wall Street, making hay about Wall Street reforms:

From Himes’ opponent Dan Debicella:

National Republicans Helping Debicella

NRCC advances Debicella in Young Guns program

The National Republican Congressional Committee reported today that they have advanced Dan Debicella to the “Contender” level of their “Young Guns” program.

“Young Gun” candidates are those challengers that the national GOP believes are the most likely to defeat incumbent Democratic Congressmen.

“Dan Debicella has met a series of rigorous fundraising and campaign goals that will go a long way in helping to put this seat back in the Republican column,” said NRCC Chairman Pete Sessions (R-TX). “The success of his campaign has put congressional Democrats on notice that Americans are ready to turn the page on the failed experiment known as the Democrat agenda.”

Debicella is the Republican party-endorsed candidate for Congress in Fairfield County. He faces a primary on August 10th from two challengers, and hopes to face Congressman Jim Himes in November.

Debicella said people in Fairfield County were looking for a better way. “People thought they were voting for a change in 2008–ut this is not the change they wanted,” said Debicella. “With our internal polls showing the race tied, we are pleased that the national GOP considers this a targeted race. Himes has demonstrated that he can raise money from Goldman Sachs and Big Labor, but people are tired of big-money incumbents taking us down the yellow brick road to nowhere.

“Jim Himes and Washington are leading us in the wrong direction, with a record of failure on the economy, enormous deficits, and out-of-control spending,” said Debicella. “Fairfield County needs a Congressman with ideas to get our country moving in the right direction again—not a rubber-stamp for increased spending paid for by new taxes.

“People are excited about my proposals to create jobs by replacing the stimulus package with a payroll tax cut, eliminate the budget deficit through a new federal spending cap, and developing true healthcare reform by reducing costs rather than expanding government control,” Debicella said.

Debicella is a second-term Republican State Senator representing the eastern part of Fairfield County, including Shelton, Stratford, Monroe, and Seymour. He is a lifelong resident of Fairfield County, and grew up in Bridgeport where his father was a police officer. He was the first in his family to go to college, attending the Wharton School and receiving his MBA from Harvard Business School. He has spent most of his career in business, having worked for management consulting firm McKinsey in Stamford, as Director of Strategy at PepsiCo in Purchase, NY, and as Assistant Vice President of Marketing at The Hartford Financial Services.

The Fourth Congressional District comprises most of Fairfield County, including seventeen towns from Greenwich in the west, to Shelton in the east, and Ridgefield in the north. The seat was held by Congressman Christopher Shays from 1987-2009.

From Mayor Finch:

Tax Collector’s Office Extends Hours for Easier Bill Payment

The City Tax Collector’s office will extend its office hours, and is offering a range of options to make tax bill payment easier and more convenient for Bridgeport residents and those who own property in the City.

“We understand the demand on people’s time is great, especially during these challenging financial times. We want to make it as convenient and as easy as possible for property owners to pay their taxes,” said Mayor Bill Finch.

According to Tax Collector Anne Kelly-Lenz, taxpayers can pay their bills online at, or at any Fairfield County branch of People’s United Bank, which does not require a taxpayer to have, or open an account. Please bring your current original bill with you. A receipt will be issued by People’s United Bank, and this service expires on July 30.

The Tax Collector’s Office extended hours will be: Monday through Friday, July 26 through 30 – 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Saturday July 31 – 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., and Monday, August 2 – 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Taxpayers with current tax bills can also mail their payment using the return envelope included with their tax bill, which will be processed within 24-48 hours upon receipt. Those who wish to drop off payment, can use the return envelope and leave it in the drop-off box located in the Tax Collector’s Office, next to the ATM (please do not include cash). A receipt can be obtained by including a return envelope along with the payment.

Delinquent tax bills can be paid online, or mailed in, using the updated information found in the online tax bill at The due date for delinquent taxes is July 31, and those who need to register a vehicle will need to come into the office.

Questions? Please call the Tax Collector’s Office at 203.576.7271 or e-mail at



  1. Hmmm so we got pols from the highest voting precincts going for Dan Malloy very interesting. If Malloy loses Bridgeport by a thousand votes or more then his campaign need to be ashamed of themselves because they have people in Bridgeport like the Auden working for him and trust me they know how to get out their votes in the district. Bridgeport might be competitive after all. Primary day I will be going around to see what turnout is like. Lamont has my vote at Black Rock even though it seems he has no support from city pols in that area. Voters decide elections and not City pols!!!

  2. Lennie–I read through your synopsis of the ongoing political soap opera “As the Layoffs Turn” and can’t really feel any tears welling up inside of me for a bunch of politicians chasing taxpayers down the street screaming “what’s in your wallet.”

    After all, anything in their wallet goes to pay the salaries and benefits of the politicians.

    This brings me back to my point every voter should answer the door being knocked on with the question “what’s in it for me?”

    It’s nice to say business hours at the tax collector’s office have been extended (so the pols’ cash flow isn’t interrupted).

    But how about an act of real machismo? The late Mayor John C. Mandanici demanded banks deliver the escrow accounts they were holding as they received them instead of every three to six months. That money helped him through cash flow troubles.

    If they balked, he mentioned–ahem, off-handedly–that he was considering a sewer project on the street that ran right past their front door.

    Intimidation? Absolutely.

    Successful tactic? Absolutely.

    Ballsy? Without a doubt.

    The point here is when Mandy asked for a vote and someone said “what’s in it for me?” he had an answer!

    Mandy wasn’t perfect, but he had a unique style!

    1. Well Big John, Mandy sure had a unique style like the first time I interviewed him in his office when I was 20. “Listen, you little bastard,” sticking that sausage finger in my face, “this is how you’re going to right this story!”

      All my peers were so supportive when I got back to the newsroom. Said Mike Mayko, “You’re lucky he didn’t throw you out the window.”

      And it wasn’t long after that Mandy’s boys threw Jim Callahan down a flight of stairs. And Callahan didn’t even write about it. Now that’s a pol’s reporter for ya.

  3. For anyone who is interested, below is the response I received from John Gomes to the questions I had asked him:

    Thank you for your interest relating issues that impact Bridgeport’s future. I look forward to your support in “Building a Bridge to Unity” that will give us “One Bridgeport” for ALL!
    Booting cars becomes a double punishment due to the way the current recovery system operates. People are unable to pay delinquent taxes and delinquent tickets at the same place. There is delay in getting the boot released from booted cars. And the people who can least afford to take time from work are forced to stand in line at the tax office as the way to get their un-booted. Not the best way to handle the situation … perhaps the worst way. The system should be user-friendly, not user-punitive.

    Development plans in the downtown area as well as along the major travel corridors have been presented in abundance. I want to move them along, not stall them because I want “favorites” to get a piece of the action.
    As far as Steel Point is concerned, anyone with a political will could move Steel Point along more quickly. This is not a stop and start project that is resurrected strategically for votes. This is a project that represents solid economic growth for Bridgeport.
    Development plans are also available and have been presented in abundance for downtown North; it is only the distracted, unfocused way that the current administration handles implementation that has resulted in an area that looks like it has been through a war.
    Finch is like his predecessors … sell whatever isn’t nailed down … we don’t necessarily make progress with our debt by dumping our history. McClevy Hall is very much tied to the City’s history and should be preserved either with commercial or private interests.
    Yes I have a strategy to get the harbor dredged. Focus on the fact that we’re missing out on major economic growth that a deep-water harbor would provide, and start cooperating with agencies and individuals who can help get this done. If it takes a brilliant presentation to the Army corp. of Engineers to get the dredging project moved up on its “to-do” list, then start there. If a genuine economic benefit analysis were produced by the Port Authority that would be a major step forward. However, look closely to see why this hasn’t been done to date. The Acting Directing is not up to the task. Too bad for Bridgeport.

  4. donj, why do you want to support someone who feels entitled to start at the top because he has money? He is a trust-fund kid who was able to start at the top with his business and now he is trying to buy a leadership position in public service. He is probably not a bad person, but do you really believe he is the best qualified to lead the state through the mess we are in? It will take him a year to figure out how to get in the building and find a bathroom. = Coming in with no hands-on experience is crazy …
    I prefer someone who has earned this opportunity. Started at the bottom, worked his way up and knows the nuts and bolts. I hope you will give this some more thought …

    1. redwhiteandblue trust me I have given this thought because I was never behind Lamont until early June. I did give Malloy some consideration and to be honest Lamont appeals more to me and on primary day I will be voting for Lamont.

  5. I hate to be the one to correct the “little bastard,” but that was Peggy McCarthy who almost went down the marble stairs of the state capitol when Mandy stuck his sausage finger in her chest.

    I, on the other hand, was ordered out of the Three Door Restaurant by Mandy. I was carried feet and body down the stairs of the Three Door by six or eight members of the Mandanici Hospitality Corps–and thrown into a snowbank.

    Some may wish to make a grammar correction to Lennie’s post, but the understandable confusion comes from Mandy’s interest in having the press write a story the right way.

  6. “My Way”

    “Our Way”

    “Sayonara’s Way”

    All true.

    Our problem today is leadership asking “Which way?”

    (Remember the old cartoon line, “Which way did they go, George? Which way did they go?”)

    (And, yes, we all got stabbed by the sausage. And none of us would have traded it for the world. We all suffered threats and minor acts of bodily harm. I even had a few tense moments with a family member who threatened bodily harm.)

  7. Someone ought to contract Ace Holleran to write a C&W tune called “My Way or the Highway” and dedicate it to John Mandanici.

    His conflicts with reporters aside–and OK, I and most reporters who were near got a bunch of stories, several very unpleasant–one of Mandy’s political flaws was an unwillingness to bridge disagreements without a fight to the death.

    Getting back to one of today’s themes, the West Side’s 132nd District has seemingly separated personalities from politics over the decades. They seem to follow the dictum of the late Connecticut Democratic Leader John Bailey: “Never bury an enemy so deep that you cannot reach down to shake his hand.”

    (Speaking of being “stabbed with the sausage,” I was covering a political convention (4th CD?) in Greenwich, of all places, one night. There’s a break. Everyone is outside on a summer night. Here comes Mandy. He has the look. — Uh, oh. — He’s starts yakking, medium growl, and out comes the hand and arm at me, and TWO fingers. Right into my shirt pocket for my cigarettes. He had “stopped” smoking again and was into major mooch mode.)

  8. Lennie,
    Thanks for putting up that video of Dan Malloy opening his New Haven office. He is an urban guy. He knows urban issues. He will hit the ground running with Nancy Wyman and maybe just maybe Connecticut Cities will have an urban policy that will work. This is an important decision. We have to go with the team that has the experience. I hope there will be a video from Malloy’s new Bridgeport office that you can post very soon. Go Malloy/Wyman!

  9. countdown: Yeah! Yeah! Yeah! No matter what you and others say he is still a downstate Democrat who could give a damn about Bridgeport. Yes I know Lamont is also a downstate Democrat but with him I have the hope that he will take Finch & Company away from Bridgeport. When Finch and Company are gone is when I believe Bridgeport will move forward. Until then Yeah! Yeah! Yeah!

  10. To Reaper and TC, basically you seem mad at Malloy because he did such a great job representing Stamford, the town that elected him. He wasn’t Mayor of Bridgeport which is why is first concern was Stamford. When he is elected Gov. of CT he will be concerned with ALL of CT especially big cities in trouble. Trying to insult someone because they did a good job is the ultimate illogical, and may I say sour grapes argument. Perhaps if Malloy were Mayor of Bridgeport 14 years ago Bridgeport would be in as good a shape as Stamford. donj why do you want to hire someone with no experience, who is too afraid to debate? Do you really want to elect a coward?

  11. John I don’t like any downstate politicians period. Unfortunately that’s where they are all from this year. I do not believe for one minute any of them is going to give Bridgeport the help we need. It’s simple the state has no money and we have a lousy delegation.

  12. There was a quite a battle with the Legislature over the income tax. Would a candidate for governor be willing to fight the Legislature that hard to fix the current budget?

  13. Did anyone read Lake Forest Guy’s post this morning regarding John Gomes? I think Gomes made a lot of sense and Lennie should get him on the Pol Pod. He deserves some serious consideration for mayor in 2011.

    Speaking of mayor, like TC I too am supporting Lamont (even though I think Malloy is the better candidate) because he will take Finch, Wood and McLain with him to Hartford. I have had enough and I can’t wait until November 2011 to get rid of them. I’ll take my chances on Mayor McCarthy (for a few months anyway). Then the field will be wide open and who knows, John Gomes may have a shot.

    I heard the city councilman accused of sexual harassment was suspended today while the labor relations office investigates. Problem is that Larry Osborne is not a fair and impartial investigator. Will he be able to do the right thing here? As Mojo would say, time will tell.


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