The Spice Of Carmen Lopez, Plus: Crossin Seeks BOE, And Hippie Fest News

11 a.m. update:

Okay, this is the Bridgeport politics we know and love. I’ve been getting emails and phone calls from political operatives saying, ‘Forget Carmen Lopez for Board of Education … we want her to run for mayor.’

Well, Carmen would certainly add a lot of salsa to the mix. A retired Superior Court judge, first Latina on the state bench who cut her teeth in city Democratic politics years ago. Carmen’s not afraid to speak her mind and a lot of folks like her for that, but then again some don’t. Right now Carmen’s poised to make a run for the BOE with a pretty good ally fanning her candidacy: Democratic Vice Chair Dottie Guman who’s respected in the party.

Mayor Bill Finch isn’t crazy about Carmen on the BOE. With Max Medina and John Olson retiring from the board this is the mayor’s chance to position allies that will work with him (or should I say do as he pleases). Birdie likes pols that will play ball with him, can’t blame him for that.

Adding to the mayor’s deep reservations about Lopez going on the BOE is a tiff they engaged in during the Puerto Rican parade dinner last weekend. I was not there but Finch friends say Carmen disrespected him and Carmen friends say he disrespected her over control of the microphone during the speaking portion of the event. Carmen thought the mayor was being too political in his remarks while the mayor felt Carmen dissed him.

Ah, the things pols fight about.

The Latino community, a potential dominant voting bloc in the city, has never completely galvanized behind a Latino candidate. Too many splits. Max Medina made a credible run for mayor in the 2003 primary won by John Fabrizi. The late Cesar Batalla, titular head of the Latino community in the 1980s and 1990s, never placed his name on the ballot.

But someone like Carmen Lopez could appeal to a cross section of the city even if she’s unable to galvanize a Latino voting bloc. Now I have no idea if Carmen would consider a mayoral run in 2011, but the fact that she’s decided to seek a BOE seat, a citywide slot, has pols perked up, both that like her and not. And while I’m at it, she’d be a formidable candidate for judge of probate in 2010. Ah, it’s nice to have choices in politics.

Temperament has always been the knock on Carmen. We’ll see.

Crossin For BOE

Add Former City Councilman from Black Rock Pat Crossin to the list of Board of Education candidates. Pat served on the City Council from 1991-2001 including many years as chairman of the Budgets and Appropriations Committee. The mayor is looking for allies on the BOE and Pat is someone he can sell to party regulars, especially since he doesn’t want Carmen Lopez on the board.

Crossin and Finch were allies when they served on the city’s legislative body and maintain a friendship. Crossin thought briefly about seeking his old City Council seat but decided to vie for BOE. The list of education candidates include Crossin, Lopez, former City Councilman Keith Rodgerson, City Councilwoman Leticia Colon and Joe Giaquinto. Two slots are available. Democratic Town Chair Mario Testa plans to schedule a meeting for the candidates to address district leaders before the DTC endorsement session July 22.

Hippie Fest

Gathering of the Vibes, Music, Arts & Camping Festival
Readies for Crowd of 25,000+ Daily in Bridgeport’s Seaside Park

Four-day event to showcase musical legends, support charitable causes and Celebrate 40th Anniversary of Woodstock

Bridgeport, CT (July 14, 2009) – Seaside Park is abuzz as stages, mobile office trailers, fence-lines, restrooms and shower trucks settle into place for the 14th annual Gathering of the Vibes festival, which runs from Thursday, July 23rd through Sunday, July 26th.

With legends like Crosby, Stills and Nash, Buddy Guy and George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic in the line-up – along with bands like Guster and State Radio, who bring out a younger audience – advance ticket sales have been strong, causing promoters to expect another solid turnout this year. Last year’s attendance exceeded 20,000 per day during the four day event.

“We’re ready,” said Ken Hays, Vibes Executive Director. “Our operations, traffic, parking and security teams have worked with the City of Bridgeport since last year’s event to ensure a safe and enjoyable weekend for all. It’s coming together nicely.”

Crosby, Stills and Nash’s (CSN) first gig together was 40 years ago this summer at the Woodstock Music and Arts Festival. CSN will headline a very special Family Day at Vibes on Sunday, July 26th, where kids 15 and under are admitted free when accompanied by a parent. Along with CSN, the Sunday Family Day lineup features blues legend Buddy Guy, the word famous Harlem Gospel Choir, progressive reggae artists John Brown’s Body, and neoclassic rockers Grace Potter and the Nocturnals.

The Vibes 2009 line-up features over 40 artists on four stages, including other original Woodstock participants Bob Weir & Ratdog (Weir performed with the Grateful Dead), drummer and vocalist Levon Helm (The Band), and activist Wavy Gravy, who will serve as master of ceremonies. Other performers include Boston’s indie-rockers State Radio and Guster, longtime Vibes favorites moe. and Deep Banana Blackout, and many, many more!

Charitable Focus

Gathering of the Vibes, in conjunction with the Terrapin Foundation, is hosting a non-perishable food drive to benefit three local food pantries – the Bridgeport Office of Veterans Affairs, the Bridgeport Department on Aging and Operation Hope of Fairfield.

The time of year and state of the economy make the task of social outreach organizations ever more difficult. Food banks and emergency shelters collect the bulk of annual donations around the holidays, meaning shelves start to empty by summertime. This past year has also shown the largest growth in demand for middle class public outreach since the Great Depression.

The Vibes’ food drive offers festival attendees a chance to give back to the Bridgeport community – to repay them for use of their beautiful park,” Hays said.

Items needed include: baby food and/or formula, canned vegetables and soups, canned non-perishable meat, pasta and sauce, macaroni & cheese, deodorant, soap, shampoo, shaving products, toothbrushes, toothpaste, mouthwash, Q-tips, diapers, and sanitary pads. A primary collection station will be across from the Main Concert Field entrance. Unstaffed donation stations will also be located at entrances and exits to the festival grounds. Whole Foods Market in Westport, CT has agreed to start this drive off with a sizable donation.


A limited number of single day tickets, weekend camping passes and VIP packages are available at or at the Gate.

Kids 12 and under are free all weekend with a parent or guardian; kids 15 and under are free on Sunday. For tickets or information, go to: or call Gathering of the Vibes Festival 2009 Headquarters at 203.908.3030.

About Gathering of the Vibes

Gathering of the Vibes began in 1996 as a celebration of the life of Jerry Garcia, who passed away the previous summer. Initially named Deadhead Heaven, the festival provides an annual forum for fans from across the country to remember the counterculture icon. In each of its past 13 years, Gathering of the Vibes has paired legendary artists with emerging acts to appeal to a wide cross-section of live music fans. For details,

Gathering of the Vibes and Charitable Giving

Since its inception, Gathering of the Vibes and its fans have made “giving back” a priority and support numerous social causes. In 2007 and 2008 combined, festival organizers donated more than $75,000 to local Bridgeport charities, Connecticut Special Olympics and many other not-for-profit organizations. In 2008, festival attendees donated 2,500 pounds of non-perishable items to local and state food banks. The festival’s bold “GreenVibes” environmental initiative ranges from an aggressive on-site recycling campaign, to educating fans about current research and development being done, and the progress being made in the field of alternative energy solutions.

News release from Jodi Rell

Governor Rell Authorizes $2M in Heating Aid to State’s Homeless, Domestic Violence Shelters

Governor M. Jodi Rell today announced a plan to direct up to $2 million in federal energy assistance funding to Connecticut’s extensive network of shelters for the homeless and victims of domestic violence.

“A rare surplus in federal heating aid funding is allowing us to bring additional support to our non-profit emergency shelter providers,” Governor Rell said. “I have directed the Department of Social Services to distribute as much as $2 million to shelter programs based on heating costs they incurred last winter.”

The one-time boost in funding is part of Governor Rell’s larger plan to allocate $28 million in surplus funds from the federal Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program Block Grant. The funding can only be allocated to energy programs and the bulk of it – $16 million – must be used by September 30 or the state will be forced to return the money to the federal government.

Department of Social Services staff will poll shelter programs to determine their energy costs for last winter then send reimbursement checks out of the $2 million.

“This allocation will provide a sorely-needed infusion of dollars directly to the front lines of the human service agencies where many of our most vulnerable citizens turn in a time of personal crisis,” Governor Rell said. “Helping shelter programs cover the cost of winter heating is an especially productive use of this surplus federal funding.”

The Governor said DSS will amend the state energy assistance plan and work with the Legislature’s Appropriations, Human Services and Energy & Technology Committees in submitting it to federal authorities for expected approval.

The surplus funding is planned for 44 shelter programs for the homeless and 16 shelter programs for residents who need protection from domestic violence.

Connecticut will be able to carry over $12 million of the $28 million in surplus energy assistance funds to help cover winter heating costs for eligible households next winter. Later this week, Governor Rell is expected to announce further steps for the allocating the remainder of the $16 million that must be spent by September 30.

In a related initiative, the Governor announced in May a commitment of $10.8 million in federal stimulus funds for a state housing program aimed at reducing homelessness by providing assistance for rent, utility bills and relocation costs.

The Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing Program offers a comprehensive range of services including rental assistance, security deposits, utility deposits and utility bill payments, moving cost assistance, motel or hotel vouchers, housing relocation and stabilization services including outreach, housing search, legal services and credit repair. The Department of Social Services is currently reviewing proposals from organizations responding to a request for proposals.



  1. Judge Lopez for Board of Ed is the female version of Max Medina but worse for Mayor Moonbeam …

    Just ask his staff what happened over the weekend, how Lopez put the Mayor to shame at a public event … I have heard differing versions so I’d hate to put words in someones mouth, but do your investigative research Grimaldi and see what you find …

    As for the peanut gallery that suggests this lady for Mayor … You have to be kidding. She is smart, but she is a ticking bomb, her mouth is a huge liability …

  2. *** B.O.E. would be okay for the Judge, however running for Mayor, no thanks! *** Maybe Yahooy or C.H.S. they seem to have all the answers to every topic on OIB. *** ‘Til state guidelines, or better control over local district committees is in place, most party endorsed candidates will continue to be controlled political puppets in general. ***

    1. I agree with ***MoFo*** that party-endorsed candidates are controlled political puppets. Bridgeport remains in a perpetual sorry state because of it.

      I wonder if Carmen Lopez is right for any public service role. Has she attained her roles simply because she is a Latina? Her judicial record is abysmal. Her record as an attorney is common. She is a blowhard who can’t control her mouth. Do we need this shit? I think not. Ethnicity aside, I think we need to keep looking.

      This Sotomayor thing is bothering me too. I was initially impressed that Sonia from the Bronx got herself into Princeton. A lot of minorities at that time went to the Ivy League thanks to affirmative action. But, and it’s a big BUT, not all attained a perfect record graduating Summa Cum Laude. Now that’s irrefutably impressive. I would like to think that Obama picked Sotomayor because she is the best possible candidate to fill this important vacancy on the nation’s highest court. I’m not comfortable with nominations that take on an aura of correctness when gender and ethnicity are principle considerations.

      How much longer are we going to allow Don Calamari to pick our leaders?

      On another matter regarding the BOE vacancies, I am warming up to the idea of Keith (the prick) Cougar Rodgerson as a plausible candidate. I understand that he was very annoying while on the Council demanding the BOE to fully disclose their errant ways. He burned a lot of bridges but seemed to salvage his political positioning when he acquiesced to Finch and wouldn’t release his place on the ballot to Caruso. A $25/hr contract job awaited the Harvard-trained ethicist. Chump change. That notwithstanding, he just might be the ball buster the BOE needs to get in there and cut out all the crap, control their wild spending and above all, keep the kids in the classroom through graduation. Somebody has to grab ahold of the 70% dropout rate in Bridgeport. Rodgerson could be the man. If he can distance himself from DTC control, he gets my support.

      1. yahooy

        Are you saying that the Cougar wouldn’t give the shirt off his back to Caruso?

        I think an Anna candidacy could serve as a pause for a sanitary cause.

  3. We need probate judges with experience!!! We all need to urge Judge Lopez to run for probate judge. Then the people of CT would have a real advocate and a real voice in probate reform.
    I only wish that she could move to Simsbury CT and run against probate judge Paul Knierim. The people of Bridgeport are lucky to have Judge Lopez!!!

    1. Sunny Simsbury? Are you fucked in the head, or what?! That place is a lavender swamp.

      Probate judgeships ought to be appointed posts. Connecticut is quite fortunate that public prosecutors and judges are appointed and not elected as they are in other states.

  4. Seems to me people on this blog are intimidated by a Latina woman who is not afraid to speak her mind.
    Finch, Fabrizi, Ganim (either one), Don Clemons Or Carmen Lopez???
    There is no choice. Hands down is Carmen.
    And if not, then let’s hear some other choices rather than excuses.

  5. Happy Belated Birthday, Lennie. I am going to vote for her this September. I was not planning on voting at all but because she is running I’m voting and I think turnout will be better. That being said I sure Know I would not vote for her for mayor no way, that attitude is good for something like the BOE but not for mayor. You know where I stand, Ganim in 2011. But really do you guys think enough people will vote for Lopez so she gets the seat? I’m really unfamiliar about how the BOE election is run, someone fill me in please?

    1. donj, the Democratic Town Committee will meet next Wednesday night to endorse candidates for the BOE. Two slots are available. (Technically three, but no one is talking about throwing incumbent Bobby Simmons under the bus.) Opposition candidates can wage a September primary through the signature process, but I doubt that will happen. If that’s the case the names of the candidates endorsed next week will appear on the November ballot.

  6. Hey MoJo, maybe you can answer me this. if Bitchy Mitchie is running Leticia Colon for the board of Ed, who runs for her seat on the council?
    Isn’t that prime for picking? Are you going to primary again?

    1. *** No, not interested @ this time; politics in Bpt have gone to an all-time low and there seems to be no end in sight. So @ this time, I’m simply an observer watching the circus sideshow unfold with the rest of the paying taxpayers! Enjoy the show! ***

  7. Wow I can’t Believe what I am hearing Pat is running for BOE wow. Am I really the only one thinking this is in retaliation for Lopez running??? I bet Pat will be the endorsed Candidate here. The Drama has picked up and now I’m planning on voting in the morning in September. I see the birdman has a few tricks up his sleeves. Showdown at Black Rock; I wonder who will win there? Pat has the edge but I am voting for Lopez.

  8. Lennie,
    I believe technically what will happen next week is that all nominees for the Board of Ed will be made at one time. If one, two or three of the nominees receive 50% of the vote, that individual(s) will become the party nominee.
    If only one receives 50% then there will be a second ballot.
    Makes for a lot of changing alliances and headaches for the power brokers. For example, let’s say Bobby Simmons doesn’t make it in the first round but Carmen Lopez and Leticia Colon do. Then what? Who will get thrown under the bus? Or will Mario come up with a new set of rules on selecting party nominees? Very, very interesting.

  9. *** First of all, how does Yahooy assume Sotomayor went to Princeton due to affirmative action? Typical “SS” way of thinking like always, he not only has an opinion on everything but also the answer to all our problems? *** Keith Cougar would definitely keep the B.O.E. in line & put pressure on the B.O.E. Admin. big time! He would get my vote, no doubt. *** Also what has Colon done for her district or the city for that matter while on the council? Expect more of the same on the B.O.E. if picked! And last but not least, the 2 Council picks for the 131st will be D. Taylor & the bologna-pony kid, Paul (do as I say, not as I do) from the city P&Z dept. He’s been kissing ass & waiting impatiently for a while! Mitch is getting soft with this 1-way SS, undercover of the night P/P inspector. However things like this seem to be the norm for Bpt local politics in general; it’s a runaway plague without a cure! *** Forget about it! ***

    1. In her final year at Yale Law, Sotomayor filed a complaint against a tony DC law firm for suggesting during a recruiting dinner that Sotomayor was only admitted to Yale because of Affirmative Action practices. She prevailed and the law firm published an open apology. Sotomayor prepared for law school at Princeton where she graduated Summa Cum Laude and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa overcoming considerable cultural deficiencies while achieving greatness. Subsequent admission to even the most prestigious law schools was, for a student of her caliber, virtually assured.

      It’s easy for a white guy like me to assume certain things. Whether or not Affirmative Action practices contributed to her admission to Princeton is irrelevant. After all, Affirmative Action was adopted to insure that achieving minorities had the same opportunities as non-minorities. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 is and was one of the most significant pieces of legislation that our nation has ever enacted. We are now experiencing the results as we watch minorities all over the country not only graduate from college, many of whom do so with highest honors. I am proud to see this happening.

      ***MoFo*** just to demonstrate how ignorant you are when you make allegations without a scintilla of fact … I have been married to the same woman for the past 38 years. She happens to be black. She was admitted to her university via Affirmative Action programs. She subsequently earned a doctorate in education at Temple and is currently an assistant superintendent in a Fairfield County school district.

      I have much to say about how little I respect you and what you profess to stand for. There aren’t enough four-letter words to adequately cover that topic.

      1. *** You made the comment about Sotomayor & affirmative action, now you want to give me the I’m not a racist line, topped off with I’m married to a black woman? Save it, you’re a hypocrite if it’s true & I could care less about your personal feelings about me! How can I put this as clearly as possible so you’ll understand? Oh yes, “Fuck you & yours” & the rest of your opinionated fantasy world! Hope that’s clear enough for you, have a terrible week, “MALAKA”! ***

      2. *** Why do older white people like you use the word ignorant & uppity as much as you do? You think that by using $2 words on this forum & responding as a know-it-all impresses the OIB readers? You make off-the-cuff disrespectful remarks about bloggers’ opinions, yet assume to pass your rumored personal rhetoric as facts & reason as some authority on the subject. Get real, your words or opinions are not any better or factual than anyone else’s! However they may be worse for actual good quality truthful information. So stop being a little bitch & start acting your age, instead of your I.Q.! *** Yahooy-pooey ***

  10. Now let’s talk about possible turnout. I sure know at Black Rock school we will not get a 513-vote turnout like last summer but this has the potential to be a decent turnout at Black Rock and citywide. Turnout I think at Black Rock could be around 400 to 450 the most if it is a nice day out. Black Rock School is the 2nd highest turnout precinct in Bridgeport. The number 1 turnout precinct is Park City Magnet.

    1. You need to educate yourself a little better. Are you going to challenge an endorsed Republican in a primary? I never said a thing about a Republican primary and I’m not aware of any potential Republican primary. The RTC will meet on July 22, 2009 to nominate and endorse the Republican candidates for City Council and BOE. Just like in the Democratic party, if anyone wants to challenge the endorsed candidates in a primary, they must get their signatures and hopefully qualify. Even if 20 just people show up, the one who gets 11 votes wins.

  11. Carmen Lopez hates Puerto Ricans just as much if not more than Mario Testa and Ralph Ford. Not a chance in hell she gets the nomination. I have a say in the Town Committee and my people will NOT be voting for Carmen Lopez. Although I think Leticia isn’t too bright (Just the perfect person for the BOE), she does care about her community.

    1. If Carmen Lopez hates Puerto Ricans, you must detest Puerto Ricans, Blacks and all other races including your own. My people? That said it all! Carmen Lopez is married to a white man the last time I checked. When Carmen Lopez and the committee put together to address the dropout rate issue needed funding to hire a consultant, why didn’t Leticia Colon step in with a resolution to provide some dollars? So much for caring for her community. With people like her, who needs your people?

  12. Carmen Lopez is just the kind of person that parents of Bridgeport school children need on the BOE. As a judge dealing with juveniles, I’m sure that Carmen Lopez has seen what I have been saying for a long time–The Bridgeport education system produces much of the byproduct of our prison system. What do you think the future holds for all those who have dropped out of school, not to mention those who graduate and can’t read; write and spell properly; or solve simple math problems? Carmen Lopez was a Judge with a heart who was always trying to help kids get on the right track and not clearing her docket by simply sending kids through the revolving doors of our justice system.
    There are lots of Democrats jockeying for a position on the BOE ballot. Where the hell were they when Carmen Lopez and a group of others like Attorney Justino Rosado spent so much time and energy in trying to find a solution to the dropout rate? Why didn’t Leticia Colon or Bill Finch present a resolution–they put out $650,000 for the Parent Center–to provide the money for the consultant to move forward in dealing with the dropout rate issue?
    The same folks who did shit for the kids now want to be the ones making decisions that will impact them the most. I’m for Robert Russo and Carmen Lopez.

  13. Hey Squealer, those were some nasty remarks you made yesterday about Santa and her daughter. If they aren’t aging well, you can blame it on the smoking. It cause big-time wrinkles.

    Joel, dude, you make some sense for a change. Leticia would just be another puppet for the party. Judge Lopez is a highly educated, intelligent women who is not afraid to speak her mind. I heard that Adam Wood is totally pissed at the way she spoke to Finch last week. When Adam is pissed, he will go to great lengths to retaliate. Look out, Carmen.

    1. *** And you should know about smoking & wrinkles C.H.S.! *** And as far as the city is concerned, the new rule of “dumb” is save money by layoffs then use it by overspending on salary increases for the Admin. *** Stop & Spend *** Ask Supt. Ramos he’s a pro @ increases & spending, with the B.O.E.’s blessing to boot! *** “O.I.B.” ***

  14. Sorry to blog off-topic, but I will anyway. I’m wondering how the City is covering all those salaries in Housing Code and Anti-Blight. That’s like a million dollars. Plus there’s no state budget and the City is covering those salaries as well. I heard there are 600 employees in the BOE paid through grants that have not been funded as of today. I don’t want to see anyone laid off but damn! Are we digging ourselves into another big deficit? And with all this going on, Ramos takes his 3.5% increase. There’s a man with no conscience.

  15. Lol Bpts Finest you’re so funny you can say what you want to say, you’re full of it.

    PS I’m Voting For Carmen Lopez at Black Rock School. Do you have a problem with that? hahahahahahahahaha.

  16. Okay, thanks Lennie. If my memory serves me right Bpts Finest was that paid blogger from last summer. Keep posting guys, I have never been a fan of this pay for blog guy. Up On Bridgeport is the best and Bpts Finest is just a paid blogger everybody knows that from last year all your posts are irrelevant and that is all I have to say for tonight.

  17. I wonder if Liebercrats Finch/Wood will support Republican candidates for the BOE as underhandedly as they did when they worked against Himes in order to keep Shays away from taking their paychecks. You know … put the kibosh on a shining star like Lopez to keep her away from the idiot Mayor’s seat and Adam “Dead” Wood’s paycheck. Don’t put it beyond them … especially Wood. He has no ethics, no morals, no heart and no loyalty to the party that he once directed.


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