The Tax Man, The Impact Of A Caruso Primary, And National Review’s McMahon Pile Driver

The dreaded tax bills will hit mailboxes July 1. But before that the City Council is expected to officially approve a tax increase of roughly one additional mil above the current 38.74 mil rate. By charter the mil rate must be set by the second Tuesday of June. What does that represent for the average taxpayer? Hard to say, but from talking to bean counters somewhere between a $50 and $100 increase for the year, depending on assessments, with some more than $100.

But then comes the hard part for city officials and city employees. How to close a multi-million dollar budget shortfall. The budget submitted by Mayor Bill Finch and approved by the council relies on millions in employee concessions. How far into the budget year can the city go, if concessions aren’t received, before layoffs?

Carlos V. Caruso?

If Carlos Silva primaries State Rep. Chris Caruso it adds a new Bridgeport dynamic to the Democratic guber primary between party endorsed Dan Malloy and challenger Ned Lamont. Most of the city’s political organization has pledged support to Ned. But if Carlos primaries, Caruso will be on Malloy’s line. Caruso, for the first time in about a decade, received the party endorsement. Every time the party challenged Caruso he’d croak the endorsed candidate. Caruso was looking forward to a quiet summer. Then came word that Carlos is out scouring signatures for a primary. Caruso defeated Carlos by more than a two-to-one margin two years ago.

What’s the rationale for Carlos, a nice guy, challenging Caruso again? Maybe he feels he’s next in line for Caruso’s seat should Caruso win the mayoralty next year. That’s a misplaced strategy. If that scenario should occur there’s no way Caruso will allow the person who twice primaried him to replace him.

Caruso has yet to decide if he’ll endorse Lamont or Malloy. He met with Lamont last week and plans to meet soon with Malloy. Caruso is popular in his legislative district. If he decides to support Malloy that undercuts the local party establishment’s hopes to run up a nice number for Ned.

National Review Skewers McMahon

Check out this body slam of Linda McMahon from Rich Lowry, National Review. Not exactly a liberal pub.

The presumptive Republican nominee for the U.S. Senate from Connecticut is an inspiring business success who battled adversity and the competition to build an internationally recognized brand.

She is also a schlock merchant of the first order.

In this particular Senate race, Connecticut could be mistaken for Louisiana. The sitting senator, Chris Dodd, is retiring in a cloud of scandal. The Democrat vying to replace him, Richard Blumenthal, is a lifetime politico with a habit of lying about his record in Vietnam. The Republican, Linda McMahon, is the former CEO of World Wrestling Entertainment, which is to the popular culture what the BP spill is to the Gulf of Mexico — a relentless gusher of pollution.

If decency means nothing, McMahon is the businesswoman par excellence. With her husband, Vince, she grew WWE into a billion-dollar business. The company had to fend off fierce competition in the mid-1990s, when its future looked precarious. The McMahons prevailed on the back of those timeless entrepreneurial values of shrewdness, determination, and risk-taking.

Plus, they had no standards. Linda became head of the company when Vince got indicted in a steroids scandal (most charges were dropped; he was found not guilty on another). And the WWE vanquished its competition when it entered the “attitude era,” the repulsiveness of which made steroid-abusing hulks merely pretending to do violence to one another seem like the good ol’ innocent days.

The WWE blends elements of Jerry Springer’s show, the Victoria’s Secret fashion show, Ultimate Fighting, and soap opera — except it makes all of those forms of entertainment seem elevated by comparison. The best that can be said for it is that it represents the American id, although that’s a rather stinging commentary on the nation’s psyche.

The McMahons wrote versions of themselves into the plots of their wrestling opera buffa. The twisted, aggrieved masculinity represented by the “Mr. McMahon” character, played by Vince, should launch a thousand feminist Ph.D. dissertations.

Mr. McMahon makes one female wrestler crawl on all fours and bark like a dog for betraying him, before urging her to strip for her sins. The fake TV announcer has an apt comment: “This is utter humiliation. This is as bad as last week!”

In another episode, Mr. McMahon has his leather-skirt-wearing daughter — his real daughter, playing herself — dragged from the ring kicking and screaming by security. In yet another, he chokes her with a pipe. The animating spirit of all this is Hustler, without crossing over into pornography.

Linda McMahon says that she was primarily involved in the business, not the creative, side of the enterprise. She apparently had no idea what unbelievable dreck her husband, the creative genius of the family, was staging every week. Linda herself appeared in some of the skits, although — in her defense — in a relatively restrained role that only saw her kick men in the groin once or twice.

She can’t deny any foreknowledge of the pipe-choking incident, since she participated in the skit. Asked whether she’s proud of that charming moment in “sports entertainment” history, her campaign spokesman repeatedly refuses to answer. All he’ll say is that there are “parts of the program that she likes more than others.” We’ll have to guess whether she liked, say, the episodes with the insulting depictions of a mentally handicapped man more or less.

There was a time when association with something so vulgar would have foreclosed the possibility of public office. But we’ve come a long way since Harry Truman was looked down upon for being a haberdasher. Judgment and discretion aren’t what they used to be in business, entertainment, or politics, fields where profits, ratings, and success tend to trump all other values.

The WWE has been taking its more rancid video clips off the Web, and a couple of years ago it toned down its content to make it all PG-rated. If that represents a twinge of conscience, it’s welcome, if belated.



  1. I spoke to Carlos about his latest attempt to unseat Chris Caruso. I worked for Carlos the last time he ran against Caruso.
    I told Carlos I thought he was better off to wait 2 years and see where Caruso ends up in the next mayoral race.
    I told Carlos he has some big things to overcome in a short period of time, after all the primary is in August.
    Carlos has more than one problem with this latest run.
    1. He has very little name recognition in Caruso’s district.
    2. Caruso picked up a ton of new supporters with his leadership role in defeating the juvenile Jail.
    3. Carlos took 2 years off after running against Caruso 2 years ago. He did not work to get his name out there on problems facing the city and state.
    4. I like Carlos a lot but I told him he can’t keep tilting at windmills and wait 2 years as it looks like Caruso could win the mayor’s job and then the seat is wide open.
    5. Right or wrong when you piss off a lot of higher-up leadership that does not want you to run this time your big-money sources go away.
    6. Lose this race and any thoughts you have had about running for mayor are gone and suddenly your council seat looks vulnerable.
    I think Carlos is making a mistake of major proportions.

  2. Here we go again. What kind of game is Mario playing now? First he endorses Caruso and then he backdoors him with a Silva signature campaign. You can bet your ass Carlos is not doing this without Mario’s blessing. Another backroom deal typical of the Bridgeport DTC.

    1. city hall: On this one you are wrong. Carlos is pissed at Mario and I think that in part is fueling this run against Caruso by Carlos. Mario does not want Carlos to primary Caruso especially after the DTC endorsed Caruso for the first time in years.
      Like Lennie said, by Carlos primarying Caruso it takes Caruso a proven vote-getter off the Lamont Line and puts him on the Malloy Line. Good for Malloy, bad for Lamont.

  3. Well the city tax collection task force is alive and well in Bridgeport. Whoever is in charge of booting cars for non-payment of taxes blanketed my neighborhood last night. I counted 6 cars with the boot on the wheel. It must be working and people are then paying their taxes because by 11 a.m. 4 of the cars had the boot removed.

    1. *** The boot is actually easy to remove as I’ve seen in my neighborhood. Where there’s a will, there’s a way! *** Maybe the tea party members should be paying better attention to local taxes in Conn. instead of just “Obama”-bashing in general? *** Independent thinking creates independent voting! ***

  4. Lennie, re: Linda McMahon, the NY POST has a scathing piece about her candidacy. If the NY POST is dissing her then I think she might be in trouble.

  5. *** Another fuel-tile attempt for a political position that is beyond reach! However, may prove interesting in getting “something for nothing” in the political scheme of things? It’s the nature of the Dem. “beast” in Bpt. *** FORGETABOUTIT ***


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