The ‘Yahoo’ Factor–Ganim Capitalized On Finch’s Gaffes

The hand-wringing swamping the Bridgeport business community, the editorial board of the Connecticut Post, various media outlets in the state such as the Hartford Courant and a sundry of national concerns befuddled by Joe Ganim’s resurgent comeback fails to examine the failures by incumbent Mayor Bill Finch that opened the door to Ganim’s traction. If Finch had been a popular mayor who truly framed himself as a reformer championing the City Charter in the cause of transparency, doing the right thing, holding the line on taxes, creating jobs, offering strength to victims of violent crime, standing by his word and not throwing people under the bus, Bridgeport would not be in the national news welcoming back Joe Ganim.

The voters have spoken loudly, they wanted Joe Ganim back. If you don’t want Ganim back don’t blame the voters, don’t blame Ganim, don’t blame anyone else other than Bill Finch. On Democratic primary day in September a voter was asked why he chose Joe Ganim over Finch. The response: “I’d rather vote for the effective felon than the ineffective liar.” And in that one statement a voter synthesized why Ganim will be issued the oath of office December 1 and Bill Finch is sayonara.

Let’s examine the evidence.

— On the campaign trail in 2007 Finch promised to cut taxes by $600. In fact, in his first budget he raised them by that amount.

— In his initial weeks in office he tried to double dip both his State Senate pay and his mayoral pay, until he was publicly embarrassed to reverse himself.

— In his first year in office after appointing a whole bunch of folks to six-figure salaries he attempted to terminate library workers claiming they’re “non-essential.”

— After claiming for three-plus years that all was peachy in the city school system Finch had surreptitiously orchestrated a state takeover of education asserting the school system was a disaster.

— Rather than embracing the University of Bridgeport with an economic impact of tens of millions of dollars connecting the South End to Downtown, Finch called it a “criminal enterprise.”

— Instead of enforcing the City Charter that prohibits city employee councilors to avoid conflicts of interest Finch regaled in supporting a discretionary employee to serve as president of the City Council defying checks and balances in government.

— When a historic winter storm trapped folks in their homes for days following an incompetent snow removal operation, Finch blamed “the yahoos” for clogging traffic, not recognizing those “yahoos” were first responders risking their lives.

— When a developer was paid more than $400,000 to improve his driveway under the guise of an airport improvement project, Finch claimed he knew nothing about it, then fired the airport manager as a scapegoat.

— Repeatedly this year after violent crime claimed lives Finch asserted insensitively “crime has never been lower” rather than serving as a voice of concern and understanding for the families of victims.

— In a city loaded with people begging for second chances Finch wanted to pick and choose who was eligible for a second chance.

Finch translation: I know better than you.

That’s why he lost.

So please, outside media and company, stop condemning city voters for choosing Joe Ganim, a polished retail politician who exploited the weaknesses of the incumbent on the way to a general election win. Take a little time to examine how it happened.



  1. I would like to add, in a city mired in budget problems and lack of economic development, he concentrated on Green jobs and Green businesses that the average BRIDGEPORT resident didn’t really care about. Totally out of touch.

  2. Don’t forget his treatment of “Mother Goose,” where he lost my vote. And hooking up with MJF so as to collect a $30,000 city pension in two years. That’s $ 576 per week for having done nothing for eight years as well his other city job time.
    Good riddance to him and his ship of overpaid fools.

  3. Lennie,
    You did a good job of pointing out the landscape of the past eight years from 1000 feet above the fray. Those folks from outside the community, meaning folks who live in the suburbs but have some employment in the city, the media from New Haven, Hartford, New York and beyond, or those who pass through on I95 or in a railroad car are really seeing Bridgeport from the proverbial 30,000 feet.
    They have not been engaged in a struggle to be heard, to have facts of alternative story lines honored as truthful, or to be heard soundly by those who were elected to represent the people, but rather believed they were elected to serve the Mayor.
    The lives of all the citizens of Bridgeport matter. Their voices need to be raised. Their knowledge requires good, timely available information. Choices need to be more broadly discussed. Genuine successes need to be shared as models for others to follow rather than trumped-up excuses for having some “good news” at a Council meeting. And where there are lives, vocations of service to others, invested capital in homes and businesses, there are values to be protected and sustained. Does anyone doubt there is a necessary role in this city for watchdogs to be on the lookout for that which weakens or robs us of these valued items? Shall we look for OPEN, ACCOUNTABLE, TRANSPARENT and HONEST changes in structure and process in the days ahead? Or continue barking? Time will tell.

    1. Can’t forget the 2008 revaluation. It should put Finch and DeParle behind bars! Not only did they cheat the people of Bridgeport out of their tax dollars, DeParle was using his office (Board of Assessment Appeals) like his own personal candy store, cutting taxes on every piece of property he owns, as well as Finch’s buddies.
      The famous Finch quote “some people’s taxes will go up! And some people’s taxes will go down;” they sure did!

  4. Lennie, excellent, one cannot go forward unless they know where they’ve been in order to not make the same mistakes but to be able to use the things that did work. Lennie, as you know on OIB everything you listed was mention over and over again but what a lot of voters didn’t realize was how stubborn Bill Finch really is and how big of a liar he is. Finch had nothing but yes people around who didn’t challenge and point out he was going in the wrong direction and a number of those people are still on the City Council. He thought Rev. Moales would be his go-to person in the black community so he had no need to find out for himself what their concerns were. Finch continued to hire people not from Bridgeport but the picture that showed Finch was out of touch with the voters was the picture of John Marshall Lee holding a shovel up in the air at the council meeting, that was classic and the voters got to see it for themselves.

  5. Ron–almost 12 thousand voters recognized this after eight years. You are absolutely right about his hires. Especially Anus and Andy (Wood and Nunn).

    I think this opine by Lennie was a message to the myopic press that were clueless about Finch.

    1. Without a doubt Malloy is next and now is time for Republicans to come up with a better platform and better candidates or they will still be on the outside looking in.

    1. Lennie, are you looking for a job with Joe? The Finch story is redundant. It was Foster and Torres who ran and failed against Ganim. I think Michael Gianotti is up for the communications job. He did a wonderful job during the campaign.

      Joseph Ganim won simply because he ran a much better campaign. People who Finch trusted were lazy. Joe had passionate campaigners. Foster did not. It made me sad, angry and now excited because I do believe Ganim will do a great job. Joe Ganim has a special quality about him that made him a 12-year mayor in the first place with an eye on the Governor’s race. Joe will succeed because we will not allow him to fail. Lightning does strike twice. Articles regarding why Finch failed are a waste. I thought he was a fine Mayor. I believe Finch will have supporters who acknowledge the development he brought to the city. I totally believe Ganim will have his many successes during his first administration because he will surround himself with people who want to see the city succeed! I maintain Ganim’s number-one reason for wanting to succeed is his family and that works for me just fine!

  6. Excellent piece Lennie, it captured the nuts and bolts of Bill Finch. Bill owes his loss to the fact he was a pathological liar who started to believe the lies he was telling and there was no one in his administration to tell him he was off the deep end of reality. Joe Ganim came along at just the right time to ride the wave of discontent back to the Mayor’s office.

  7. How about the bullying of city workers and the threats to our jobs, the cutting back on the benefits while costing us triple or more capping off at 50% while he handed out six-figure jobs to his buds?
    Let us not forget furloughs for union workers, some who make less than $35,000 a year.

  8. It’s not that difficult to predict the City will show a financial meltdown has incurred under the Finch Administration, once Joe Ganim steps in as Mayor.
    Somewhere between 40 to 50 million dollar deficit.
    The 2016 revaluation will have to be put on hold for the next two to four years just to straighten out the Finch/Sherwood meltdown!
    Joe should call for the State office of Auditors of Public Accounts (APA) and the FBI forensic accounting audit of all departments!
    Thanks to Deep Ears, Nose and Throat for this report.

  9. Great piece as usual, Lennie. Finch lost this election because of Finch, plain and simple, and now to hear him repeatedly say he’s “worried about the future of Bpt” is sickening. He wasn’t worried when he gave Manny that half million dollar driveway, he wasn’t “worried” when he gave his longtime friend Tiago a $96,000 made-up job checking to make sure holes in the street are filled correctly, he wasn’t ‘worried’ about Bpt when he marched down off his chair after the council didn’t give his buddy a 35-year tax abatement and put his hands around councilman Castillo’s neck in anger, etc, etc.

  10. Lennie. Well done. That’s quite a dossier you kept on Finch.

    I am convinced the key for Ganim was winning the primary and being the endorsed Democrat on line one. I have always felt sarcastically that the endorsed Democrat could be Osama Bin Ladin or Bozo the Clown and they would win in Bridgeport.

    So if Finch prevailed in the primary and was the endorsed Democrat while Ganim was a petition candidate, would the result be the same?

    1. Tom, the answer would have been yes! If Ganim were on row F or H he would have won. Passionate supporters and canvassers as well as nonstop commercials on TV and WICC. There was not one beat missed by Danny Roach and I believe Joe Ganim had his finger in nearly everything. He knocked on nearly every door and spoke to nearly every single person who crossed his path. Did anyone really have a chance?

      1. Looking back at the whole picture, there are so many factors involved in Joe Ganim winning the City of Bridgeport. I believe Joe Ganim in the end won because he connected with every group in Bridgeport. Call it the art of politics if you want, but in this case I think connecting with the people is one of Joe Ganim’s strengths.

        Since last election Finch made a political career move, a move to build the Finch name to be bigger than Bridgeport and the attitude toward the local Democrat party was either come for the ride or stay here. For me I can care less about the party aspect of this move Finch made but to deceive and lie to the residents was never going to be forgotten because he did it so often to the Bridgeport residents. When Finch decided his quickest way to building his name was to become Malloy’s bitch and be his puppet man, that is when his Mayor-ship started to sink. The people closest to him should have advised him; never think you are bigger than the game.

        In my neighborhood Joe Ganim should give great praise to Maria Pereira and dedication to Joe’s campaign. Just in case we all forgot, she was very instrumental in fighting Finch and Malloy from taking Bridgeport’s voting rights away.

        Pereira walked my neighborhood persistently and my wife and I spoke with her a couple times and I spoke with her on the phone about some issues. I watched the debates and Foster had appeal, she was confident, she appeared to know what the issues were and I read up on her and Finch’s history. They did not like each other; OK they hated each other, they were like water and oil.

        Ultimately I went with my initial mind and soul and voted for Joe Ganim on primary day. In reading her history with Finch it appeared her reason for running last election and this election was to just beat Finch and further I had a gut feeling she was all about bettering UB more than Bridgeport as a whole. Ganim’s conviction was not a factor in my decision of should I or shouldn’t I vote for him.

        After the primary election when Finch made an asshole of himself in public with that I will conquer Joe Ganim speech, that summed up his person. I still had respect for Foster and thought it was interesting she was still going to run even with Finch out of the race. But the day Finch announced he was out of the race and was endorsing Foster and Foster accepted his endorsement, it was then I lost all respect for her campaign. I knew more about her from that decision than anything I read.

        1. Gary, without the Finch endorsement MJF would have not run or if she did she would have had 1000 votes. I wish Mayor Finch would have just let fate play out. It was a very grueling few months going from one campaign to another when you knew what the outcome would be.

        2. Gary, great post. I felt the same as you when MJF did such a head-spinning leap into Finch’s arms. As to your kind words about Maria Pereira, I agree with you again. I witnessed the hard work she put into Joe’s campaign. Her passion and commitment was foreign to many of the people working in the campaign, but it wasn’t lost on me. I’d want her in my corner anytime.

          1. Ditto Lisa, people do not understand what my connection was to Maria Pereira, well we both are fierce campaigners and I have to say amazing! It didn’t matter we had different candidates. I would definitely want her in my corner any day of the week. I have never seen a harder worker on a campaign. She may have pissed off some people, but on a campaign you overlook that, keep your eyes on the prize. She did! I’d say she was one of Joe Ganim’s most valuable players. I credit her with the success of Anthony and Nessa, the BOE and our new Mayor-elect Joseph Ganim’s 138th success. For months I conveyed this to two different campaigns, that went in one ear and out the other. Great job, Maria! Gary Tobin, thank you for recognizing Maria. I am tired of all the negative crap people say and I am happy she does not take it to heart.

          2. Lisa and Steve, first I voted for Maria Pereira because I feel she’ll do a good job BUT she needs to know what fight to fight, by that I mean she doesn’t need to be in battle on OIB. I stand by my position on my comments to her, also she didn’t need to be in a battle with Andy Fardy on OIB. Hopefully her victory and her hard work will help her in not pushing away people who like her or who might support her.

  11. The key word is “exploited,” to use in an unfair and selfish way. I didn’t ever see Finch on the ballot. I’m confused Finch wasn’t ever on the ballet. So how did Ganim win in the general election over Mary-Jane? The only exploitation Ganim did to Finch is exploited his intellect over Finch’s. Finch’s debates of issues and counter-issues Ganim raised were mind numbing. Taxes, Finch come into office during a great depression 2008. Education, the BOD of education is the governing body of our failing school system. I tried to take control of it. I could stand by and let the BOE continue to fail our kids. Crime LOL Crime was steadily declining even in the economical depression our country was facing. It only started increasing when a criminal got out of prison and was back on the streets campaigning for mayor. Why Finch didn’t just petition to get on the ballet is mind-boggling. Considering the facts. That old news Joe is Bridgeport’s Mayor. The question what support can he gather and live up to his promises. If he can’t come through on taxes, investment, and crime, especial investment, he will be a one-term comeback. No one said how long his comeback will be. If you think Joe winning the primary was an uphill battle, getting the bankers, investors, state, and the feds to embrace his past exploitation are Mount Everest. Chris Caruso will love to see Bridgeport stagnate for a few years, so he could challenge Joe in the next primary. Politics never ends. Joe had better hope Chris ain’t making any moves gathering support to make Joe’s criminal record look like it’s hindering Bridgeport’s progress and development. A little more than going to Home Depot to mend a fence, but the concept is the same. Make your opponent look bad.

  12. Finch may not be liked in the Bridgeport City bubble politics, which contributed to his fall. But when you get State, Washington, and every endorsement known to mankind is rebuked because of dislike of Finch. Considering there are more players involve like the City Council to get thinks done, it’s going to be an uphill challenge. As far as taxes goes, I remember the 2008 collapse of the economy. I also know a development that goes through is a collaboration. So the election is more about local politics than anything. I also know no politician could really come out to endorse Joe because of his past. So I think the question comes down to can they ever support him. While yes Democratic politicians need Bridgeport. They also need all the other Democratic voters who are shaking their hands. Like I said, it all come down to if Joe can produce funding and investment to lower taxes. If he can’t I don’t think he can win a reelection. We will see the support he gets. It’s just that simple. Dan’s weak and is most likely going to lose. Joe’s weak because of his past and lost support because of it. One thinks for sure there will be another election for both of them.

  13. Bill Finch was an eleventh-hour draft, recruited to head off a sure win by Chris Caruso. Mario Testa must’ve thought Finch would be a good boy, play the part of Harvey Milquetoast. Given Finch’s record as a back bencher in the state legislature, it’s easy to understand how Mario made a mistake. If Finch had cooperated with Mario he wouldn’t have made so many gaffes. “Crime is down” he said; we all know differently. The gun buyback program, touted as a successful effort to take firearms off the streets, was followed by a slate of shootings, many of them fatal.

    Bill Finch’s greatest mistake was believing he was omnipotent, a force greater than the leadership of the local DTC, the party chairman would not care if he were left out of the loop. If Finch had actually cooperated with the machine he wouldn’t have ended up quacking and limping. Corrupt or no, the Bridgeport DTC is the party in power.

    1. Why is no nobody mentioning Enrique Torres and Charlie Coviello’s amazing races? Both had their 15 minutes snubbing Finch. Now both will never ever ever be a force to even consider. Citywide, Charlie had 62 votes. He had five times as many signs around the city. A very sad showing, Charlie. I am certain you had very good reasons to snub Mayor Finch and maybe the Mayor learned a lesson. But you sir, missed your moment and now we all will support Joe Ganim because we must for the future of our city. I find it very strange the Torres supporters are not more vocal on this blog. After all, he won the poll twice!

      1. One desktop, one laptop, one phone, for each of Torres’ supporters. You can likely add one iPad to that IP count. Four votes per person. That’s the fact, jack.

  14. Derek, Dr. Martin Luther King said “There comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but he must take it because conscience tells him it is right.”


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