Town Committee Showdown Brewing In The Rock

Donna Curran
Former city councilor Donna Curran.

Democratic Town Committee slates for March 6th district primaries are taking shape with a neighborhood coalition in Black Rock and the West End challenging veteran committee members led by long-time 130th District Leader Danny Roach. Among the challenge slate is Donna Curran, a former Republican, who won a seat on the City Council in 2005.

A lot is on the line in these district primaries for control of political leadership, especially for Mayor Joe Ganim and Democratic Town Chair Mario Testa. The DTC has 90 members covering 10 districts. The membership endorses candidates for public office and selects officers including the chairman. Testa wants two more years as chair to help guide the Bridgeport delegate selection to the state party convention in May where Ganim needs 15 percent delegate support to qualify for a Democratic primary for governor in August. Without that, his only option to make the ballot is grinding out a painstaking petition drive. And looking down the road, 2019 is a mayoral election year where DTC members make endorsements for mayor and City Council.

Danny Roach

Roach, a friend and adviser to Ganim, has had success holding off challenge slates in the past in low-turnout primaries, leveraging friends and neighborhood contacts in the district, some of whom frequent his popular bar Matty’s Corner.

The challenge slate appears to have forged an eclectic group of professionals, as well as political, environmental and education activists such as JoAnn Kennedy, Michael Raleigh, Lynda Bluestein and Diane Vulcano. See complete slate here.

Roach’s slate includes veterans of district battles such as Tom Mulligan, JoAnn Manzo and Michael Meehan. Roach was among the district leaders who bolted from incumbent Bill Finch to support Ganim for mayor in 2015. Roach served as campaign manager and was an early mayoral appointee serving as chief of staff for the first year before segueing to special projects coordinator shepherding economic development projects and serving as a bridge between the mayor’s office and Governor Dan Malloy’s staff.

The 130th District is about as diverse as they come in the city, taking in the waterfront hamlet Black Rock with some of the highest assessed homes in the city that vote at Black Rock School and what is termed the lower half of the district comprised of public housing units at P.T. Barnum Apartments and a portion of the working class West End where Aquaculture School serves as the voting precinct.

In recent years Aquaculture has emerged as a significant vote for absentee ballots, something that will be key in these lower-turnout primaries.



    1. Mr. Mackey, Although I have been accused of being color blind ans wearing rose colored glasses, I believe there are at least 4 Black candidates on this slate. That should not be a criteria but it is a fact.

      1. Steve, of course that should be one of the requirements, what are we talking about here, you blacks of Hispanics in the 130th district and there must be blacks and Hispanics on the slate. Steve, who are those black and Hispanics on the slate?

        1. Shaurice Bacon,Jonne Kennedy,Dione Dwyer, Greg Blake. That is all I can remember. I am not sure how many Blacks are on the opposition slate. It would be a shame if it were zero. I do agree that minority representation is important but do not agree they would represent their constituents any better than say, Condoleeza Rice, Ben Carson and Omarosa if you catch my drift! 🙂

          1. Steve, my bad, my comment was concerning Danny Roach’s slate that’s is supported by Mario Testa.

    2. Notice that their addresses have bnot been posted. I demand to know the address of all DTC members of this slate. One obvious hand-picked Hispanic who I haven’t heard of, Isn’t going to cut it. From the look of the ticket (7 woman, 2 men). These folks were recruited by Senator Moore among a few others, most are loyalist of the current and new status quo/eletists of Black Rock for Black Rock only. I don’t see any difference between this slate from the present and past ones. Curran is a good human being. But, Curran RAN AWAY from the tough challenges that has bough us to TODAY. Many of us had tried to keep her in the struggle and had urged her to stay involved. She turned her back and said she was done. I and many others (Democrats and Republicans) who stood up to the challenges ahead of us ,many years ago, can say that Donna Curran, RAN AWAY.

      1. Joelle,
        So misunderstood and/or misstated are you. And you are certainly not one who has stood by a person or principle in such strength over the past decade that you should talk about anyone “running away” as if it were a playground taunt.
        Why should Donna Curran (or also from the neighborhood political lineup, Rick Torres or Kate Bukovsky) be criticized by you in terms of RAN AWAY? Where are those “many others” you reference “who stood up to the challenges ahead” today?
        Each of them served the voting public, and returned to private life. Who is the “us” you reference? With your posting in recent months, does it include Ganim2 as one of these heroes? His time in the care of Federal Prison authorities, does not equate with more than a quarter century Nelson Mandela was barred from public life and influence, you know? As we deal with Black History Month let’s keep models of democratic representation clear in our references. Time will tell.

        1. JML, you are one of those who didn’t run away. I’m misunderstood and/or misstated? If you’d simply take my advice/suggestion of looking at the flip side of the coin and made a regular habit of it, you’d have the ability to understand things much better. I was pretty clear on my take, you have your own take like anyone else but, you simply chose to ignore the flips side of the coin.

          What does Joe have to do with this, other than the fact that down the road DTC member will endorse someone for mayor and other offices. There is a huge difference between being sent away (Ganim to Prison) and Donna Curran running away. You and many others don’t want to accept Ganim’s right to step back in to politics and run for office. Donna Curran has the same right. Whenever individuals chose to get into politics, they shall be fully aware that members of the public will have opinions about them or their involvement.

          Lets take the claim of Donna Curran being the founding memeber of the BR NRZ. You folks are making it sound like Curran is the “founder”. Define founder. The fact of the matter is that the NRZ concept or requirement is a federal mandate or requirement. When Black Rockers joined hands to form (not found/ed) their respective NRZ many years ago, tell us who were the members and where they live? As a matter of fact tell us the address and names of the current members of the BR NRZ. Tell us how much money the NRZ appropriated for the area of the 130th. district where I live. Tell us the benefits the BK NRZ has had on the P.T. Barnum area. Go ahead give me clear examples, inform us, educate us. Where are the misstatements in my part, correct me with facts. Back up your comments with links or documents, etc.

          1. Want to know the history of Black Rock NRZ? Come and visit my office. We’ll dig it up and let you read. The State of CT set up NRZ programs not the Feds. Donna Curran was ‘a founder’, someone who was on board and active originally when two years of planning sessions culminated in formation of a Board with ten years of short, medium and long term goals in multiple categories. For Financial Records you have to look at the City of Bridgeport who have received, budgeted and spent most of Grant, HuD and State of CT funds they way they see fit. Although Black Rock, through the action of Joe Ianiello and myself managed to incorporate the group and maintain a non-profit status through the years for the relatively small amount of funds actually received.
            NRZ experience has made enough of us aware of the solitary situation of PTBarnum to be more attentive to the schools, housing, recreation and transportation needs of those who reside there. Life is not perfect, as you well know but DTC selections have gone very far to field a very diverse CHALLENGE slate. Democrats will have a choice this year. Those who want more of the same, can re-elect folks who don’t even reach out to fellow Democrats respectfully when they are active in community support. There is a choice, and freedom to choose. Isn’t that the American way? Time will tell.

    1. Phil Blagys, really? Remember we’re talking about America, perhaps you can tell me at point in American history did blacks became equal to whites, now forget the first blacks came in 1619??

      1. Ron,
        Thankfully there have been a few whites and more than a few blacks who knew deep down that they were equal to other women and men, under their skin. So there is a centuries’ old story of racism and the multiple ways that folks in the colonies and then the US dealt with the notion of human equality. And the continuation of “biblical” or climatological explanations for inequality pale today in front of the fact that we do not talk about the subject of racism when we get together. Sometimes whites and sometimes people of color choose not to associate with others of different colors and culture and that informal segregation maintains boundaries and assumptions very well. Will we change? Will we invest time and listening while meeting with diverse others? Time will tell.

  1. I’m not a Donna Curran fan but I think she made a wise move. I’ve suggested a number of times on OIB that the few Republicans that are in Bridgeport need to become Democrats because that’s the only game in town and then get with other Democrats to make changes. The national and state Republican Party will soon become a old white males party with no power to expand their base.

  2. Remember this is a “challenge” slate to the “current machine” slate in the 130th. As believers in democratic practices and counting on candidates whose professed loyalty, though currently untested, is to selecting wisely the candidates to place before the community, the “mythic” Bridgeport community of “Black Rock” celebrated by OIB writers like Joelle Gonzalez or Ron Mackey that runs west of Ellsworth and south of Fairfield Avenue appears to be just that, “mythic”, or a state of mind, as only three female candidates reside in that area.

    Meanwhile, reports from the 130th over the weekend show veteran City political operative Wanda Geter-Pataky appearing with two or four white guys, attributed to be from Ganim2. Word at the sTOP & sHOP is that she is talking about financial support for her “foundation” and protecting it? What’s up there?
    Rumor has it that Wanda does not live in Bridgeport currently and is employed at a north end location for the Aging Department. When housing or school problems happen in the community she is absent? But when elections of any kind, she becomes present for the “absentee ballots”? New challenger democratic practices? Or same old? Three residents of PT and one from Twin Towers plus two more residents of “eastern” 130th? Quite a change, wouldn’t you agree?
    Now it’s time for knocking on those doors again, and meeting the people. Telling your new story and enlisting their votes? Time will tell.

    1. JML, you have it wrong, my concern was about C4BB being a Black Rock organization, history has long shown that Republican Party in the 130th district was just a Black Rock Party with no power. C4BB was trying to deal with the issues concerning Blacks Rock first and the 130th district but the makeup of C4BB was basically white residents from Black Rock. I’ve always believed that this organization was a launching pad for David Walker to run for political office while at the same time trying to deal with issues in Black Rock.

      1. Well, Ron, CW4bb was changing and morphing into something else all the time you were fantasizing and mythologizing (and remaining absent from showing up for any personal meet and greet opportunity we might have arranged). So you can now see that “white residents from Black Rock suspected of being Republicans who cannot be trusted anyway” as you have stated in recent days to Joe McIlaine are really about actually engaging people from all over the district in an active attempt to provide an alternative to a DTC machine that has not listened to “registered Democrats” for years. If your current beliefs are being disproved, what will you resort to in their place? Time will tell.

        1. JML, the only game in Bridgeport is the ETC so if you want to make policitial changes in Bridgeport then become a Democrat and take over ETC. Running as a Republican will get you nothing.

    2. Well John Marshall Lee, You are sharp. You are the first person to realize that Wanda lives in Greenfield Hills and living the life . She like many come slumming in Bridgeport because the life of the upper crust is a real drag. Seems like you feel a little intimidated by the social circle of Wanda. I understand that half the members of her Town Committee also live in Fairfield. Didn’t Council member Maria just buy a house in Fairfield and Chris Rosario in Shelton down the street by me? There is something about Bridgeport that just keeps us coming back for more and I don’t mean Moore!

      1. Your satire is interesting in terms of language. Greenfield Hill, ‘slumming’ in Bridgeport and folks having residences where their political office would not permit. And a negative reference to Senator Moore. What is it about living in Shelton that calls you back to Bridgeport? Aren’t your taxes less of a burden? Don’t you have a choice of upscale restaurants that are able to stay in business?

        But I did raise the issue of a Trumbull woman by the name of Eleanor Guedes who has voted multiple recent years with a Trumbull address and wondered whether she was the same person who is President of our Civil Service Commission? Know anything about that, Steven? Or any reason in CT election law or Bridgeport Charter why that should not be likely or possible? Time will tell.

    3. John Marshall Lee // Jan 17, 2018 at 9:53 am


      “…Bridgeport community of “Black Rock” celebrated by OIB writers like Joelle Gonzalez…)

      NOW I”M JOELLE GONZALEZ. I’ll tell you what JML. Be a man and back up your position, get out and hit the streets and come over my house with any of your candidates. The first thing I’ll do is pull you to the side and show you my DICK to satisfy your curiosity as to my gender.

  3. Wanda Geter knows the 130th district very well and she has worked hard to get people to like her and to trust her. Now if Wanda is doing something illegal then charges should be bought against her with evidence and not rumors.

  4. Wanda Geter-Pataky knows part of the 130th District “very well”. She resided there at one time. Perhaps family relations are still there? And she parties with folks at PT Barnum at times. But has she worked to help folks who live there change their circumstances? Has she taken a position on schools and youth in the City? No doubt she is likable and that is important in politics.
    But so are issues that never get resolved around public housing. Problems that require a political solution between elections that may be ignored because Wanda is not there? Is there room for that type of representation of Hispanic and African American tenants of HUD housing, whether like PT Barnum or Twin Towers? Time will tell.

    1. John Marshall Lee, You have balls commenting on Wanda. She is well liked throughout the city. You have no clue what Wanda has done over the years for many at PT. No clue at all. Now I would be an advocate for more affordable /low income housing in Black Rock proper. I think that is what you were hoping Wanda would be an advocate for. In many respects you are right., but, Wanda knowing people does not mean she needs to do all of the advocating. You get on your soapbox at council meetings regularly. I have never heard you asking to upgrade and improve the quality of life for people that live in PT. I have never heard a suggestion to create more affordable housing in Black Rock. Maybe that should be your new battle cry. Wanda’s position in the city does not require her to go to Board meetings . Black Rock is home to 2 very fine schools. How lucky are people to know WAnda Geter. Everytime there is an election you mention her or Lydia Martinez, another amazing woman that is out there daily giving back to her community.

      1. Steven, I am a citizen and resident of Bridgeport. You used to be. I have engaged in a variety of community volunteer work but have never held a position where a weekly check from the City has been available to me. Those folks mentioned have been politically active and at least at varying times have held elected or appointed positions in the City.
        Personally, I grant more respect to my neighbor, female or male, who volunteers, with no personal benefit in mind, to provide community assistance in any of hundreds of ways than I do to a City employee who works a set number of hours, with a steady paycheck and great benefits while employed and post employment, too and also volunteers. Just my opinion. Got to wait for Judgement Day to see whether I have it wrong or not, but role models who have been fined for unlawful election activities, etc. just take a lower rung in my HALL OF HEROES.
        And Steve if you have not heard what I do, just know firstly that where you have hung out is not where I have been laboring, for the most part so stories about my involvement may not reach your ears or eyes because we do look at things differently. Secondly, know that democracy works where people act and tell the truth. I may make an occasional error (as in referring to Joel Gonzalez as Joelle because of a recent email received) but my errors are not malicious or frequent, I sense, or I would be under attack more frequently and not from the same GANIM2 crowd. Kind of humorous to think that Ron Mackey and Joe Ganim share the same distinction: Never enough interest or time to have a serious discussion with JML. Time will tell.

        1. John Marshall Lee. I notice you make a comment regarding my address. I need to make a clarification. I was born and bred in Brooklyn, New York. Brooklyn was and still is the center of the Universe but I digress. I am a New Yorker. I have lived in Bridgeport Connecticut for the past 50 years. Does that make me a carpet bagger. I was first Appointed to a commission by Thomas Bucci. At the time he was my lawyer. When Ganim1 first ran for office, I was a Republican supporting Mary Moran. That was the last time I was a Republican. Over the past half century, OMG, I have had weekend places on a lake and in a luxury Highrise in Shelton and have traveled around the world to some of the most amazing and exotic places. I am a member of the 134th Town Committee. I could never leave Bridgeport. I will be a member of the town committee for some time to come. My permanent address is Bridgeport , Connecticut. I support all positive things Bridgeport. I do not share the same ideology as yourself and many on this blog but I do want what “I” believe is best for this city.

          I do find it humorous that you do not comment on Jennifer B., Donald Day and Bob Walsh posting and not residing in Bridgeport. I will be out meeting and registering my neighbors as always and supporting my District leader Dennis Scinto. Again I am a Bridgeport resident. 🙂

    2. Hey Shithole mouth, the only reason there are three blacks on that DTC slate is because Senator Marilyn MOORE picked them for the sole purpose of securing her DTC endorsement as well as securing the same for Smith and Spain down the road.

  5. Oohhh give me a damn break with respect to where Wanda Geter lives. You should be more concerned with where your mayor lives rather than a lady that holds NO political position nor does she serve on any board in Bridgeport. Your only concerns with Wanda is with her ability to get the vote out for the candidate of her choice in P.T and the 130th which you white people in Black Rock has ignored for decades.

    I didn’t see a post from many of you questioning the residency of the white lady in civil service. Please, your bigotry is showing from under your sheet.

  6. To be clear and set the record straight. Maria did not move to Fairfield. Chris Rosario did not move down the street from me and as much as I would love Wanda Geter and her husband t be living the life in Greenfield Hills, lucky for the City Of Bridgeport. She lives in the city on the move!

    1. Phil, I have no clue as to what your question is about.
      Is this about President Donald Trump who has spent most of his first year on the golf course yelling four (fore) in his relentless pursuit of a shithole-in-one?

  7. It’s obvious that the Testa-crat apologists and Ganim lemmings are running scared. the latest actions of the City Council show that Testa/Ganim have lost control. Testa/Ganim are sinking.

  8. When all is said this is about BLACK ROCK, not the entire city. The resudents of P.T. Need to mobilize, engage in the political process beyond the twenty bucks a vote Ganim and Testa pay them every four years.

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