Troll: Ballot Question Could Sink Key Votes For Murphy, Himes In Bridgeport–McMahon Would Benefit

Vote No
Logo from the Vote No coalition.

Former City Councilman Bob “Troll” Walsh, who’s among a coalition of city pols and organizations leading the charge against the Nov. 6 ballot question that if approved by voters would give the mayor the power to appoint school board members, writes in a commentary that voter backlash to the question could hurt the efforts of Democratic candidates needing to run up large numbers in the city such as Congressman Jim Himes and U.S. Senate candidate Chris Murphy. The “Vote No” coalition that includes former President of the Board of Education Max Medina has created a website Walsh commentary below:

How important is it?

That is the question Bill Finch and his operatives need to be asking themselves when it comes to the GOTV effort on Election Day.

Ordinarily the Democratic machine would simply kick it into high gear and pull out every registered Dem they could find (and sometimes even those that couldn’t be found). It’s a numbers game and the bigger the number coming out of Bridgeport the more he and Town Chair Mario Testa could beat their chests up in Hartford.

They would scream at the top of their lungs “We came through.” “We delivered.” And implied would be the state has to deliver to Bridgeport.

But this year could be different. This is the year of the charter question. This year the mayor has twisted arms in the business community finding funds for a Yes vote. Salivating over complete control of the school board and hence the school budget, not to mention unabated access to the capital funds for school construction and rehab. And don’t forget jobs. Lots and lots of jobs. Since Day One Mayor Finch has complained about the lack of jobs.

With an elected board and a friendly superintendent he could squeeze some jobs out of the schools for political rewards but now it would be free and total control.

Create jobs that never existed before. Big paydays for big payoffs.

So where are the mayor’s priorities?

Does he pump up the turnout to Obamaesque numbers again or does he tune it down just a bit. He will deliver his State Reps and State Senators no doubt with a managed turnout but …

Where will that leave Congressman Murphy? Will a lower turnout be just enough to help Linda squeak by? And to a lesser degree Jim Himes. It took an Obama landslide to deliver for Himes four years ago, what about this time around?

And what will happen if Murphy and Himes forces start getting wind that something is afoot? No well-respected political operative would deny this is right out of the old (Finch campaign adviser) Adam Wood playbook; every man for himself. Would they go behind the mayor’s back and do their own GOTV or even possibly put some money into the No campaign just to tweak up that turnout percent just a little higher?

It could be a dangerous game the Mayor and his allies are playing and it is definitely a game they don’t want to get caught red-handed.



  1. *** Calling all campaign HQs, I would like to get some lawn signs for my front yard which is on a busy street. Lawn signs in support of Obama, Himes, Linda, A. Ayala, Iannuzzi and also a Vote “No” on Nov. 6 would be nice. Just let me know when and where right here on OIB and we’ll set something up, “time’s a-ticking,” no? ***

  2. donj, I can only speak for myself. I am a South End resident. Someone who moved to the Lofts with his wife to start a family. I am a Republican. I am DEAD SET against this vote issue. I am also impressed with the ground game the Working Families folks have assembled in these few short months. This issue is vitally important. It neatly wraps into one miserable package why I decided to get involved in city politics. Power grabs by a few bullies. Telling the electorate what is best for them. Masking true intentions by hiding behind “celebrity” endorsements. All the while contorting wording on the ballot so the voter would need a decoder ring to understand its true meaning. Again, I pledge my support to the “Vote No” campaign. My opponent is silent. I will not be.

  3. IANNUZZI Lawn signs, pens, emery boards for everyone. Mojo, where can I drop them off? My home base is anywhere between Seaside Park and the Bijou!

  4. *** Lawn signs can be left at “Feed the People Pantry,” Gary Crooks Center, PT Barnum, 12-noon. Leave message for “Mr. Mojica” and one of the ladies will call me! ***

        1. For sure. We will have a table set up with information, lawn signs, palm cards, buttons and refreshments on Saturday from 11AM to 2PM at the corner of Myrtle Ave and Atlantic in front of the Jefferson School Lofts. Feel free to swing by, have a cup of coffee and say hello.

          1. That invite btw goes for anyone. Come by tomorrow, Saturday 11-2 (before the weather turns nasty) and say hello and grab some Friends of Iannuzzi merch. We will be at Myrtle and Atlantic right by the entrance to UB.

  5. I am also supporting John Iannuzzi. He really wants to engage and make a difference. The 130th district will benefit from John’s smarts, passion and integrity. I hope the Downtown and South End residents will help John win!

  6. I guess this could be one scenario to consider but I offer this lowly point of view: The appeal to the voters to vote No on the charter question is assuming voters are smart and care about the education process and the well from which the Board of Education members are drawn. It also assumes voters care about the rights they have to elect the BOE members and do not want to see the incestuous activities of the current pocket-lining deviates continue and thrive. So if these target voters are so smart and savvy, why aren’t they smart enough to not let the sentiments about the Charter Question bleed over into their choices for Congress, the Senate and The Presidency? I voted no, but still voted Democratic. If the Yes vote coalition is geared to persuade the uninformed voter, then the vote No coalition is appealing to the informed voter who, in my opinion, is too smart to allow a No vote to color his or her entire ticket choice.

  7. Zena Lu, one scenario is Mayor Finch is that smart to pick BOE members but what is his background and ability to make these decisions especially for someone who makes promises he does not keep like the $600 rebate Bridgeport taxpayers are checking their mail every day to see if it came. You want us to trust Bill Finch, based on what?

  8. Ron, in no way am I defending Finch. No I don’t want you to trust him. I am saying voters are smart, especially informed voters. They are capable of voting No on the Charter question and still supporting Democrats who ARE doing a good job, like Himes and Obama.

  9. Zena Lu, I’m not sure about that, with the mass mailing and hand-delivered flyers and the money that is being use to vote YES cannot be matched. They passed out flyers yesterday with a picture of Mayor Finch standing next to President Obama with a quote from the President saying, “We need to fix and improve our public schools, not throw our hands up and walk away from them.” How do you counter that, that is almost enough for someone to say the hell with Obama and the Democrats running.

  10. Zena Lu,
    This is not how a voter will vote when they get to the polls, it is whether or not the party will do their normal work in getting voters to come out and vote.
    If Finch and crew believe an African American voter is far more likely to vote NO than a white middle-class voter in the North End or Black Rock, why would they bother to encourage turnout in the African American neighborhoods?
    They wouldn’t. They will encourage those voters who fit their profile as most likely to vote yes and let the sleeping dogs lie who might not.
    So if Jim Himes gets 5,000 fewer votes out of Bridgeport than he did four years ago, not because 5,000 people did not vote for him but because 5,000 fewer people voted in total, it will not impact local State Reps and State Senate candidates but it could be extremely detrimental to Jim Himes and Chris Murphy not getting as many votes as possible to build up their big cushions in a Democratic city like Bridgeport.

    1. Bob: What about the messaging coming out of the Vote No coalition? What about your messaging? You don’t think there is a GOTV effort being put forth by WFP that is anticipating the moves of the Finch folks? Admittedly I am not the most knowledgeable on this subject, not like you or Lennie or Max, but we CAN hope, right? Please say yes. 🙂

      1. Lennie has suggested the Vote Yes people will have $200K to spend on their message and turnout effort. That’s a lot of money to overcome.
        If the voters realize Finch has run an extremely deceptive campaign and is misleading the voters even in the way the question appears on the ballot, then there may be extreme voter backlash.
        Also, I believe the more motivated voter is the one likely to vote No. So the bottom line is to really talk this up with your family members, friends, neighbors and co-workers. A resounding No vote will force Finch to reexamine the issue and possibly come up with less draconian measures.

  11. And if the Himes and Murphy campaigns are being told by Finch not to worry, they will do everything like they did four years ago but they don’t, by the time they figure it out it will be too late.
    At which point the Finch operation will simply say African American voters knew their vote didn’t count since Obama was going to get all of the Electoral College votes CT has to offer whether they bothered voting or not.

  12. Zena Lu, as far as I’m concerned, it’s too late for Himes and the Murphy camps. Through their silence they opened a can of worms.

    I agree with most of Bob’s analysis. Except for the part about Mario Testa pounding his chest in Hartford. Mario has been reduced to being DTC Chairman on paper only. His chairmanship has been hijacked by John Stafstrom. Keep in min it was Stafstrom who had the fundraiser to help Finch with his campaign debt. Stafstrom got a sweet deal from the state with the Airport and got a job for his partner Dennis Murphy. I can’t allow anyone to place the blame on a man who is getting set up. At the end of the day, the blame falls on Mario and next thing you know they will try to bring in the Big Wage as Party chairman. You’d like that, eh Bob?

  13. I spoke with Councilwoman Denese Taylor last night. After she took me to task for my recent editorial in the CT Post (I respect her dedication to her District, and her passion but she still does not like my comments), we discussed the charter review and she is VERY much for it. She spoke of Mayoral accountability and providing our students with what they need to succeed, so on so forth. I again respectfully disagreed. A breakdown of how all our elected officials feel would be helpful, “Up on Bridgeport.” Good call.

    1. *** Denese is a nice person and tries her best to do what’s right but is very gullible when dealing with the Finch Admin. and most of their smoke & mirror documentation. Finch claims if he fails with the appointed BOE in turning things around for the better, voters and/or residents should hold him accountable! Just how without a recall or should he run again for a third term would Bpt. citizens hold him accountable? With this charter change there will be no more boards, commissions, etc. picked and voted by the people; what’s next, give up our voting rights completely because Mayor Finch & company say it’s the right thing to do? Play the game and you get to stay and call yourself a community representative along with the few little perks that go with the title! Most of our local representatives don’t have a clue or are afraid to make any real political noise! *** THE TRUTH HURTS THEIR EARS! ***

    2. Is this the same Denese Taylor-Moye who is co-chair of the city council Education Committee? And what has she done about the schools in THAT position? All talk and no action.

      1. *** Grin, the city council education committee should be disbanded due to lack of any real interest, power or say over anything concerning the BOE. It’s merely a P/R committee with very little input that would affect the BOE. In other words the BOE ignores most things that may be referred or requested by the ED committee. *** WASTE OF TIME COMMITTEE! ***

  14. Friends of JI: It’s funny Councilwoman Denese Taylor would talk about mayoral accountability.
    Councilwomen Taylor voted for a mayoral budget every year she has been on the council and every year there was no increase in the education budget and every year she has remained silent on the education budget.
    She also voted for the mayor’s last two budgets that contained numerous ghost positions where the salary and benefits were in the budget but the jobs were never filled. How’s that for mayoral accountability?
    The members of the council have never voted down a mayoral proposal or appointment, if anything there has been NO ACCOUNTABILITY TO THE CITIZENS OF BRIDGEPORT.

  15. Andrew C Fardy, come on now, what do you think Councilwoman Denese Taylor was going to say? She has to say what Mitch Robles and Mario Testa tell her to say, she cannot go against her masters.

  16. When you attend City Council or CC Committee meetings having to do with spending money, authorizing money, approving money, etc. there are no members who have a grasp of how the subject at hand fits into the larger picture of a City:
    ** that has stood at the door of bankruptcy once before;
    ** that needed State assistance and tight fiscal oversight by a special board (the likes of which we don’t begin to have in City governance today) to get us back on the track (but no funds from the State, as all necessary funds were bonded for us to repay).
    ** What do your representatives, the Mayor included, mean by ACCOUNTABILITY??? Do they mean producing specific results if provided total control of all resources including money and people? Under the Charter proposed all appointments and dollars will flow through the current political machinery, right? What is promised by the Mayor? Decrease in rates of dropouts? Better test scores? More opportunities and choices for High School students? I have not heard him say any of those things to the Charter Review group or to the public. What he is telling the public, in a very pretty way, is what has been clawed out and placed in operation by Paul Vallas and team with State cooperation and an appointed team of residents and non-residents now transitioned to a fully elected Board.
    Let that Board work out the metrics the Superintendent will stand for with this new and improved school-based and parent-supported structure with additional resources and partnerships from the region. Then let all of us look in on the BOE meetings and see how the metrics hold up monthly, quarterly or annually, the same as you do for your personal finances!!!
    ** The Mayor has not attended to his Charter responsibilities as to monthly financial reporting that he does only 50% of the time; nor has he met the standard of one meeting per year on the Capital budget; as to Appointments he cannot adequately appoint or re-appoint Board and Commission members for 135 positions today, only maintaining about 25% in terms that have not expired. There are more failures … but you get the idea. He can claim ACCOUNTABILITY but no one is presenting evidence for that, because most do not understand the full meaning of the word, and that probably includes more than a few members of the City Council, sadly. Do you think all CC members read the budget or the City audit annually or even the minutes of the Budget and Appropriations review process? I certainly do not. Again ask a rep. today whether at close of business June 30 2012 the City showed a surplus or a deficit. And what answer? And ask where they learned it from? And please do not believe you have to wait for an official external audit to have such preliminary results available. A sad fiscal situation is not improving I fear. But it is not a time for someone currently struggling with ACCOUNTABILITY issues around $250 Million to have to productively (for youth and CT taxpayers) manage over $300 Million of additional funds annually. Time will tell.

  17. The “Yes” is not about our children’s future. It’s about mayoral control of over 2 BILLION dollars during a four-year mayoral term. If or when (considering over 1000 absentee ballots already turned in) question one (1) is passed, we all can be assured Bill Finch will go behind some door and take the time to make two fists and say: YES, yes, yes …
    I like every time JML writes “Time will tell.”
    Some people forget about the times gone by and forget things they’ve done in the past. Seems like yesterday! Stay tuned as OIB brings the past to haunt one of those who has forgotten the past.

  18. Speaking of time, Lennie can we have a curfew on JML blogging? When he posts later in the evening he starts putting people to sleep. Gotta go. Eyelids are getting heavy.

    1. Grin,
      I posted before 5:00 PM. What is your curfew time? Your personal bed time? Do curfews work in Bridgeport anyway? (A 7:30 AM meeting held by BCAC Wednesday with about 60 representatives of many groups to discuss the topic of VIOLENCE in an urban environment. Group included Chief Gaudett and City Council President McCarthy. I DID NOT HEAR CC “CURFEW” MENTIONED ONCE FROM ALL THE DISCUSSION GROUPS AS AN IMPORTANT PRACTICE RELATIVE TO VIOLENCE. Interesting!)
      Anyway Grin, while you were posting we were just exiting from the BIJOU where the Ernie Newton documentary had played with follow-up Q&A to an audience of about 80. Two current City Council persons, a candidate for State Rep from the South End and spouse, Hector Diaz Jr. and Charles Coviello among many from the East Side and East End. Ernie talked about representation of people who no one else represented. He concluded with opposition to the Charter question. He will vote NO. Time will tell.


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