Here we go, the eve of Tsunami Tuesday, and city Democrats are enduring phone calls, mailings, door knocking and last minute appeals for votes. Must make Republicans and unaffiliated voters happy. Well, wait until the general election!
Meanwhile, the state’s largest city has some hot primaries on tap for Tuesday. I’ll be out in the field primary day trying to cause as much trouble as possible, and I’ll post results as quickly as I can.
A quick recap of the races:
Democratic endorsed candidate for Congress Jim Himes faces a challenge from his Greenwich neighbor Lee Whitnum. Himes should have no problem posting a nice win on his way to the big show in November against Republican Congressman Chris Shays of Bridgeport. Whitnum has no money, no message and no organization.
Most of the races for Connecticut’s General Assembly are not as certain. Democrats Anthony Musto and Marilyn Moore are slugging it out in Bridgeport, Trumbull and Monroe for the right to face Republican State Senator Rob Russo in November.
State Rep. Bob Keeley, the longest serving legislator in Bridgeport’s history, has his hands full with the blonde banshee from Black Rock Auden Grogins.
On the East Side, State Rep. Andres Ayala is trying to hold off the woman he defeated two years ago, Lydia Martinez.
In the South End, and parts of the East Side and West Side, there’s a three-way race between Democratic endorsed Ezequiel Santiago and José “Chico” Rivera and Sylvester Salcedo.
State Rep. Chris Caruso is being challenged by City Councilman Carlos Silva.
Time Out For OT
Connecticut Post reporter Bill Cummings on Sunday valiantly chronicled the chronic overtime problem in the Bridgeport Police Department that raises serious questions about runaway spending and parties involved: a mayor that wants to reel in spending, a police chief that hasn’t, a police board that must weigh in, supervisors receiving 50 and 60K in overtime, union leadership balking at unpaid furloughs to close the budget gap.
Twenty years ago, overtime in the police department was a concern, but understandable given a manpower strength of just 350 members. Today, the department is at full budgeted strength, with more than 400 officers, but not at authorized strength, an arbitrary number set by management and the police board. Someone’s not watching the store, and it appears a showdown is looming between Mayor Bill Finch and police management.
The city appears on the precipice of a major financial meltdown unless spending and union concessions are achieved. Twenty years ago Bridgeport Mayor Tom Bucci announced major financial fallout that required state assistance to erase a $55 million fund balance deficit. The tough medicine resulted in a state oversight board with legal authority to make sure city budgets were in balance. A few years later Republican Mayor Mary Moran placed the city into bankruptcy court, a petition rejected by a federal judge.
The city found some relief with the election of Joe Ganim in 1991: budgets were balanced, taxes stabilized for many years, with the financial review board eliminated in 1995.
Now, once again, the city’s on a financial cliffhanger, and the last thing Finch wants is a pain-in-the-ass review board to oversee finances. Stay tuned.
News release from Jim Himes:
CONNECTICUT PUBLIC SERVICE WORKERS ENDORSE JIM HIMES
Members of 25,000-strong CSEA/SEIU Local 2001 endorse Himes for his stands on working families’ issues
BRIDGEPORT, CT – This weekend, members of the 25,000-strong CSEA/SEIU Local 2001 endorsed Jim Himes for Representative in the 4th Congressional District, citing his pledge to support quality public services for Connecticut residents and his positions on issues of importance to working families.
“I am very proud to have earned the support of the members of CSEA/SEIU Local 2001 and to be standing with them in our fight to bring real change for the families of our district,” said Himes. “Whether it’s rising gas and food prices, the health care crisis, or the unstable housing market, working class families in our district are truly struggling just to stay afloat. Their members know that I will fight for working families every day in Congress on the issues that matter to them.”
“We endorse politicians who support the things we believe in; good paying jobs, decent health care and retirement, quality public services, and improving the lives of working families,” said Cathy Osten, a correctional lieutenant working for the Connecticut Department of Correction. “Jim Himes has committed to make these issues his priorities as the 4th District’s Representative in Congress.”
“A political endorsement is a decision we do not take lightly,” Osten, the Co-Chair of CSEA/SEIU Local 2001’s Legislative Action Committee continued. “Our members support candidates who have pledged to be held accountable to us once elected.”
CSEA/SEIU Local 2001’s endorsement today follows the Connecticut AFL-CIO’s endorsement of Jim Himes in June.
About CSEA/SEIU Local 2001:
CSEA/SEIU Local 2001 represents 25,000 active and retired public sector workers across Connecticut. Visit www.seiu2001.org online for more information about the union’s efforts to lead for deliver quality, reliable, and cost-effective public services to Connecticut taxpayers.