Two Months From Democratic Primary, Time To Take Inventory Of Mayoral Election

Ganim boxing
Joe Ganim back in the campaign ring.

Okay here we go, time to segue from July 4th fireworks festivities to the skyrockets of the summer primary season.

Connecticut’s largest city is resolutely the place that never disappoints for its shadowy, complicated web of Peyton Place politics, although this cycle, so far, is tame by comparison to the serial drama four years ago when Joe Ganim stole the show defeating incumbent Bill Finch in a Democratic primary on his way to a historic comeback.

It’s inventory time.

Ganim, as the incumbent, has a number of advantages: power of office, holding the line on taxes for three straight years with a small decrease in the latest July tax bills, paving streets, cutting ribbons, showing up anywhere he wants, and enjoying support of the political establishment with name recognition in the city somewhere between Jesus and Moses. He’s also a supreme retail politician who’s paying attention to business locally after a dubious run for governor last year in which critics questioned his commitment to the mayoral job.

Ganim this primary season will have all the money he needs to win or lose. Loot will not be a problem, as he’s expected to spend at least $400K for the primary. Four years ago the crime situation was hot, something Ganim exploited exceptionally well against incumbent Finch who bayed lower crime statistics in the face of neighborhood pain. Ganim’s hoping for a calm crime situation the next few months. On July 23rd he will be endorsed by the party for another four-year term.

Moore at her January mayoral announcement.

State Senator Marilyn Moore is Ganim’s chief opponent bringing a base of support to the table including Black Rock, West Side and North End that’s included in her legislative district. She’s not well known in the other two thirds of the city. On July 4th she finally made it known that she will challenge Ganim in a September primary after being coy about her intentions following her formal announcement in January. On paper Moore enjoys a profile that could cause Ganim fits: a credentialed black woman, five years in the State Senate, CEO of The Witness Project that seeks to address and reduce breast cancer mortality, passionate advocate of safe and nutritious food at reasonable prices.

So far Moore is running a largely existential race that things will fall into place irrespective of necessary campaign pieces required to take out an incumbent in a primary. On the morning of July 24th, Moore’s campaign team will trek into the Democratic Registrar’s Office to take out the paperwork necessary to qualify for a September 10th primary, the launch of a two-week window to secure five percent signatures from registered Democrats in the city, roughly 2,300 based on the current registration. In actuality, a signature cushion of hundreds more is required to account for those rejected by elections officials because they were not registered Dems or not registered voters.

Next comes the money piece. How much will Moore’s campaign raise to remain competitive with Ganim? In these situations money is relative. Ganim will outspend Moore (barring a major independent expenditure on behalf of Moore), likely 3 to 1. Four years ago Finch outspent Ganim by 2 to 1. Bottom line was Ganim had sufficient funds, $300,000, to compete against the incumbent’s $600,000.

That’s the major question facing the Moore camp. What’s the sufficient money number to compete?

July 10th is the deadline for the campaign camps to file their latest quarter fundraising reports. Also, will Moore run a full slate of candidates to compete with Ganim’s line of endorsed Democrats? That means Board of Education, City Council, city clerk, town clerk and city sheriffs positions.

Charlie Stallworth
Four years ago Stallworth, right, was a Ganim fixture, now he’s an opponent. Sue Katz photo.

Then there’s the Charlie Stallworth factor. Four years ago he was one of the faces of the Ganim campaign, a state representative and city minister who opened the doors to his East End church for Ganim to publicly announce his inaugural community apology following his 2003 conviction on public corruption charges, engineering a second-chance message of a city that works for everyone. Ganim rewarded Stallowrth with a $100K city job. A year later they had a falling-out and Stallworth was eventually out of his city job. Now he’s a Ganim opponent.

Money, as well, will matter for Stallworth in his upcoming report. But a larger question also looms for Stallworth: if he makes the September primary ballot does he swipe votes from Ganim or Moore?

The issues?

The key ones remain: taxes, development, jobs, public safety, education, housing, quality of life. The intangibles? Who knows at this point?

Strap in: we’re just two months from primary day.

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38 comments

  1. Anything can happen in two months…. FBI ? Second vacation in Danbury? Should be interesting!! Interesting to see who else goes down….. You know who you are….. 👀 #Nobodyisuntouchablerememberthat

    1. Good point Bob, the Post article shows the danger of Mayor Ganim and Mario Testa appointing Stevie A a big time ass kisser to be in charge of something and he has embarrassed Ganim and Mario.

  2. Frank, Here is the piece I drafted for the only City Council meeting in July. As usual it was subsequently sent to City Clerk office for archives, to each Council member by email, to edit@CTPost and to Only In Bridgeport. Lennie, as is his privilege chose to to run two of my latest talks to the Council, but has allowed me to include them under an already existing topic. Thus they are available, though at some distance, from their original delivery. However, I salute the six Council members, Smith, Spain, Banta, Jackson, Langan, and Lyons for their NO vote. But 13 other Council members voted YES for reasons they likely would have problems defending a week later, much less 15-25 years from now when they are asked how a Ganim1 professional project with an initial price tag of $350 Million (plus expenses and interest for 30 years at over 7%) could add over an added $125 Million or more from 2007-19 annually from operating budgets and then in 2019 sign up for an additional borrowing of $120 Million (plus new expense and interest at 4%) to top out close to $1.5 Billion DOLLARS by the time they are finished in 2045 or thereabouts. It is likely that there will be less than two handfuls of survivors at that time. Bad design? Bad administration in responding to mishaps or risks present from the beginning? Bad GANIM1 & GANIM2 luck? Time will tell.

    July 1 comments to City Council Elected Representatives:

    Most people following City governance processes of the past decade know that I have addressed the distressing Pension Obligation Plan A (2000) strategy of Joseph Ganim. Borrow $350 Million with your left hand at market rates over 7%, guarantee your bondholders that their bond would not be called (retired early when borrowing rates decreased), and with your other hand invest in financial markets at the tech boom high? That was his strategy, but he was not with us long enough to see what happened when our investment funds meant to provide earned incomes for retirement by seniors who had worked in public safety for citizens of Bridgeport. (And in his case there was no “Letter from a Federal Prison” to advise or apologize.)

    There were at least two times where Plan A lost significant value. 2001 and 2008 are the general dates on a 30 year timeline. Of course the City gets actuarial reports each year, a service we pay for. Are they studied by our legislators and made public? If we do not pay attention to such advice, who do we blame that on? By the way in all the words generated by Finance Director Flatto I have not heard him tell us that our actuary advised us to borrow $120 Million additional to invest in Plan A. Has anyone heard such advice?

    What actuaries have told us is to put more money in the fund per a schedule each year. Some past administrations have done so. Others have not done so. How much are we talking about? More than 10 years ago we were adding $6-7Million each year (in addition to paying more than $30 Million annually to the Plan A bondholders. We have 10 more years of bond payments due before 2030.) More recently those additional taxpayer contributions have increased to around $17 Million or around 3% of our annual operating budget.

    There is the rub. Ignoring for a moment the expense of interest payments on the original borrowed funds that amounts to nearly $600 Million from 2000 to 2029, taxpayers are committed to repaying principal of $350 Million plus actuarial makeup payments greater than $126 Million and now Ganim2 wants to employ the risky and failed strategy ONE MORE TIME to commit the City by borrowing $120 Million more? Why not follow the default strategy and pay what the actuaries suggest annually? Who can see future investment markets where we again face a severe risk challenge? Has anyone listened to investment professionals today warning of market highs and risk of a major correction? Flatto says nothing significant about market risks, and does not include a presentation on Monte Carlo simulation tactics for asset allocation? Why not? And while the State may take a look at our planning, Ganim2 and Council members have ignored the serious opportunity to get regular, attentive assistance (and perhaps financial help) through joining Municipal Accountability Review Board. Would joining MARB cramp the decision making style of Ganim2? No comment on the subject? Sadly?

    And Flatto addresses the major difference between original Plan A, 2000, and today’s new bonding, 2019, as the difference between rates over 7% and today’s likely 4% range. Isn’t that just foolish? True the expense of money is less today, perhaps, but the ability to earn more than the borrowing rate is the same issue we faced nearly 20 years ago. That is the way markets work. Evidence: CT State MERS pension plan earned only 4.71% average from 2007 through 2017 while “assuming” earning rates 2-3% higher. It is not easy to beat the markets.

    Why is Plan A bonding addressed by Ganim2 today? Because increasing annual payments over the next 10 years by $10 Million or more will cause the City to tighten its belt more than Ganim2 and his “financial wise men” feel comfortable each year. Which Councilpersons have studied a “pay as you go” alternative? It is what we are doing today. Hold up the Monday vote and do the study. Otherwise your Yes vote will trigger extending the Plan A expense until 2045. And a $900 Million strategic solution for funding income to retirees will likely increase to over $1.5 Billion!!! That is shocking, and a cause for more OPEN, ACCOUNTABLE, TRANSPARENT and HONEST City fiscal presentations.

    JOHN MARSHALL LEE
    203-259-9642

    1. I commend those with the balls to vote with their brains and not their rubber stamp!! If We ran our household like this, we would be homeless……. The people of Bridgeport better wake up!!! Ganim 3 is bad for EVERYONE!!! I don’t care where you are from, what race you are, how much money you make, BRIDGEPORT NEEDS AND DESERVES MORE!!!!! Or in this case MOORE!!!

    1. Harvey,
      I would like to see what you mean by a condensed version. Please get your red pen out. Make a copy of the output, of which perhaps 800 words are in the text itself. State the facts. There are quite a few. Ken skirts them or fails to report them when talking to the Council. And the forget so easily, it seems. My phone is 203-259-9642. When you complete your edit, please call me to review. If you are correct, you will be doing a favor for all. What you must think about is the fact that the reading public has little background context with which to assess the truth or falsity of City fiscal movements, unfortunately. And the City keeps all of us short of full info, by restricting expert comments within public hearing, and expert documents out of our sight. Time will tell.

      1. I forgot about the OIB led picture. Who will Ganim2 get into the ring with?? I know a person who are in his weight class and might go a round or two with him. That would be the boxing ring. Perhaps an actual rather than a virtual confrontation?? And then I would have a few questions for him that he does not handle at all? Why? Are the answers too embarrassing? What did his “sorry” to some of the community do to the rest of Bridgeport when he tried to show remorse as a “second chance” “returning citizen”? How has the situation of “returning citizens” changed in the past several years? Time will tell.

    1. Where is Exact Capital. Where is OIB. This video is going viral. I copied/pasted this from ClassicFm,a British Based magazine/website. Lennie,you are a great journalist. How did you miss this? I know my comments await moderation and I don’t blame you. My thoughts of the BPT political governance situation are beyond the pale. Thank you.

      1. OIB..it’s now official. There will be a primary. And then a General Election. When will you let go and allow YOUR forum to be an active discussion of the choices being made this year?

          1. Let me clarify. OIB is Lennie’s and,as such, it has proved to be a very valuable site to get information. I try to go through the archives and catch up because I am a relatively late member of the OIB community. OIB has been a valuable service for 10 years plus. I also recognize that this website is,ultimately, the responsibility and ownership of one person. Any other person can start another blog but it will have a far way to go to catch up to OIB. My comments always await moderation and I have no problem with that. I know the reason for that moderation. I am(almost) grateful because ,when I REALLY get mad, my comments may go off the rails . I just think we may be moving into some very exciting period through the mayoral primary/election.

        1. Ohh gee,,, Let’s not forget about the double ice rink juice bar Primrose/Guedes Downtown development and its going to be with 100% Private Dollars. LMFAO. What is soooo sad it that we have a citizenry here in Bridgeport who can’t see beyond these lies. LIES WHICH ARE BEING MADE DIRECTLY AND UNASHAMEDLY TO THE PEOPLE OF BRIDGEPORT.

    1. Ethan, that’s true but you have got to be in the game in order to make change and you and your Republican Party are TOTALLY out of the game. Your best chance is to become a Democrat and run your own district DTC slate and you might have a chance to win seats on the DTC.

      1. Ron, thank you for acknowledging the truth of several very important issues of the current local political climate. However, if I became a Democrat, the value of the issues that I raise would be lost. The Republican Party is not out of it by any means. It may be weakened for factors which could include some errors of the past, matters which are being actively addressed and for which steps are being taken for improvement, and for some devious political strategies of the extreme left to portray anything Republican as being evil and self-serving. What that has created is a misperception, a Republucanophobia, a real firm of bigotry where in some circles, many positive prograns are discounted for the R label. That has created the kind of socio-political cloud which has a limited useful life. It will always come to an end and it has begun that end in Bridgeport. The dominant and strong shift to the Dem party which we had seen in Bridgeport for various years has begun to move back to Republican, and to open-minded Unaffiliateds. Truth, consistency and persistence are very powerful. For putting together the three recognized factors for political success, the Money, Organization and Message, I’ll start with the right Message any day !!!

        1. Ethan, even if the FBI found enough evidence to put Joe Ganim and Mario Testa in jail tomorrow you and the Republican Party wouldn’t gain anything you would be in the same position as you are now. Black and Hispanic makeup the majority of the voters in Bridgeport and there is NO WAY IN HELL that they will vote for you and the Republican Party. The easy way to win any type of power is to run for the Democratic Town Committee because that’s lowest turnout for any election in the City. All you need to win is 5 of the 9 seats in the district and you are in control of the district, remember this election is just for each district separately, just 46 DTC seats and you control the entire DTC, 46 seats, not thousands of votes but stay stuck where you are and be the big fish in your fish bowl.

          1. Ron, you continue to regurgitate unsupported ideas, ignoring undisputed points that I present above, apparently part of your agenda to establish a one-party system in Bridgeport. Once again, I will not become a Democrat. That’s out of the question! Also, you overlook that I and other Republicans have consistently garnered votes from Blacks and Hispanics. Getting higher percentages is, in part, a factor of messaging. In addition, you forget the record of history, that a Republican can win in Bridgeport when the Democrats have screwed up. Further, you overlook the recent trends in voter registrations. Considering all, it’s a matter of time and timing!

        2. Ethan Book, you and your Bridgeport Republicans will NEVER EVER have any POWER. Your Republican valves are NOT what the black voter wants and all you have to do is to ask them what they want and you would have to tell them and show them that you have the votes of the City Council members and of course where your votes will come from to get elected to be mayor. Ethan, maybe you can get enough white and Hispanic votes to put you in to office, NOT. Dream on dream on.

          “Dream On” https://youtu.be/qzTZ76vhnKk

  3. Holding the line on taxes?????
    You’ve got to be kidding me!
    He jacked up taxes in the Black Rock to 30 – 40% on some properties.
    He jacked up taxes in the Stratfield section, the North End and Upper East Side 20% on some properties all through reassessments. And the thing is until the next assessment these rates stay that same inflated tax amount.
    Fool me once shame on you. Fool me four times shame on me!

  4. Harvey, I just read the article you posted and it shows what I’ve said in earlier posts, Mayor Ganim malfeasance and Steve misfeasance. Both look like clowns in this article. Mayor Ganim for appointing Steve into a position that is clearly beyond his field of expertise and Steve who’s only incentive is to beat people out of money when common sense isn’t allowed to be used by the person hired to adjudicate these cases. UNBELIEVABLE! The residents of Bridgeport should be outraged and appalled.

    https://www.houstonchronicle.com/local/article/Parking-tix-judge-says-he-was-fired-for-being-too-14074143.php

    1. Don, wait a minute, you mean this story was in the HoustonChronicle? Little Stevie A. is really a superstar, his inability for the position that Bonzo the clown Mayor Ganim appointed Clarabell the clown to run that is clearly beyond his field of expertise, what a joke Bridgeport is being seen across America with these two clowns and with the big daddy of clowns Emmett Kelly played by Mario Testa.

    2. 🙂 Is part of Steve’s duties to prosecute all who appeal their tickets? So him sitting in on Lopez ghetto parking appeal was not just for the freak show, or was Lopez ghetto parking part of the freak show? 🙂 Based on my assessment this is just a racket, and Steve’s just clown in the freak show, considering his support for Joe’s comeback election. This sounds something like water bill scheme and when the chips fall Steve will be out, but job well done. JMO
      http://onlyinbridgeport.com/wordpress/rev-lee-protests-tribute-reversal-mayors-office-cites-misunderstanding-thanks-her-for-service/

  5. Exact Capital??.. Lol, c’mon now, did anyone expect that development to happen??. That dog & pony show was just to create an illusion that Joe was “ reviving “ Bpt as he just announced his ridiculous run for Governor. That was never happening, Exact didn’t even have the money to finish what they started in Harlem. Don’t be surprised if Joe tries to squeeze that lemon for the last time this election cycle.

  6. My absolute disgust with Ganim,Testa and the TestaGanim supplicants is that the don’t give one damn bit about Bridgeport. My revulsion at this entire group is the Bridgeport is my home. I was born here. I have lived all my life here. I own property here and I live on that property. GanimTesta and crew are using and abusing the People of Bridgeport. I repeat;GaninTesta and crew don’t give one damn bit about making a Better Bridgeport. ALL they care about is “what’s in it for them.” This is the entire modus operandi of Mario Testa,Joe Ganim and all the supplicants who worship at the altar of TestaGanim. Yessss….I really do get sooo mad at times that my comments here go over the rail.

  7. Frank, not only does Ganim/ Testa not give a damn about Bridgeport, but expand that list to include the City Council that’s lets them do what they do when they know it’s wrong and not in the best interest of the people that elected them, the District Leaders that turn a blind eye to their bullshit that they eat just for the crumbs that they throw their way during election years and the voting public that have become apathetic and will vote for a one eyed Mannequin if the party told them to.

    1. The Democratic Town Committee is so blind and in total control by Testa and Ganim that will vote for Mickey Mouse if he’s listed as a Democrat and if they are told.

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