“Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.
You thought the above referenced the United States Postal Service. No; it’s Democratic Town Committee primary season. You campaign in the winter. Either you deliver or you don’t.
This cycle is more about quality over quantity: two significant district battles will take place March 1 for political control.
Town committee members endorse candidates for public office, appoint party officials and put in the campaign grunt work to churn out a vote on behalf of candidates. Bridgeport’s DTC has 90 members covering 10 districts.
It’s not full slate takes all. The top nine vote producers among, for instance, 18 candidates, win. So districts could end up with a hybrid from both slates. Some diabolical vote-splitters do this intentionally with the express intent to marry enemy forces. Makes for more fun.
In 1988 the district primary battle between Mario Testa and Michael Rizzitelli placed them together. They had a fistfight at the mayoral endorsement session in 1989.
Okay, now for the real news.
In the 131st District–South End, Downtown, West End–a slate comprised of former City Councilwoman Mary Bruce, Gemeem Davis, a leader of the community action group Bridgeport Generation Now and Kate Rivera, former member of the Board of Education, is challenged by a slate fielding ex City Councilwoman Denese Taylor-Moye, Mark Bush and Twana Johnson.
On the East Side 137th District epicenter of Hispanic politics, City Council President Aidee Nieves and City Clerk Lydia Martinez are going at it again for district control.
The last battle was won convincingly last September when Nieves and district partner Maria Valle dispatched Martinez’s hand-picked council opponents Elsie Mercado and Rosa Franco.
Now for machinations: underwhelmed by Lydia’s past support, Mercado and Franco have bolted from her to join the slate led by Nieves and Valle.
There’s nothing like the soap opera of Bridgeport politics.
Town committee stuff also features intrigue behind the scenes. Establishment critic retired Superior Court Judge Carmen Lopez has joined the town committee in the Black Rock 130th district led by long-time leader and mayoral-appointee Danny Roach. No primary in that district.
Lopez, prior to her time on the state bench, was active on the town committee as a young lawyer. Roach, a savvy politician respectful of her brain power, knows the risks of his entreaty to Lopez who travels to the toot of her own trumpet. She cannot be controlled politically but her advice can lance a thorny issue before it gets out of hand. Nothing like picking up the phone, what do you think?
Why did she join?
Change in politics and government starts at the local town committee level.
Let’s examine a few things. In recent years Lopez shamed municipal government to reverse course on: intrusive, high-priced parking meter camera system, police department abusive residential ticketing, insane liens on poor property owners late on paying water bills.
And the other day free legal advice to the City Council beseeching its legal authority to form a Charter Revision Commission without sanctioning from the executive branch.
Even though you may not always agree, keep lines of communication open. Potentially it can save a lot of money, time and headaches.