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West Side Pols Gear Up For Town Committee Fight

January 13th, 2016 · 21 Comments · Analysis and Comment, City Politics, News and Events

sandbox

It’s not exactly the Jets versus the Sharks, but a political fight is brewing on the West Side that will warm winter’s chill. Former City Council President Lisa “Honey” Parziale appears to mean business leading a 132nd Town Committee District slate against a veteran crew led by long-time District Leader Mike Freddino. Parziale and Freddino have served on the town committee together for years. Parziale has decided the district needs a power washing. The primary vote is March 1. Several other districts could have primaries.

Bridgeport has 10 Democratic town committee districts with nine members in each. They comprise the party regulars who elect a town chairman and endorse candidates for public office. Last July Joe Ganim came very close to swiping the citywide endorsement from then-Mayor Bill Finch who leveraged the power of incumbency just days before the endorsement vote to sway a few town committee members threatening to bolt back his way.

The candidates are in the process of securing and submitting to elections officials petition signatures from five percent of registered voters in the district that covers the West Side and Brooklawn neighborhoods. Central and Bassick are the voting precincts. This is as retail as retail politics can get. Turnout can be just single digits. Many political figures are involved in this battle while some might be better off ducking.

For instance, Parziale in an OIB post issued a storm warning to former Democratic Town Chair John Stafstrom who lives in the district, to stay out of this fight. His nephew Steve Stafstrom represents the district in the State House. Guess who will endorse candidates for State House this year? Yup, town committee members. Mess with Honey and you can get stung.

Parziale also has City Council member Evette Brantley, a town committee member, poised for a stinger.

“I would be remiss if I didn’t remind folks she cost the taxpayers $85,000 granted to a public speaker whom she attacked while he was speaking before a City Council meeting,” Parziale wrote in an OIB post. “That settlement would have gone a way in improving some sidewalks, instead, rightfully so, the aggrieved speaker has seen justice and we’re carrying the freight. Out with Evette Brantley!!!”

Several years ago Brantley got in the face of community activist Cecil Young after he completed remarks to the City Council. Her actions led to a brawl which resulted in a lawsuit and settlement for Young.

Parziale was a City Council candidate in the September Democratic primary but did little campaigning in her neighborhood because she was heading up Joe Ganim’s citywide absentee ballot campaign. She says that will not happen this time.

Her slate includes former City Councilman Bob Halstead, school board member Howard Gardner, Public Facilities Director John Ricci, veteran town committee member Carol Cocco and neighborhood activist Gabrielle Parisi who has served as campaign treasurer for candidates in several key races.

Freddino’s slate includes Brantley, City Councilman John Olson and veteran district members Anthony Lancia, Elaine Pivirotto and Reggie Walker.

These primaries are not winner slate take all. The top nine vote producers among, in this case, 18 candidates, will make up the town committee. Voters can cherry pick candidates. It can lead to opponents thrown together to make peace or continue the war.

In an OIB post Parziale added,

“I’m leading this primary because I believe it’s time to make room for younger, bright individuals in the 132nd district. The present slate consists of a bunch of self-serving individuals. Mike likes the title of District Leader, 85-year old Olson needs something to occupy his time as well on being intent on voting to raise our taxes, Brantley loves that stipend money, Reggie Walker now out of a job is submitting his resume to “gulp” Joe Ganim. Lancia still can’t get over losing a primary he waged against Joe Ganim when Joe was only in his second two-year term. Poor Joanie Thornton tried to resign on two occasions and Freddino wouldn’t submit her resignation because he wanted control over her vote. I’ll leave Pivorotto alone because I believe she’s just misled. Carol Cocco and I are the only two members who are there for the right reasons. If my slate prevails, we already discussed some of us stepping aside to look for new blood. If God forbid the hangers-on prevail, we should just keep a funeral transport van on speed-call, because that’s the only way we’ll see a new generation in the 132nd district.”

Freddino has been through many town committee tussles. Acknowledging opponents could end up on the same committee district he said in the cause of civility, “It’s good to play nice nice in the sandbox.”

Or is it the snow bank?

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21 Comments so far ↓

  • Ron Mackey

    Lisa, great move and hopefully others in every district will do the same thing. OIB readers are always making complaints about the Democratic Town Committee, Mario Testa, how the City is being run, well now is their chance to make real change. There are no excuses if you’re not in it. Put up or shut up. Time will tell and that means you, John Marshall Lee.

  • John Marshall Lee

    Ron Mackey,
    Time will tell about many things. I have signed off with that statement because I do not have a crystal ball as others seem to pretend on OIB.
    Now, about: “There are no excuses if you’re not in it. Put up or shut up.” Was that a challenge from you, Ron Mackey? If it’s a challenge from one guy who refuses to call or meet another guy who has been really busy for years doing fiscal research for all of the taxpayers, isn’t it kind of a weak challenge? Are you a Mario booster and/or a plain old troublemaker? What do you know about the 130th other than some stereotypical beliefs that probably don’t stand the light of day?
    I’ll even put this up for community voting. Where can JML spend 10-15 hours weekly on City fiscal and governance topics more profitably for the community? By doing what I have been doing? Or doing what Ron Mackey is suggesting for a second time this year, challenging “blood is thicker than water” Dan Roach and the local 8, some of whom did not give a meeting to me when I showed up for the DTC endorsement in 2015?
    Love to hear what readers think. How many DTC members read City fiscal reports, the City Charter, and/or attend governance meetings of any type? When was the last time one of these organizations had an open meeting with civic matters discussed? They do have power in a one-party system especially, but that is not something I yearn for, personally. Is that your dream, Ron? Why do you not get off your butt? Phone number is still 203-259-9642. Time will tell.

  • Local Eyes

    Nobody cares more about Bridgeport than John Marshall Lee. He leaves skid marks on the forehead of appointed wizards and runs circles around those concerned with Bridgeport finances. He already has a special place with OIB bloggers and is moving the dialog in the right direction. Irregardless of administrations, when it comes to budgetary details, his goals are honesty and transparency.

  • Jeff Kohut

    Great move! Great slate! Go Lisa!

  • Ron Mackey

    JML, I’ve been there and done that. I’ve been a DTC member in two different districts, first in the 131st district then after the redistricting I was placed in the 130th district. After the redistricting lawsuit decision I ended up with no seat when I placed back into the 131st district. I was a person without a position but thanks to Lisa Parziale I became the vice chair of the DTC, now I had no power but Lisa along with Chris Caruso, Mary Bruce and the late Alvin Penn agreed with Lisa to back out of running for the vice chair. So John, I’ve been in the fight and challenge and questioned those in power. JML, now it’s your turn to fight from the inside.

    • John Marshall Lee

      So Ron, with full respect for your history, as far as “power” is concerned you and a number of other OIB writers are “has beens,” some relative to DTC and some relative to the City Council. It is interesting in our occasional dialogues you have not previously recounted your record as above.

      What did you accomplish on the inside that bears telling today? That allowed us to burn through $55 Million of City Fund Balance since the Financial Review Board? That keeps schools underfunded and dropouts at too high levels? And so on. Is it fair to see the DTC in a one-party City as strictly a group that holds to their power to provide jobs to the faithful, contracts to the supporting, and a sense of belonging to folks who have lost their community compass? No disrespect ascribed to a man named Mario. He saw his opportunities and he has taken them. And he apparently has been able to continue that legally, while a number of those who played in his DTC elected “fantasyland” have broken rules, laws, regulations, etc. of all kinds. And only some of them have been taken to task.
      Ron, where has there been success “from the inside” in challenging the power? And why are you not instead joining with some of the other veterans of DTC and CC who question where we are today, from the outside? Time will tell.

      • Ron Mackey

        John Marshall Lee, I was involve in the DTC for six years and it was an education to see where the power is and how the system works, what DTC rules are, who the members were. To make change inside the DTC you have to make friends and find like-minded members who support and believe in doing what is best for the City. No one person can change the DTC.

        JML, I decided to put my time and effort toward the Firebird Society of Bridgeport as its President for ten years in helping getting blacks to be hired to be firefighters and to get promoted plus I put in four years in being a Executive Board member of IAFF Local 834 Firefighters union.

        John, back to my original point, if people don’t like the “machine” then get involve instead of just talking about change, get involved and make change.

      • Lisa Parziale

        John Marshall Lee, how dare you call Ron Mackey a “has been.” He has done more for the City of Bridgeport than you have or can ever do if you were given another lifetime. I recognize your priority is in the financial realm, but “has beens” paved the way for many who have contributed to the City in ways you know nothing about. Right now I’m angry with you, and have lost respect for you. Sometimes the less said the better, I know for you that’s a challenge, but don’t you dare make a statement like that again.

        • John Marshall Lee

          Ron and I have been having a dialogue for more than two years, a time when you have been notably absent from the classroom. So you may have missed his challenges to me in the past and my continuing offers, providing my phone number to him to meet face to face and learn more.

          Why did you get hissy on the subject, all of a sudden? We are all “has beens,” including you, in one or more areas. It is more important how we re-package ourselves, to be of purpose and service today.
          My focus on the financial realm has importance for all taxpayers in the City. Is it worthwhile for me to continue? That’s the question I asked above and there is not much response. Tom White, Bob Walsh, Andy Fardy, Mojo, Bill Finch, Adam Wood, and others too numerous to specify, “has beens” all. But who can successfully reinvent themselves appropriately for the changing scene? And that requires you to stop looking in the old mirror. Time will tell.

  • Mojo

    *** GOOD LUCK ***

  • Jimfox

    I would be remiss if I mention anyone by name, but two years ago our fearless district Leader in the 130th ran a pack of fat-bottomed broads for the DTC. The pack of FBBs beat back the Joe Ganim supporters by a very slim margin, because our flucking district leader had his head up his ass, while thinking he could convince the pack of fat-bottomed broads to become Ganimites and vote for Joe. But much to his surprise and vexation the pack of fat-bottomed broads were really Finchettes in waiting and it cost Joe Ganim the nomination for Mayor on the DTC.
    This lack of judgement by our district leader forced Joe Ganim into an unnecessary and expensive primary.
    I’m not sure if team Ganim will run this year in the 130th but if they do, someone is going to have to help butter the head of our district leader and pull him into to the daylight, two years is a very long time to have one’s head up one’s ass!

    • John Marshall Lee

      Jimfox,
      While both of us wait for the G2 group in City Hall to post the current total of Net Taxable Grand List at the moment they sent out the revaluation assessments, before the reviews, and hearings and the OFFICIAL certification in late February, why are you tongue-tied in addressing the 130th DTC? Isn’t your district leader Dan Roach, also Ganim campaign leader, and currently an “official” of the Mayor’s office though actual position, duties and compensation are indeterminate? Wouldn’t that suggest a wholesale recasting of members to get to a Ganim slate? What if they ran a genuinely diverse slate of folks who got active east of I95 and the railroad tracks or north of Fairfield Avenue, or who lived in PT Barnum with a published address and phone number? As a Democrat and resident of 130, these are some soft spots in the lineup I saw while learning “blood is thicker than water,” a solid lesson for 2015. Jim, can you tell the Democratic audience in the 130th when and where the group will gather to settle the nine-member group? Time will tell.

  • Andrew C Fardy

    Looks like a primary fight is brewing in the 138th. Should be interesting. Thank God I am done with that baloney.

  • Frank Gyure

    Lisa Parziale, keep your hands off Steve Stafstrom. If you have any beef with John, go mano-a-mano with John. Easy to pick up a lot of votes in Black Rock considering the political vacuum in Black Rock. Work with your paltry votes in the West End. And I know the West End like the back of my hand and not afraid to hit the streets. Bottom Line, do whatever you want to do in the West End. Take Steve Stafstrom off the table.

  • Frank Gyure

    AND State Dems are lining up behind Steve Stafstrom and Ganim needs big bucks from State Dems. That’s the deal.

  • Lisa Parziale

    First of all Frank, I don’t know you so I’ll excuse your attempt to insert your comment into something you obviously no nothing about. FYI, we politicians in Bridgeport don’t give a rat’s *** about State Dems when it comes to a district election. They don’t vote and just take up space when they come to Bridgeport thinking they make a difference. With that said, it would behoove you to keep your mouth shut unless you want to make matters worse. I like Steve and helped bring him over the top in his last election. But as I openly stated for anyone to read, if Steve can’t control circumstances that could affect his success, then Steve has a way to go in politics. If an outsider interferes with my political business then as I said “all is fair in love, war and politics.” I’m very effective in Bridgeport politics, so if you’re a friend of Steve’s, advise him to keep his ducks in order. Primaries are good and healthy, and my specialty. So unless your in my political league, think before your speak or post. I think Steve has done a good job in Hartford, however he must get reelected in order to continue.

  • Lisa Parziale

    One more thing Frankie boy, please feel free to come work against me in Brooklawn anytime the mood strikes.

  • Frank Gyure

    If you are such an expert at winning primaries and elections, how is it you lost in November? Oh yes, you were so busy running Joe Ganim’s absentee ballot operation, as if you were the only person involved in that. There were a solid 1000 votes AGAINST you. Those 1000 votes are still there.

  • Lisa Parziale

    Frankie boy’s back acting like he would understand a political ruse if it hit him on his head. Do yourself a favor Frankie Boy and go find something useful to do, you’re obviously a political novice so stop trying to play with the big boys and girls. Oh by the way, I supported the winner, Mayor Joe Ganim, which loser did you vote for?

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