West Side Throwdown Set As Town Committee Battles Shape Up

132 district slate
The West Side 132nd District challenge slate.

With seven district primaries possible throughout the city, one slate for Democratic Town Committee has qualified for a March 4 primary on the West Side and already has a Facebook page in a showdown against a veteran slate of campaigners. This will be a mighty fight.

A challenge slate of nine consisting of Board of Education member Howard Gardner and City Council members Bob Halstead and Trish Swain will take on a slate that includes Lisa “Honey” Parziale and former council members Evette Brantley and John Olson. This district battle, as well as several others shaping up around the city, appears to be an extension of last September’s Democratic primary when all endorsed candidates for school board and City Council were defeated, a 50-year storm as city politics go.

Can they harness the same voter anger from last year? These town committee fights are as retail as retail can get. You don’t need much money for these encounters, just a ferocious campaign appetite to identify your friends and drag them out. Absentee ballots become a critical component of these battles for a late winter contest.

Parziale, the former City Council president, knows her district peeps. “Honey” is not afraid to pull out her political stinger when her district territory is under invasion. Brantley and Olson lost to Halstead and Swain last September.

Some of these district challengers will turn the contests into a referendum on Mayor Bill Finch. If they’re successful the town committee could see a major overhaul that will impact the endorsement for mayor next year. Parziale, however, is one of several on her veteran slate not exactly buds with Finch. Parziale, along with other West Side activists, kept the Central-132 voting precinct competitive in support of Mary-Jane Foster for mayor in 2011.

Elections officials have been busy reviewing petition sheets of slates trying to qualify for the ballot. If all petitioning slates qualify, we could see about 150 candidates on district ballots across the city. Bridgeport’s 90-member Democratic Town Committee conducts party business, endorses candidates for public office and selects a chairman.

132nd District challenge slate Facebook page here.



  1. Just so you know … I was on the 132nd for one term. We elected Testa and Guman to replace Stafstrom and White as Town Chair and Vice chair and did so by the smallest of margins. I garnered the most votes with Lisa Parziale making it on the committee by only one vote.
    After a very short time I realized neither Testa nor Stafstrom were suitable for those positions. I became expendable and Lisa had me removed despite the vote difference between us using an untrue excuse of my absenteeism that she herself had violated. I blame Testa as I was uncontrollable by either him or Lisa.
    I know Carol Cocco quite well and she, along with Tony Lancia, are the only ones I recommend for re-election.

  2. Howard Gardner was helped to get elected by Carol Cocco and Tony Lancia. As a thank you he wanted to get rid of three members of the current committee or else they would raise a challenge slate. And this is what he did. He did the old Bridgeport stab you in the back, throw under the bus, etc. behavior.

  3. Speaking about the West Side, has anyone been to the little Asia section? More specifically, Ruuthai kitchen on Beechwood Ave.? It is a Thai restaurant that was recommended for the food not ambiance from people in Westport yesterday. It was highly recommended.

  4. *** Good luck to the candidates! *** Question coming; there are no rules or regulations etc. concerning this situation and if there were, it’s likely they would not be enforced by the powers that be, no? Is there a DTC, local neighborhood district advantage, personal or 9-member T/C group advantage in having a sitting member who’s also on City Boards like the City Council, BOE, Commissions, etc.? Could this be viewed as a conflict of interest in some way and does it limit the number of available DTC seats in general from new interested citizens as well??? *** Inquiring Minds Would Like To Know ***

  5. Mojo–good point. Wasn’t Gardner just elected to the BOE? Would he not have to give up the seat? I thought that was the case for Leticia Colon when they re-seated the Bridgeport BOE after the state takeover. If he wanted this spot, why run for BOE–just to get familiar with voters?

  6. *** As far as Ms. Colon’s status, she was on the DTC, BOE and City Council at that time; not leaving much room for other interested district citizens wishing to serve too! *** If you play you stay, if you don’t you’re history, no? ***

  7. Where are the droves of interested district citizens? That is the problem, there are none.

    I suppose sitting council people should abstain from voting for endorsements for their respective council seats. Maybe an endorsement voting tally should be made public so the DTC can be held accountable to their district citizenry. Is that even possible? Is that a stupid idea?

  8. Mojo, why did you not run a slate in the South End? Why did you not grab a partner and run as a petition candidate in the South End? You would have been good. Maybe next time?

  9. *** You ask why I did not get a 9-member slate together to run for T/C in the 131st district? Simple, lack of “real interest” and willingness to do a little political work and spend a little chump change in the process. I was involved in a challenge two years ago and we got beat 2 to 1 due to the A/Bs work by Americo and company and lack of real commitment by “all” the challenge candidates! We had great help from C. Curry and N. Hadley but to no avail, not enough advertisement or active poll voters who cared. My neighborhood is more talk and complaints than actual doing. No squeaky wheels in the 131st district yet! *** NEED ACTION ***

  10. *** Oh and let me not forget my girl “Mary Bruce” who’s always involved directly or indirectly in what goes on in the 131st district! The T/C race is short on time, and to get the word out and educate the voters you must spend a little money on poll-advertisments, flyers, poll palmcards, phonecalls, and some lawn and window signs along with A/Bs if you’re going to really try to win some T/C seats. Educating the voters “early” before, during and after the race is crucial in winning and maintaining their trust in you and the district T/C. In some districts, it doesn’t take much because some of the interest is already there, yet in others (131st) it’s like pulling teeth unfortunately! I’ve run for T/C, State Rep, City Council, and local dog catcher back in the day; all to no avail due to lack of active voter interest, money, political candidates and political support in general. So you might say, since I’m trying to sell my house and get out of this old-ass, overtaxed, going nowhere fast, lack of voter interest to make a difference, behind in education and economic development city of ex-blighted lots now neighborhood “ghetto” parks; that the “thrill” is gone and it’s way overdue to get “out of Dodge!” *** GET ALONG DOGGIE, GET ALONG! ***


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