Wild Ride Shaping Up For City Council Election Season

Gage and Fonseca
Gage Frank and Dollie Fonseca. Will they go for it on Upper East Side?

If your favorite sports are politics and primaries (me too), strap in for a slew of Democratic battles for City Council.

A number of council district may face primaries, according to skinny shared by incumbents and potential challengers. Look for candidate committee filings starting next week.

If you’re looking for gossip regarding political skirmishes, no better place to land than a City Council meeting, better known as the Monday night fights. Here’s what we picked up the other night about some districts.

130th, Black Rock/West End. Incumbents Scott Burns and Katie Bukovsky won election in 2015 during Joe Ganim’s comeback to the mayoralty. Burns, co-chair of Budget and Appropriations, will be busy the next few months reviewing Ganim’s spending plan. He has not announced his reelection plans. Bukovsky is the sister of Black Rock District Leader Danny Roach, Ganim’s former chief of staff, who now works in Public facilities. Absorbing the council meeting Monday night was Michael Giannotti, the former newspaper reporter who worked in the city’s communications office for a short time before a falling-out with Ganim.

“Michael, you running for council?”

“If I do, you’ll be the first to know.”

131th, South End/Downtown/West End. Incumbents Jack Banta and Denese Taylor-Moye, who is also co-chair of Budget and Appropriations. Community activist Jorge Cruz, during the public speaking portion of the council meeting, made it clear they will be primaried.

132nd West Side. The big question for this district, will incumbent John Olson seek reelection with district incumbent Evette Brantley? The chatter Monday night was that he will not. Olson did not attend the council meeting.

133rd, North End. Looming question, will City Council President Tom McCarthy run again? He’s been saying for months he has not made a decision. Big Mac did not attend Monday’s meeting so we asked his district partner Jeanette Herron if she knew what’s up.

“No comment.”

Jeanette, you’re no fun!

Former State Rep. Bob Keeley, ever the mischievous pol, was sitting in the council chamber pews Monday night, spreading gossip and good cheer.

“You running?”

“Rumor has it I’m running in many districts,” he said with that cherub-faced smile. Can you imagine Keeley cloned in several districts? Here come the lawn signs!

137th District, East Side. Incumbents Milta Feliciano and Aidee Nieves. There’s always a lot of passion in the heart of Latino politics. Break up, get back together. Break up, get back together. Word is district committee members are breaking up with Feliciano. Will former councilwoman Maria Valle seek her old seat?

138th District, Upper East Side. We could see perhaps a three-way primary here featuring incumbents Anthony Paoletto and Nessah Smith versus political activists Gage Frank and Dollie Fonseca whose husband is a member of the Board of Education, and an unnamed twosome backed by District Leader Maria Pereira. Hmmm, Maria, you ready to share names?

139th District, East End. Jim Holloway is the most tenured member of the council winning election in 1991, the start of JG1. It sounds like if Jim wants to maintain his seat he’ll have to wage a primary. Looks like incumbent Eneida Martinez and former State Senator Ernie Newton have the endorsement backing of the district. If Newton is successful, he’ll return to the council district that started his political career as a young music teacher. He vaulted quickly to become the first black City Council president in city history during the mayoral era of Republican Lenny Paoletta.

District endorsements will take place in July, followed by September primaries.

School board and city sheriff seats are also up this year.



  1. Lennie,
    I shall not be running for City Council, as running and getting elected would interfere with the research I continue to pursue and enjoy.
    If any readers of OIB decide to campaign, know that I am available to provide City fiscal info, over which the City Council has responsibility to taxpayers, but very lightly exercised. It just might be something taxpayers would be interested in this year. How will a challenger be different? Who might like some help with this learning curve? Who is willing to entertain “better practices?” To embrace public service with Open, Accountable, Transparent and Honest as pledges to constituents? Time will tell.

  2. Gage Frank and Dolly Fonseca–who’d have thought? What a great combo. One thing is certain, they do get things done. Both are professionals. Dolly is a ball of lightening and has a professional career, educated and articulate. Gage is experienced, educated and articulate, having worked on many campaigns and I have never heard a bad word about him. A Nob Hill resident his entire life. It could be very interesting. I think Nessa and Anthony have work to do.

    Maria, many of your constituents love you but … Begging people to support Ganim, Nessah and Anthony only to trash them tirelessly, how many will just give you lip service to stop harassing them? I have only heard one bad word about Dolly and that was from Maria. People are attracted to her positive energy. She is a magnet for other positive people. It will be very very interesting if they run.

    1. Is anybody ever really happy? One has to ask themselves, are they the stars of their own lives or are they playing extras in somebody else’s life???!!!

  3. I don’t know Brother Mackey, this will be the first time Holloway has to face a primary and I don’t know if he wants to do the work. As you know it isn’t easy beating the endorsed candidate in Bridgeport and I’m equally sure he doesn’t have the wherewithall to put in the time and effort after 26 years.

    1. Don, you have hit on the MOST POWERFUL item Mario Testa and Mayor Ganim has over EVERY incumbent candidate and that’s to face a primary and no incumbent wants to do the work. This is the CONTROL that Mario and Ganim have OVER the City Council and Bridgeport’s State Representatives but not over Bridgeport’s two State Senators, Gomes and Moore.

  4. Why does OIB/Lennie Grimaldi keep on talking about Michael Giannotti for the 130th CC District? He has done nothing of any interest for the 130th CC. Just because he is a former Ganim ass-kisser who got pissed off does not mean he can or should represent the 130th. I wonder if Giannotti has even walked Hancock Ave, Lenox Ave, Maplewood Ave. Being pissed off at Ganim is insufficient reason TO represent and be an agent for good governance in Bridgeport. People will start pulling lists of registered voters and the house-to-house ringing of doorbells will begin. Giannotti has done nothing for the people of the 130th CC district. Why is OIB inflating his “candidacy?”

        1. Frank, the only person who speaks for Maria Pereira is Maria Pereira. Why would you give any weight to a post that Steve makes about me? Do you honestly believe I have had any communication with Steve about who I will or will not support?

    1. Frank,
      I think you may be reading too much into a person’s motivation and not enough into the person.
      I have known Mike for a damned long time. We may not always agree but he would be better than anyone on the council today.
      If you believe there are better candidates than Mike, then find them. But they will not materialize out of thin air.

      1. Bob Walsh. You are right. Candidates will not materialize out of thin air. I don’t know Mr. Giannotti. I just have not seen him at any 130th District meetings or events. I have not heard one word from him on any of the issues facing the 130th or Bridgeport. Let’s see what happens. Irregardless, it’s time to pull the registered voters lists and get to work.

  5. Frank, if you are really going to run in the 138th I suggest you worry about the 138th and not other districts or candidates. You really need to get your name out there. Just saying.

  6. LOL, good catch, Frank. Frank, I have always maintained you are Council material. While I don’t know you at a personal level, I have seen you attend all meetings covering a variety of City issues and matters, you’re informed as well as articulate, and you have a people-personality. You have the ability to criticize constructively, you’re not mean and bad-spirited, and from what I’ve gleaned from your comments and leanings, you’re balanced and open-minded. Now, I don’t know if you’re in a position, personally, to put the time into a run for office, but I repeat, you have what it takes. I don’t live or work politically in your district so I have no agenda or ulterior motive, just observing.

    1. Lisa Parziale. Thank you for the kind words. Occasionally, I have gone a bit overboard in my comments here but I am trying to do better. Online conversation requires a greater degree of self-control since it seems on-line conversations can go off the rails compared to face-to-face conversations. We’ll see what happens. I am definitely looking to be involved to some degree even if it’s just canvassing. We need change in November 2017 and then in November 2019.


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