Can We Talk Mayoral Campaign?

In Bridgeport politics it doesn’t matter your shape, size, color, ethnicity … everyone’s gotta get their pound of flesh. And sometimes a public opinion poll can make you a player.

The state’s largest city has never had an African American mayor, and some city pols have decided to find out who might be a leading contender to make history. Or maybe get some respect?

Could it be State Rep. Don Clemons? City Councilmen Jim Holloway or Andre Baker? Marilyn Moore who came within an eyelash of defeating Anthony Musto in a state senate primary in 2008? OMG, former State Senator Ernie Newton who’ll be out of the can soon? Heck, have any suggestions, fire away.

I received a call from a city pol on Tuesday in search of a reputable public opinion pollster to help gauge candidate popularity for a possible entry in the 2011 mayoral election. Basically, a coalition of local Dems want to find out what black candidate would match up best against Mayor Bill Finch. OIB conducted a public opinion poll a few months back to measure the mayor’s standing upon two years in office. It was administered by the Merriman River Group We tested State Rep. Chris Caruso, former mayors John Fabrizi and Joe Ganim, retired Judge Carmen Lopez, Probate Judge Paul Ganim and State Rep. Andres Ayala in head-to-head matches against Finch. The results showed Caruso, Finch and Fabs bunched, with Joe Ganim in shouting distance.

I did not include an African American in the sampling because I went with pols whose names come up the most in mayoral ambition. But one thing’s for sure, whenever this poll is conducted it will help sort out the mayoral field next year. Or maybe set off a frenzy.

The city hasn’t had a potent African American mayoral candidate since Charlie Tisdale–who currently heads the city’s anti-poverty agency Advancement for Bridgeport Community Development–came close in 1983 and 1985. Charlie, in his day, was a mighty campaign organizer.

Mayor Finch met with the city’s state legislative delegation today to kick around alternate sites to the Governor’s proposed juvenile detention center for girls on the Upper East Side. I’m skunking out the meeting and will have a morning report.

A slammin’ new webzine is a must read. Lots of first-rate journalists are associated. This site will definitely give pols something to think about. Check it out.

News release from Dan Malloy


Says poll should serve as proof of how strongly Connecticut voters feel about public financing

January 27, 2010 – Potential candidate for Governor Dan Malloy, the former Mayor of Stamford, responded today to a Zogby International poll which found that Connecticut voters overwhelmingly support public financing, with 79 percent of respondents supporting the Citizens’ Elections Program as described. Said Malloy:

“This poll should serve as proof of just how strongly Connecticut voters feel about campaign finance reform, and as a warning for those candidates who think they can brush aside the Citizens’ Election Program in order to try and buy a nomination.

“No candidate in Connecticut this year – Democrat or Republican – should take for granted the undeniable fact that the people of Connecticut are tired of special interests and big money, and the influence they’ve had on Connecticut elections. It’s clear that what this state wants is for its elections to be about something more meaningful than who has the deepest pockets and who can saturate the airwaves with the most 30-second TV spots.

“People get the connection between the way campaigns have been financed and the mess we’re in.”

SuBy’s BS Practice

From Jon Lender, Hartford Courant

Bysiewicz Sends Check, Amends Statement That ‘I Do Not Engage In The Practice Of Law’; But Controversy Endures

Secretary of the State Susan Bysiewicz, currently a candidate for state attorney general, has submitted a personal check for $55 to the state’s judicial department to rectify an error she says she made in 2006 – when she obtained a 50-percent exemption from a $110-a-year professional fee by filing a form saying that she didn’t practice law as an occupation.

But Bysiewicz’s effort this week to shed that political embarassment has left her with additional issues to explain:

–Newly surfaced judicial department records show that she didn’t just file for the exemption in 2006, but also did it in 2007 and 2008 by signing identical statements that she didn’t practice law “as an occupation” in those years, either. However, she wrote a letter to the judicial department Monday – which was released to The Courant Tuesday – in which she asked that all three filings be disregarded.

–Meanwhile, criticism is mounting over the fact that Bysiewicz uses taxpayer money to have her office pay the annual $110 professional fees not only for her, but for seven or eight staff lawyers in the executive-branch agency. Her office policy contrasts from that of the state’s current attorney general, Richard Blumenthal, who is not seeking re-election as he runs for U.S. Senate. He requires his 200 or so staff lawyers to pay their fees out of their own pockets.

The issue of Bysiewicz’s exemption filings has arisen at a sensitive time for her, because some critics and opponents have been questioning whether she has enough active experience as a lawyer to serve as attorney general.

I Want To Live This Long

Zoo Family Mourns Death of Oldest Living Andean Condor in Captivity

Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo’s Andean Condor dies at a remarkable 80 years of age

Connecticut's Beardsley Zoo's Thaao, the oldest living Andean condor in captivity, has died at the age of 80.
Connecticut's Beardsley Zoo's Thaao, the oldest living Andean condor in captivity, has died at the age of 80.
BRIDGEPORT, Conn. – January 26, 2010 – Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo announced today that Thaao (pronounced TAY-OH), the oldest living Andean condor in captivity, has died at nearly 80 years of age.  Thaao came to the Zoo in 1993, after living most of his life at the Pittsburgh Zoo. He was the only endangered animal at the Zoo that was actually born in the wild. An autopsy was conducted and has proved inconclusive.

“We were extremely lucky to have had Thaao with us for as long as we did,” shared Gregg Dancho, Zoo Director. “He was not a cuddly, lovable guy but we were happy to give him a good home for his twilight years. He will be missed.”

When Thaao was born in 1930, Herbert Hoover was president of the United States. As such, he was the oldest living condor in captivity and most likely the oldest condor in the world. The average lifespan of an Andean condor is approximately 50 years of age. With a stud book number of four, it is believed that Thaao was one of the original animals to have been tracked using the system. A stud book, also called a breed registry, is a list of all of the known individual animals in a breed.

Because Andean condors are an endangered species, the Zoo worked closely with the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ (AZA’s) Species Survival Program (SSP) to ensure that the proper autopsy protocols were followed, enabling valuable scientific information to be collected and recorded. Biologists estimate that there are only a few thousand of these birds left in the wild. Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo also has been supporting the wild population of Andean Condors through the Zoo Conservation Outreach Group of which Dancho is Vice Chair.

This is a closeup of Thaao's face. Thaao was the oldest living Andean condor in captivity. He died recently at age 80.
This is a closeup of Thaao's face. Thaao was the oldest living Andean condor in captivity. He died recently at age 80.
“Thaao was one of the first animals our visitors saw upon entering our zoo and he was a great ambassador for both conservation and the Zoo,” explained Dancho. “We are hopeful that we will be able to work through the AZA’s Species Survival Program to bring other Andean condors to Connecticut’s only zoo.”

Anyone wishing to support efforts to bring another Andean condor to Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo may send a tax deductible donation to the Zoo at 1875 Noble Avenue, Bridgeport CT, 06610. Please make checks payable to “Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo.”

Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo is open daily from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm. Adult admission (ages 12 & older) is $11.00, children (ages 3 -11) and senior admission (62 and older) is just $9.00, and children under 3 years old and Zoo members are admitted free. Parking at the Zoo is free of charge.

It Starts With The Arts

News release from MainState Ventures

MainStateVentures Announces Competition for Bridgeport Artists

Local developer sponsors public art competition with $1,250 cash prizes;

Distinguished jury to select Grand Prize winner;

Public to select People’s Choice winner

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. – January 26, 2010 – Bridgeport artists are encouraged to submit entries for the inaugural MainStateVentures Art Competition. Six (6) finalists will be chosen to install and display their art throughout the year in a rotating public art exhibition. The art will be prominently displayed on an eight foot by eight foot wall on the Broad Street side of 211 State Street with each artist’s work on display for two (2) months. The year-long exhibition will culminate in the selection of a Grand Prize winner, who will receive a $1,000 cash award and a “People’s Choice” winner, who will be awarded a $250 cash prize. The competition is open only to artists who either reside or work in Bridgeport, Connecticut.

“Public art helps to create a vibrant downtown for everyone who works, lives and visits Bridgeport,” explained Brandon P. Hall, principal, MainStateVentures. “This art competition not only gives the incredibly talented artists in Bridgeport a public venue in which to display their work, but it creates a visual representation of our commitment to making art accessible to everyone.”

Submissions will be judged by a distinguished jury consisting of Robert Curcio, co-founder of the Scope International Art Fairs and Gallerist, New York City; MaryAnn Fahey, Curator and Gallerist, Umbrella Arts, New York City; Emily Larned, Professor, Graphic Design, University of Bridgeport; John Favret, Director, Housatonic Community College Art Department; and Penny Harrison, Executive Director, Bridgeport Arts and Cultural Council.

Once installed, the public will be invited to vote on their favorite, using ballots available at various downtown Bridgeport restaurants and businesses. Specific locations will be announced in February.

The deadline for submissions is February 15, 2010. Artists are asked to submit a sampling of their work using a maximum of five (5) .jpeg images and one (1) square-format .jpeg image of their proposed piece. It is preferred that artists work directly on the site to create their piece by hand. However, artists may choose to have a banner of their work produced. Artists are asked to indicate at the time of submission whether they will create their work on site or reproduce their work on a banner. All reasonable production costs, up to a maximum of $175, will be reimbursed courtesy of MainStateVentures. Finalists will be notified by February 18, 2010 via e-mail. Submissions may be sent to For questions regarding submission, contact Margaret Bodell, (203) 727-7280. Once chosen, each artist will work with the sponsor to determine an appropriate timeline to produce their artwork and host an official unveiling event.

About MainStateVentures

MainStateVentures (MSV) is a joint venture between Spinnaker Real Estate Partners, LLC and Forstone Capital, LLC. MSV acquired the People’s United Bank downtown Bridgeport, Connecticut portfolio, which represents two prime city blocks including seven buildings totaling 255,000+ sf with 2.8 adjacent acres of developable land.



  1. There is no Black person in the field that I can say could step up now but if there were I would have to say that candidate is Moore. She has appeal all over the city and I hope she gives Musto another primary. She won by a big margin in the North End and she also won Black Rock. If she can appeal to those parts of the city in a mayoral primary she will win. My favorite person to run might not run and that is Ganim. If it were a race between Moore and Ganim I would have to say I would still vote for Ganim. Ganim is like Bill Clinton to not only the African American community but to all the black community in Bpt. I say Ganim 2011 he did his time and it would be great to welcome him back. Damn I wish he runs.

  2. Just the other day someone said it makes no sense to own a house with these sky-high taxes in Bpt they also made note that when Ganim was in office there was no huge tax hike. If we ever have days like that then we will have people talking about coming to the city and not moving out. Many people from NY moved to the ‘Port in the late ’90s and now I bet everybody is trying to move out. Ganim 2011!!! No Finch, No Caruso, No Lopez, No Moore, … We need Ganim Ganim Ganim and Ganim!!!

  3. Here’s a thought for today …
    Enough talk about all the retreads coming to work in the Finch administration … and now bloggers want Ganim to return. He’s not the prodigal son, he a convicted felon. having the right to hold office doesn’t mean you should be elected.

    This city will never return to any level of prestige until the residents who truly care start chipping away at the political machine sucking the remaining life from it.

    Democrats need to find people to put on the DTC who will make Testa and Stafstrom history. Not easy but it needs to start somewhere.

    Republicans, well, the few left need to market a brand that offers positive, constructive solutions.

    I guess what I’m saying is that when the politicians start acting more like leaders instead of kings, the people will rally behind them and outside developers will take a second look at this faded jewel on the sound.

  4. The African American community can certainly come up with better candidates that Holloway and Clemons. I know I’m stating the obvious, but Clemons was asleep or absent in the Judiciary Committee when the girls’ juvie jail was discussed and Holloway spends his entire CC stipend at Testo’s and then comes to meetings (and work) “under the influence.” I like Marilyn, always have. She is a straight shooter and truly cares about the people of Bridgeport. Is she interested or are they just throwing her name out there?

  5. I have thought long and hard about a black candidate for mayor. The names you have put forward just don’t cut it. Holloway and Clemons are retreads and fall into the same category as the white retreads that show up every 4 years. In fairness to Marilyn Moore I don’t know enough about her at this point to comment.
    I am sure there are many qualified non-retread blacks out there as there are many white and hispanic non-retreads out there. They are not coming forward.
    Why aren’t they coming forward?
    1. They do not want to deal with the entrenched Democratic party.
    2. The voting public has not given them a glimmer of hope that they could possibly win.
    3. The voters to date have shown they only know how to pull the top lever.
    4. The leaders in the minority community don’t want their sweetheart deals with the administration(s) to go south.
    5. Even if they thought they could win many don’t want to deal with the council and their self interests.
    One would think that if a person whose name may not be well known would start stepping out and speaking out about the state of the city and its present policies, in 2 years the people of Bridgeport will know who they are and what they stand for.

  6. The person seeking the mayority will face the same challenges whether black, white or brown. Can that person better express and address the problems of the city?
    A black candidate may seem to have a unified ethnic base going in. A bloc of votes is a plus. But the bloc is not automatic. The black community can split into interests and neighborhoods just as nicely as white groups.
    Charlie Tisdale was able to build on decades of political antagonism between the white and black communities. Up until 1980 or so, most black political figures in town felt they had to take a certain amount of crap from the white Democratic power structure.
    Margaret Morton’s group showed that was not necessarily so when she successfully ran for state senate. (God, Charlie must hate reading this). Tisdale showed what they could do with the realization. (I hope that is better, Charlie.)
    Charlie Tisdale may have lost the mayority in 1985 but the black community won the war over equal access to rights and power. The white power structure of the Democratic Party was defeated as surely as if Charlie had won the office. The discrimination (especially in the cops) that unified the black community was addressed. The white community kept the mayor’s office. Mayor Tom Bucci made the common sense–and right–decisions on the grievances.
    Charlie may have gone farther. But at what price controversy? He lost, but his issues won. And Charlie didn’t have to deal with the unrelated financial crisis later.
    Today, whatever screwing the black community gets in Bridgeport politics is largely shared by the white and brown communities. Different issues, maybe, but same result. (Is democracy great or what?)
    There may be some gnawing among members of the black community to elect a black mayor. That’s natural. That’s good if they can skunk out a candidate who can do better than the status quo. Ethnic pride will do that sometimes. Most of the names mentioned are underwhelming. The white ones aren’t any better.

    Some wiseguy can parse out something that I wrote here and say that I am wrong. Please do.

    Before we part Stratford Avenue for Moses, are you sure that Connecticut Avenue can handle two-way traffic? I can’t see that far ahead.

  7. Who is going to fund this campaign? Ralph Ford! It’s been the white community underwriting the 139th district for years to keep a Ford in our future with his street money cred. How many $50.00/hr “consultants” were on the Finch 2007 primary payroll?

    Sorry Charlie! Call Starkist!

  8. Politics in Bridgeport is just so much sport for a bunch of washed-up ward heelers. I started classes at Housatonic Community College, the jewel in the city’s battered and tarnished crown. The ugly monstrosity at 333 State Street is finally being torn down. It’s about fucking time. Now the school will have a stronger profile from State Street and Lafayette Boulevard.

    I’m with Indepentent Soul on Ganim: he’s a convicted felon. Yes, yes, he did accomplish a lot of cool and groovy stuff while serving as mayor of the ‘Port. He’s also a crook, and a liar to boot. (The judge in his racketeering trial didn’t like that. I’m surprised he received only nine years.) No offense donj, but this man is not fit to hold public office. He’s a criminal.

    Bill Finch is also a liar, a goddamned liar. The editorial staff at the Connecticut Post has shown no compunction about pointing this out. He conducts business as if he were a plantation owner.

  9. Does anyone pushing for a Black mayoral candidate really think that person would be able to win without the Hispanic vote? I don’t see any of the entrenched pols mentioned as having any wide popularity. Some of them probably couldn’t even carry a good percentage of the Black vote across the city.

    Whoever runs will have one big advantage, though. There’s a pretty large “anyone but Finch” vote out there!

  10. What I am about to say will piss off a lot of people but here goes.
    The only person to date that is standing up for people in Bridgeport against the power structure is Chris Caruso. I did not vote for Caruso in any of his elections to date but I am thinking about it now.
    I have not seen one of the mentioned potential candidates stand up to the power structure on any of the hot-button issues facing Bridgeport. Sure Carmen Lopez brought up some issues but has since fallen by the wayside.
    Caruso is gaining a lot of support over his handling of the jail controversy in my neighborhood. He also spoke out about a zone change on Evers St & Huntington Tpk. He was the only politician that tried to help us out. Our council people didn’t even show up.
    I will not vote for or support a candidate that comes out 6 months before the primary and starts his/her run for mayor. My question for that candidate is WHERE THE HELL HAVE YOU BEEN?
    My question to all the sitting politicians and to the potential mayoral candidates is WHERE THE HELL ARE YOU? Your silence is deafening.

  11. To my fellow bloggers and all who still believe community service is not a license to give you and your family jobs:

    Instead of thinking about a black candidate for Mayor, how about a good person for Mayor, regardless of color, sex, age, religion or sexual orientation?

    And while we’re at it, why not make an effort to introduce change by putting minorities in leadership roles on the DTC? If you want the winds of change to start blowing here in B’port, let’s hit em where it hurts. Testa and Stafstrom are the real “mastas” (sorry Mr. Councilman), doling out jobs in return for power, buying votes by using taxpayer money (I know Mr. DiNardo not yours) to give jobs to loyalist lemmings (sorry donj).

    When will the people rise and say enough, we’re mad as hell and not going to take it anymore, like they have in Virginia, New Jersey, and Massachusetts?

  12. Independent: Who in the minority community do we put in charge. Mitch Robles? Ralph Ford? Andre Baker?
    The people in Bridgeport are lemmings. Election after election they go to the polls and pull the top lever or now put their X on the top line where all the incumbent Dems are.
    I have been told that this blog has a high readership; if that’s the case I say to the readers get off your asses and get involved. Will they? NO.
    Are we going to be stuck with the same crew of do-nothing politicians? Yes we are. Damn it I hate to be so negative but I see nothing or no one in our future that is willing to step up and rescue this city from the robber barons.

  13. Press hit from the Mayor:
    “The specifications set forth by the Department of Children and Families (DCF) for this project are so prohibitive that they rule out any potential site in Bridgeport, including the proposed 115 Virginia Avenue site. (See attached criteria.) This leaves us with no current options for alternatives. We did meet today to discuss the alternatives, and agreed we do have possible alternative sites to offer, if the Governor can revisit the prohibitive specs that DCF set for the site. I have a call in to her to discuss this issue. We are all hopeful that a productive discussion will ensue, and we can avoid considering legal means to stop this process until a more suitable site is found.”
    So the mayor has not found a single alternate site in B-port. What do you think of that TC???

  14. Lennie, you should have saved the topic for April 1, 2010; April Fool’s Day.
    There are a total of 12 ‘minority’ City Council members. Twice, yes twice, they had the opportunity to select a Hispanic or African American City Council President and they dared not pull the trigger. They sold their principles and bickered among themselves (If you don’t support me I won’t support you) and in the end gave the post to McCarthy.

    Keep in mind that McCarthy is the councilman who feels that the poor people (Blacks and Hispanics) of Bridgeport are a “Burden” and went as far as putting us all in the same category as the Bridgeport Sewage Treatment Plants. Folks go back and listen to the first Pol Pod interview Lennie did with Council President McCarthy.

    If they really planned or hoped to have a shot at having a Black or Hispanic mayor, they should have made sure that person was the City Council President who would have been in a better position to raise money and political support. Keep dreaming and counting Black sheep.

  15. Bill Finch is one of the best Mayors this city has had in years. We don’t have to have a black or Hispanic mayor just for the sake of it, unless we can be sure they’ll do a better job than Mr. Finch, which is a pretty high bar to reach.


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