So, I had an interesting lunch on Thursday with that always entertaining Democratic Town Chairman Mario Testa and the Mother Goose of the party Dottie Guman, the person responsible for Mayor Bill Finch’s political rise through the years, but who now wonders why she bothered! Mother Goose is not happy with Bird Man. That’s a long long line these days.
Mario had no ill words for Finch despite the fact the mayor worked long hours to get his ass kicked trying to deliver his party-leader candidate John Stafstrom. Finch has looked like an amateur on a number of issues, but when an arrogant pol gets a taste of power that leads him to bloated sense of entitlement (I’m the mayor, and you’re not, I’m smart and you’re stupid) that will happen a lot. And it will happen some more.
Finch is not nearly nimble-minded enough to achieve success without strong people around him. That’s part of Testa’s concern: Finch’s misplaced priorities. Global warming, gun legislation and ending world hunger, all noble efforts, have leapfrogged the issues voters elected Finch to prioritize such as the budget and economic development. You think I’m being rhetorical? Finch told me a few months ago, between my verbal attacks on his early boneheaded decisions during a meeting, that global warming’s impact on his children was more important than the tax rate of the city he governs. Good grief!
Finch has been embracing legislative issues–the arena comfortable to him–as part of his bunker mentality. To Finch’s credit he was a good state senator. Not great, but good. Maybe he should resign the mayoralty and challenge the man occupying his old job, Republican Rob Russo. I bet if Finch had it all to do over he’d have stayed in the State Senate.
Anyhoo, back to Mario, when I asked him if he was happy to be back in as party chair he responded, “not really.” He explained that he got back in because of the direction the party and city was going with Stafstrom and Finch in charge. Mario’s willing to work with Finch, but if Finch continues to act rudderless Mario won’t be bashful about making suggestions to save the jobs Finch proposes to cut and examine other areas of the budget for savings to lower Finch’s proposed mil rate.
Testa has a better relationship with the Bridgeport City Council than does Finch. In fact, Finch has no relationship with the council. That’s not good.
Okay, for those of you cynical about Mario’s motives, he has a multi-million dollar investment in his restaurant. He wants the city to succeed. That would give anyone pause in light of a mayor that hasn’t a clue.
In the short term Mario is also working on rebuilding the party that has been split in half with Finch’s focus on politics over government. He’s also discouraging primaries against incumbent state legislators such as Bob Keeley and Chris Caruso.
Speaking of the legislature, State Rep. Felipe Reinoso, who has served in the State House for eight years, has announced that he will not seek reelection. It throws the door open to several possibilities such as long-time pol Chico Rivera. Sylvester Salcedo is also taking a look at the seat.
You want someone bright, smart, charming, caring, well spoken in politics with an impressive military and legal background? Sly’s the guy. The question is what candidate will Mitch “The Switch” Robles support this week? The district leader’s influence will probably sway the endorsement process to fill Reinoso’s seat. Sly probably doesn’t have enough political time in to receive Robles’ blessing, so here’s what I say–run a primary Sly! Sly is chewing on a run. No official announcement yet. The 130th State Assembly District covers the South End, West End, and a portion of the East Side.
Following up on Republican State Sen. Rob Russo’s attempt to clarify legislation language that would bar city employees from serving on the Bridgeport City Council, here’s my paraphrase of the language in the state statute: if you are a police officer you cannot serve on the police commission. If you work directly for the Bridgeport City Council, say as a legislation aide, you cannot serve on the city council. But if you are a city employee that does not report directly to the council then you may serve on the council. Russo wants to change the language.
Note to John from Black Rock. Do not worry about tense agreements. Yours are far better than mine! I speak well English good.