Chatting With The Chairman, Plus: Reinoso, Sly And Russo

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.



  1. yahooy!
    Thanks for your ringing endorsement on the previous discussion.

    Paging El Rey and donj!
    Watch out for the BladeRunner to endorse Leticia Colon.

    I have always liked Sly and his Everyday People approach for the city.

  2. Wow, it’s quick clear that there is just a bit of animosity coming from the administrator of this blog. So much for objective writing.

    Speaking of not being objective, why is it that no one is addressing the tax cheats, like for example, Lennie’s boss Sal DiNardo? When you put it into perspective, Lennie is getting paid money from a tax cheat who’s not been paying his taxes and causing the city to tighten budgets and hold layoffs.

    Oh I get it, we’re not talking about Mr. DiNardo because people are getting paid to NOT talk about Mr. DiNardo.

    Only in Bridgeport, right?

  3. Hi Monty:

    Thank you for your post. If you’re referring to the Best of Bridgeport radio campaign highlighting Bridgeport’s cultural attractions that I wrote and produced sponsored by Peter DiNardo Enterprises, thank you for the plug. Irrespective of what you may think of Sal, it’s nice that someone is doing something to promote the city. As for objectivity, which is impossible for anyone to have on a blog, you’ll never get that from me. What you will get is fairness. Always look forward to your posts Monty.

  4. To all of my fellow bloggers, friends and foes alike. I have had great fun ranting on about this and that, driving needles into some while catching kudos from others. But this recent news has caused me to pause. I cannot support an entity that is compensated by anything associated with Sal DiNardo. Accordingly, I and my alter egos shall cease any further contributions herein. As a parting gesture, it will not be too difficult to figure whom I choose as my last Philistine.

  5. Yahooy we all have to make a buck as long as the info on Lennie’s client is not one sided then fine. If it crosses the line thats another matter. To lose your insightful posts over this matter is a shame. You should reconsider.

  6. Moonbeam has got to get off his liberal campaign themes. The issues he is passionate about are issues that as a mayor he can do nothing about. Global warming okay he got some green roof tops. This is something that has been looked at 7 ways from Sunday. People in Bpt could give a damn less about global warming. The people of Bpt are worried about paying their heating bills from this past winter and are worrying about how they are going to pay them next winter.
    Gun legislation. There is not a damn thing he can do as a small town new england mayor. What has to be done is stop internet sales of weapons and to keep our southern friends from selling guns by the barrels full to people driving down south from up north. That is congress’s job.
    World Hunger. Damn it look in your own city there are people going hungry right here. There are kids going to bed hungry. What the hell is he thinking. Get a freaking clue World Hunger. Go to the food pantries and soup kitchens there are enough hungry people there to keep him busy. Does this guy think he is the male version of mother Teresa?

  7. Hi Yahooy:

    You’re always welcome back. I’ve made no secret of the fact that I have a public relations business. I do not impose that business on this blog. What makes the blog special is that folks are open to criticize and police each other. I have not, and will not delete a post that criticizes me or anyone else within reason. I will not delete a post that criticizes Sal DiNardo. Sal does not and will not control content on this site. No one except me and people that post here will control the content. DiNardo spent $5 milion of his own money to clean up and demolish a portion of the Bridgeport Brass site that soon will be home to one of Fairfield’s top taxpayers. He wants to do the same for the Remington site. It’s a fact that a prior owner accumulated the taxes owed at the old Remington site. Sal bought the Remington stock when it was already in foreclosure. These kinds of projects that require huge environmental cleanup investments are not financially feasible unless the city provides a tax break. The city cannot and will not do anything with the Remington site if it takes it over. It’s too costly. It will cost millions to clean it up. You are free to criticize that perspective. But it’s a perspective I had before I decided to do a media campaign promoting city cultural attractions sponsored by Sal.

    My clients include Merit Insurance, David Carson, the retired chief executive of People’s Bank and Jack McGregor, owner of the Bridgeport Bluefish. That’s pretty good company. Always know that this blog will never be controlled by my public relations clients. I will always allow great latitude with your opinions. Mine is no better than yours.

  8. Well hello to my friends and foes!!! Been real busy lately so sorry for not posting in awhile!!! Been reading though!!! News on the street is Councilman Santiago who used to be the City Hall greeter who got a new job in Finch’s admin is slated to get the nod for Renoso’s seat from Mitch the Switch who is his stepfather!!! For those who don’t know, Americo Santiago is his father!!! I heard Mitch is or has talked Chico out of running!!!

  9. Perhaps a new Yahooy will emerge from the mist to fight evil and save nervous cats from local trees.
    Or someone wearing a Yahooy costume, much like the muti-generational line of comic book heroes “The Phantom” created by Lee Falk. Or Hal Jordan, the second Green Lantern.

    And just for the record: I own a mask and a pair of tights, but I’m not interested in the job. I’m simply a hobbyist.


  10. Joel Hater I was told that for the moment Santiago is thoght of as to in experienced. I hope he gives it to his step son as i think that will start probelsm in mitch the Bitches district. in either case I think Chico may run and dalcedo is looking to reun BTW the way his new job is special projects coordinator at Public facilities with a substantial raise. this is one of 5 Finch is making evemn though he is laying off library staff,

  11. Yahooy!

    If others were to emulate your commitment to “principle”, most of us would sell what we owned, leave Bridgeport and move elsewhere. After all, why would any rational (and principled) individual want to live in an overtaxed, poorly governed city lead by philistines. Takes guts…a little intestinal fortitude… and hope for the future.

    So at least for now, stifle your distaste for Sal and stick with the blog. This is an open forum where ideas, opinions, wit and nuggets of rational thought, are the currencies that count. The connection (if any) with Lennie’s other ventures and clients is tenuous / inconsequential when compared to the real value of this website due to contributors like you.

    Besides, there are many more philistines who are anxiously awaiting your awards!

  12. Phooy Yahooy! Yahooy’s not a philistine, he’s a skirt, a wimp, an infant. Someone give him a pacifier. Because Grimaldi earns a living, like all of us do, Yahooy’s offended. What does Yahooy do for a living? Anna, I agree with everything you’ve said about Yahooy.

  13. “He’s also discouraging primaries against incumbent state legislators such as Bob Keeley and Chris Caruso.” If this is true than, perhaps Mario Testa was the best choice for Town Chair. (I can’t believe I just wrote that!!)

    I would much rather spend my summer working for an exciting new candidate like Sylvester Salcedo rather than having to beat back primary challenges motivated solely by the politics of revenge and vendetta.

    BTW – Lennie, are you saying that DiNardo bought the Remington land with the expectation that he would be getting a tax break from the city? And if that’s the case, what led him to believe this would be the case?


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