Ganim Released From Prison, Plus: The Clock Ticks On Jodi’s Jail, And New Q Poll Shows Wide Open Guber Race

Update: Former Mayor Joe Ganim, after nearly six and one half years in the joint, has been released from a federal prison camp in Pennsylvania to the Watkinson House, a halfway house in Hartford. More on Friday.

Well, 14 days and counting to find a new location for Jodi’s Jail.

The governor announced a few weeks ago that she’d give the city 30 days to find an alternate city site from the juvenile detention center for girls she proposes in a residential area of the Upper East Side. The governor backed off when the neighborhood–led by the Big Wave State Rep. Chris Caruso and a group of activists called Derail The Jail Committee–screamed why us! How firm is the governor’s 30 days? If there’s no logical movement on another location I expect the governor to say sorry boys and girls it’s going on Virginia Avenue.

And then, there will be lots of potential hell to pay locally and I suspect the finger-pointing will begin. Mayor Bill Finch wasn’t so upset when the governor made her initial public announcement about the location and State Senator Anthony Musto, in fact, waved pompoms in a news release calling it an economic development plus. That tells me they didn’t have a problem with the location, and knew about it for some time, but took public positions against as they saw the electorate boil over. The state has now pegged this project at $20 million, up from nearly $16 million. What’s with the increase?

The mayor and Musto can still come out of this okay, depends how it plays out … like what correspondence exists between the mayor’s office and the state regarding the location and how far back does that communication go?

Say Ray

I’ve been checking on Big Mojo Ralph Mojica’s old job as the city’s Sealer of Weights and Measures, the position that makes sure all those gas pumps and store scales are in order. Ralph had the job for several months, appointed by Mayor John Fabrizi, but was ousted when Finch took over. The position has not been filled in an effort to save money although the office is a revenue-generating department. Word is long-time city pol Ramón Larracuente is teed up not for the official sealer’s job but a part-time position in the office. Ray has been told you can have the job but you will not be reappointed to the Police Commission. Tom Lyons, husband of North End City Councilwoman Michelle Lyons, looks like he’ll replace Ray on the civilian board. Tom’s a good guy who can keep the peace more ways than one. He’s strong enough to bench press the entire police headquarters.

No Lock For Ned

If I’m a supporter of former Stamford Mayor Dan Malloy, I’d be feeling pretty good about today’s new Q Poll. Ned Lamont, who defeated Joe Lieberman in a U.S. Senate Democratic primary in 2006 only to lose to Joe in the general election when Joe ran as an independent, has a lead on Malloy among Dems. But that’s more a product of name recognition. The bigger question for me is who’d be the stronger general election candidate against the Republican? Ned and his liberal leanings or Dan Malloy who governed Stamford well and better understands the realities of running a government, building budgets, negotiating union contracts, etc. The largest voting bloc in the state unaffiliated voters decide general elections. Ned failed to appeal to unaffiliated voters in 2006. More on that on Friday. And now Ned’s saying I think I’ll bypass public financing when he was a huge supporter of it. See Q Poll below:


With an edge in name recognition, Connecticut businessman and former U.S. Senate candidate Ned Lamont leads the pack in the Democratic primary race for Governor, where almost half of the voters remain undecided, and has small leads over Republican contenders, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today.

While 44 percent of Democrats remain undecided, Lamont gets 27 percent, followed by Stamford Mayor Dan Malloy with 11 percent.  No other Democrat tops 5 percent, the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University poll finds.

On the Republican side, 59 percent are undecided, with 17 percent for former ambassador Tom Foley and 8 percent for Lt. Gov. Mike Fedele.  No other Republican tops 6 percent.

In possible general election matchups:

· Lamont edges Foley 38 – 36 percent;
· Lamont tops Fedele 41 – 32 percent;
· Malloy beats Foley 37 – 33 percent;
· Malloy leads Fedele 37 – 31 percent.

Connecticut Secretary of State Susan Bysiewicz tops the Democratic pack for State Attorney General with 62 percent, with 10 percent for former Democratic State Chairman George Jepson and 24 percent undecided.

“The big winner in the primaries for Governor is ‘Undecided.’ With most of the candidates largely unknown, voters aren’t expressing a preference in the gubernatorial primaries yet,” said Quinnipiac University Poll Director Douglas Schwartz, PhD.

“On the Democratic side, Ned Lamont has taken the ‘lead’ with the exit of Susan Bysiewicz, but much of that is due to his greater name recognition. Malloy is within striking range and it is possible for a lesser known candidate to emerge.

“Two Greenwich millionaires – Foley and Lamont – are leading the pack for the nomination for Governor. At a time when a lot of Connecticut families are hurting because of the tough economy, how will that play?” Dr. Schwartz asked.

By a 49 – 14 percent margin, Connecticut voters have a favorable opinion of Bysiewicz, with 36 percent who don’t know enough about her to form an opinion.

Lamont gets a 35 – 21 percent favorability, as 42 percent don’t know enough about him to form an opinion.

The “don’t know enough” number for other candidates for Governor or Attorney General ranges from 59 percent to 96 percent.

“Secretary of State Susan Bysiewicz has to feel good about her poll numbers. Despite the controversy over whether she has been in ‘active practice’ as an attorney for 10 years, which broke as the poll was in the field, she is the clear favorite over the virtually unknown George Jepsen in the Democratic primary. And her favorability numbers have remained high. But if this story doesn’t go away, this could change,” Schwartz said.

Statement from Dan Malloy

“Ned’s used a bunch of different excuses over the past few weeks to explain away his conversion from supporter of campaign finance reform and spending limits to supporter of being able to play by his own set of rules. But the excuses are just that: excuses. If Ned doesn’t want to take the time to raise money in small amounts from hundreds and thousands of people across Connecticut, that’s his business. But he’s said he still wants to adhere to the spirit of the law, and I agree. Which is why he should limit his spending to the $1.5M the rest of us will be spending if we become official candidates.”

“With a lead in name recognition in the latest Quinnipiac Poll, what’s Ned afraid of? That on a level playing field he won’t be able to compete?

“When it comes to campaign finance, Ned has thrown his lot in with Tom Foley and the Republicans. It’s unfortunate because in choosing not to participate in a program that so many state Democrats worked so hard to pass – and which he once claimed to support – Ned is dealing a blow to one of the landmark pieces of progressive legislation in Connecticut’s history. And the Citizens’ Election Program has worked: more than 80 percent of the men and women now serving in the State Capitol were elected under CEP.

“We Democrats should care more about a candidate’s merits than their money. We should care more about the depth of one’s experience, the clarity of one’s vision, the strength of one’s spine, and the compassion in one’s heart than we should about the size of one’s wallet.

“C’mon, Ned. Let’s compete on a level playing field, and may the best candidate win.”

Statement from Ned Lamont:


“Today’s poll results show that we are now the frontrunner for the Democratic nomination for governor by a margin of 16 points. While it is early in this process, it is clear that Connecticut voters want an outsider who will be able to lead our state in a new direction, and that our focus on creating jobs, getting our economy back on track, and taking an entrepreneurial approach to governing is resonating with voters across the state.

“I look forward to continuing to talk to voters in every corner of our state about my vision for the state of Connecticut and how we can can get there together. I intend to make an official announcement about my plans in the coming weeks.”



  1. The propose jail on Virginia Ave has been on the drawing board for more than a year. I was told by a city council person from my district that the mayor was informed of this over a year ago. People in this administration and on the council knew about this jail for a year before the s – – – hit the fan.
    I blogged about this when it first became public and caught verbal hell from Musto about blogging on this subject without talking to him. It was such a secret that only 2 people showed up on the day the governor was to announce her choice. Me and Ed Gomes. The governor subsequently canceled the announcement on this date.
    This administration as is its wont chose to ignore the problem until Chris Caruso made it an issue and it became public knowledge.
    One whole year went by nothing was done. In that year an alternate site could have been found and documented and presented to the governor. Better yet our legislative delegation could have kept their word to the governor on a veto override of a bill (I don’t know the exact bill) and this would not have happened at all. They screwed her and this is payback. Like I said when Ann and I primaried for the council seats it’s TIME FOR A CHANGE. Maybe now people are ready for change.

  2. Yes, it’s time for a change.

    However, our governmental system is too fragmented to allow that. Even President Obama–the constitutional law professor–is learning the limits of change. The status quo is maintained at the public’s expense.

    If you can’t change the world maybe you can change yourself.


    That sounds like a plan to me.


  3. One last time, they should at least take a look at the former Bpt Brass site where the Health Department is for a possible joint (no pun intended) project. The city needs a new health department building. It is on a contaminated brownfield, the site is big, maybe some shared services for the young people … worth a look?

  4. Local: You can make changes you just have to be open in what you are doing. I believe if this health care bill was negotiated in the open the American people would better understand it. Instead what did we get ? We got a ton of backroom deals. Like the $300 million to Mary Landraeu who I just saw on TV extolling the greatness of the health care plan. It took $300 Million for her to reach that conclusion. You have the Medicaid exemption for Nebraska and senator Ben Nelson. You have the deal with the Unions postponing their paying their share of health care costs until 2018. The list goes on and on.
    Look there were 30 Million people give or take that they say had no health insurance. Why did they have to screw with health insurance for everyone? Why not come up with a bill to cover just the uninsured?
    These people in Washington are not listening to the American people. They have spent a year with this health care bill and zip point nada on getting people back to work. They forgot you can’t eat your health care benefits.
    Change can happen if you are honest in your approach and keep people informed. Politicians local, state and federal think we voters are suffering from Terminal Dumb Ass and they know more than we do. Remember most of them come from a privileged background by the time they get to DC. If they grew up poor most of them not all but most forgot what it was like to eat leftovers.

  5. One more time, if it has to be in Bridgeport, then the primary location should be the new Juvenile Justice Center on Water Street. The original plans were for two wings–one for girls and one for boys. Only one wing was built but the site can accommodate the second wing. It can also go higher on the existing wing and add separate elevators since the downtown can accommodate the height. The education facilities, recreation facilities and court house are right there so the staffing can share the facilities and keep the state operating costs down. It is right next to the bus terminal and train station. Put a second wing on that facility and let DCF and DOC staff figure out how to work together to really help the kids and their families.

    1. Taking advantage of unused space at the Water Street facility would make too much sense. There’s probably a reason that J-Rell wants to locate it on Virginia Avenue; I’m guessing that it is so convoluted that a program is necessary to identify all the players.

  6. *** There you go once again, ask a question about economic development in Bpt. & Nancy always has a good answer! It’s a shame Finch gave her the boot, I liked her community involvement spirit. *** As for my old job, I guess claiming to be changing it to part-time (“?”) could be done, however from the 120 days I did the job, Bob the gentleman that worked with me had a quarterly schedule we followed on things like billing & collection season, field seasons on all the big stores, bodegas, gas stations, taxicabs, oil trucks, etc. Due to the four seasons & weather it sometimes depends on what exactly gets done. I enjoyed it ’cause you stayed busy & the day went by quickly, especially out in the field! It can be a good revenue source for the city, if you have the right person like Bob & me. (wink) People that are not afraid of doing some work for a living. Unlike retire or fire, cut & save to spend more, Finch & Co. *** FORGETABOUTIT ***

    1. This is the kind of job where you need employees with the utmost integrity. Does Ramón fit the bill? Not from what I’ve heard. Did anyone check his references? SADA for example? Bad, bad track record there. This is another terrible decision by Finch and company.

  7. Hi Lennie,
    I hope this letter finds you well. Kim Morque and I are hosting a meet and greet with Dan Malloy at my store, The Backstroke, 181 State Street, February 4, from 5:30-7:30. I’d like to invite you and the OIB folks to drop by and get a chance to meet Dan in person. Best Wishes. RSVP 203-332-7400.

    1. I have contact information for my fellow Republican candidates. When you are ready to host a meet and greet with them, let me know. You “stroke” my back I’ll “stroke” yours. Will there be any “Backroom” deals at the Backstroke?

  8. I’m guessing Connecticut’s campaign finance laws are toast:

    (Thursday, 11:30 a.m.)

    Associated Press Writer

    WASHINGTON – The Supreme Court threw out a 63-year-old law designed to restrain the influence of big business and unions on elections Thursday, ruling that corporations may spend as freely as they like to support or oppose candidates for president and Congress. The decision could drastically alter who gives and gets hundreds of millions of dollars in this year’s crucial midterm elections.

  9. If people think that the Congress has been bought and paid for, the Supreme Court just gift-wrapped it with a big red bow and handed it to special interests.

    Rest in Peace McCain-Feingold one of the few true bipartisan efforts.

  10. Has anyone else noticed that Mayor Finch’s administration actually has been creating jobs? The only problems is that, while the pay and benefits have been quite good, the jobs are not in sufficient quantity to have a measurable effect on the city’s employment statistics. And all of the jobs that have been created by Messrs. Finch, Wood, et al., are on a city payroll and offered only to The Friends Of Bill.

    1. All this while the employees took no increases and unpaid furlough days. So where exactly is the money coming from? Are we in the black again? Has the fund balance been replenished? Because we are spending like there’s a surplus. Does that mean my taxes will be cut?

  11. Speaking of gutted federal statutes, didja hear about the guy the police caught trying to trade an Intratec DC9 handgun and 9mm ammunition for some heroin at Greene Homes? The Intratec model is among 19 handguns named in a 1994 federal assault weapons ban, which former president George Dubya Bush allowed to expire.

  12. Of course, any gun that can fire can leave you satisfactorily dead.

    The TEC-9 is a scary-looking piece of crap. It’s badly made, and jams a lot. I think criminals liked them because they looked cool. (And they are cheap.) That stated, they were all over the South End at one time and scared the daylights out of me.

    I hope criminals keep on turning up with them. They don’t make them anymore that I know of. If they were junk back when, I don’t think they could get any better with age. Hopefully, they’ve been living in someone’s closet where the barrels get bent. Here’s hoping they are all badly maintained and blow up when fired, injuring or killing the shooter. Let’s not have any pity party for the poor “innocents.”


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