Massaging The Message, Plus: Russo On GOP Budget

So, I’m wondering, as a brief segue from the local political scene … do you want Hillary to bag it, embrace Barack and get out of the way? Or should she keep fighting, take it to the Democratic convention and hope he does something stupid along the way?

Is Clinton a stronger general election candidate than Obama? And if Barack ends up the Democratic standard bearer should he ask her to take the second spot?

I say no. Barack should identify someone that can actually deliver a purple state. Plus, I’m not so sure that Hill wants to be second fiddle. She did that for eight years. Although if Hill ended up being the candidate she might be forced to ask him to accept the second spot to ensure that black voters are super energized for the general.

Barack at the top of the ticket would have implications locally. For instance, he’ll juice the turnout in Bridgeport, bringing new Democratic and unaffiliated voters to the polls, that could bolster Democrat Jim Himes’ challenge of Republican Congressman Chris Shays, or Democratic state senate candidate Anthony Musto’s challenge of Republican State Sen. Rob Russo.

If that’s the case, Republican incumbents would be forced to contemplate a surgical retail strategy. For example, if Russo successfully secures state money for a forensic audit of the Bridgeport Board of Education, it would build heapings of goodwill across the board with voters that want to know where the ed money is going.

General elections, during presidential cycles, are far more about message than identifying and dragging voters to the polls. You know they’re coming out, the key is finding the message that will cut through the static.

(By the way, I’m loving the banter between the Bob Keeley and Auden Grogins supporters. Keep it coming! We may yet have that mud wrestling match at Ellsworth Field.)

News release from State Sen. Rob Russo

Russo Signs on to Revised Balanced Budget Proposal

Plan would protect municipal state aid, fund Early Reading Success Program, encourage small business growth and reduce state gas taxes

Hartford, CT – Amid skyrocketing gasoline prices, worsening economic indicators and pleas for help from taxpayers, educators, nursing homes, private providers, public housing authorities, Mayors and First Selectmen; State Senator Robert D. Russo (R-Bridgeport) today joined House and Senate Republican leaders in reintroducing a balanced budget proposal that would cut state gas taxes, protect municipal state aid and fund the Early Reading Success program. The budget proposal, first introduced in April, also provides tax incentives to small businesses, streamlines state government, and reduces state spending by more than $160 million.

“We are just beginning to see the negative impact of the state legislature’s decision not to adjust the FY09 budget,” said Senator Russo. “Connecticut residents and businesses continue to struggle with rising gasoline prices and will be hit with another gas tax increase on July 1st. Moreover, municipalities are being faced with the difficult decision of cutting critical local services such as education and public safety. The City of Bridgeport alone will lose $3 million in state funding for its Early Reading Success Program and likely deny full-day kindergarten to as many as 370 children, unless we make necessary adjustments to the budget now.”

In anticipation of a June special session, Republicans have also revised their budget proposal to address the debate on extending the state conveyance tax. The Republicans have proposed a solution that will lower the conveyance tax rate without lowering state aid to municipalities. They accomplish this by keeping the municipal portion of the conveyance tax intact, while reducing the state portion (.5% on residential real estate sales under $800,000) by .15%. The savings to taxpayers is equal to savings that would be achieved if the conveyance tax were to sunset. The Republicans pay for the tax cut by implementing a Tax Amnesty program.

The Republican budget proposal is balanced, offers significant and lasting tax cuts, addresses shortfalls in the Special Transportation Fund (STF) and funds the two major criminal justice initiatives adopted this year. The plan includes several proposals Russo has advocated for throughout his campaign and since being elected to the State Senate on March 11th. It calls for a two-year phase out of the Business Entity Tax, an expansion of the job creation tax credit, and the elimination of the .5% increase in the gross receipts tax on gasoline scheduled for July 1st. In an effort to save money and slow the growth of government, more than 11,000 eligible state workers will be offered an optional early retirement plan.

Highlights include:
. Balanced Budget for ’08 and ’09 and a surplus for ‘09
· No Tax Increases
. No Program Cuts
. No Layoffs
. Funds Housing PILOT/tax abatement
. Repeal of the Gross Receipts Tax Increase on Gasoline Scheduled for July 1st
. Cap on the Gross Receipts Tax on Gasoline
. Phase Out of the Business Entity Tax
. Phase Out of the Estate Tax Cliff
. 1% Increase for Private Providers & Nursing Homes
. Saving the Early Reading Success Program
. Does not touch the Rainy Day Fund
. Reduces the Size and Cost of Government through Voluntary Early Retirement Incentive Program.
. Lowers conveyance tax without reducing municipal aid

For more information about the Republican Alternative budget proposal, please visit



  1. I am delighted to announce my endorsement as the Republican candidate for State Representative in the 130th. district. I’d like to first thank Joseph Borges, for his assistance in helping me to get the nomination, to Republican Town Chair Mark Delmonico and the rest of the Republican T.C. members. I am deeply honored for this opportunity of a lifetime.
    The Bridgeport Republican Party has demonstrated that it is a group of citizens willing to find qualified and committed candidates to represent the community as a whole.
    The Bridgeport education system is the bi-product of our Prison system. Four (4) years ago I made a promise to God and my wife who is a Christian. We’ve talked alot about the problems facing society and especially what is happening in our Education system. I promised that in the event that one day I ran for State office, I would put God first and seek to address the issue of prayer in our schools. Federal mandates have been chipping away at the core fabric of our State and Nation in many different ways. As a Republican I’d be in a better position to address and discuss many of the issues and concerns facing my district and State with Representative Chris Shays and State Senator Rob Russo.
    In the coming weeks and months I will be presenting my Platform for the 130th. district and beyond. The Democratic opponent I will most likely face better be prepared and at his best. This is a job for men, not boys. I will assure everyone of one thing–victory won’t be as Eze as most may think.

  2. ONLY in BRIDGEPORT is a FANTASTIC blog. However, I’m concerned that readers are unaware of what’s available to them. Here is a partial list of services my company offers. Upon request we can:

    divert rivers and streams; build dams where needed
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    negotiate favorable treaties on your behalf
    render all incoming missles harmless
    turn mothers-in-law into drinking buddies
    replace frowns with smiles
    prompt hostile foreign leaders to change their minds
    correct any and all mistakes as determined by you.

    WE make the BIG WHEELS roll. We can do anything except change politics in Bridgeport. For that YOU are urged to continue reading THIS BLOG.


    Keith Rodgerson is going to cremate you and your 9 1/2 fingers in November. I think there are probably 10 Republicans in that district. Maybe John McCain will personally come and campaign for you. You are going to need a lot of help (in every way possible.) You should get a campaign bus to aid your run (preferably a short one.)

    If you beat Keith in November elephants will begin to fly and Peppermint Patty will start liking dudes.

    Seriously Speedy I doubt you and Pepe Le Peu could crack more than 100 votes tops in the 130th. You are like most of the people in that race…way too optimistic.

  4. Hillary and Obama have started saying nice things about each other. The reconciliation process has started. I believe she will accept the VP nomination, and she should get it.

    I don’t think a united Democratic Party will have any trouble winning all the states it needs this fall. VP candidates (think Edwards) don’t even carry their own state all the time.

    As McCain’s personal history (abandoning a crippled wife in the hospital for an affair with a much younger woman) becomes more well known, as well as his troublesome personality, his extreme political positions, and awareness of just how old he is, the Republicans will lose in a landslide. Even Newt Gingrich thinks this election will be a disaster.

    Higher turnout in Bridgeport as well as desire for change in the suburbs will propel Himes to victory as well.


    Did you hear? Bob Dole’s gimp hand will be campaigning for Joel “Speedy” Gonzales against Keith Rodgerson in the 130th State Assembly District.

  6. Oh two great choices for the 130th. Santiago is clearly the BEST choice to send to Hartford. At least we know he won’t get pulled over for DUI or cut his finger off at the capitol.

  7. OIB = Organized I’ll Be. I heard the similar comments here during the Past primary cycle. Mulligan will win, Danny Roach is strong, Joel won’t even qualify and Rob Russo will lose. Did any of that deter me? No, in fact it made me work harder. I ended up Qualifying with a full slate, threw a wrench in the Mulligan Machine, Helped Russo win, Got the Republican nomination and a Justice of the Peace. Who wins?
    I’m anxious to see who the Republican V.P. candidate will be. Collin Powell is my choice I’d bet Powell would get more votes as V.P. than Obama as the Presidential candidate. Don’t count your chickies before they hatch and keep in mind that I won’t be Eze on those who are cheeze.

  8. Trojan Llegua do you know of a plot to pull me over for DUI? Do you even know the reason behind the finger? Trust me, you won’t hear any of the democrats propose any form of real Gun Control legislation. You will like my Gun Bill, since it will reduce the chances of you being shot by your master, when you break a leg campaigning for him. The apple doesn’t fall far from the three and I know both trees that Eze feeds from. I helped both trees grow for years and it’s time to start chopping away at it. As for cougar, my experience working in the Zoo and learning about animal behavior will come in handy. Political animal hunting — my favorite pastime!

  9. That’s quite a question you’re asking Lennie. The pundits are having a great time conjecturing and arguing; and none has the answer. I think it has to play out until the convention which is only a few weeks away. Hillary has put up one helluva fight and shows that she has perseverance and tenacity. She is truly a credit to her gender. I feel fairly sure that Barack Obama has it wrapped up and whereas I think that an Obama/Clinton ticket would be a winner, I seriously doubt that Obama would want Bill Clinton wandering around the White House giving the impression that he (Bill) is in control. Let’s face it, to want that job you have to be an ego maniac and I don’t think that Obama would want anyone with a strong personality stealing his thunder.

    And “Local Eyes”, it sounds like you’re just the number for a society in crisis. With those “Big Wheels” you just might be able to wheel all our pathetic politicians out of the City and give us some relief.

  10. Con – You are right about Bill being a hard pill for Obama to swallow – but he will do it if it helps get him elected – maybe he can name Bill ambassador to Papua New Guinea.

  11. Can you imagine Joel versus the bullshitter. Doesn’t anybody think a candidate for public office should be remotely qualified. Again, the only thing that bothers me about that match up is one of those two jerks could win.

  12. Congratulations to Jose “Chico” Rivera on being honored on Monday as part of the Memorial Day Parade in Bridgeport. Chico is a “Semper Fi” guy!

    Yahooy has corrupted Anna.

    Cougar’s showing for next week is “A Man Called Horse!”.

    Monroe’s Michele Mount ready to take DebraLee Hovey to summer school for a course in remedial math.

    Downtown Cabaret to bring back Beatles smash hit “She Loves You!” in late August for limited run. BOOK YOUR TICKETS EARLY AND OFTEN!

  13. Rob Russo is a good guy and I may even vote for him (do you really think that a Senator from Trumbull is going to worry about Bridgeport). But, some of those budget proposals are either fantasy or pandering.

  14. Did anybody see Santa Ayala at the DTC Fundraiser tonight? Whoever nailed that needed Beer Goggles or at least Beer Lasik Surgery.

    Is it true that now we have primaries all over the city except in the north end?

    I saw Tom McCarthy and Paul Ganim work the room over like a Vietnamese Prostitute during the Vietnam war. Who does Mario run against Finch?

  15. A few years ago, I decided to cook broccoli rabe for dinner. I ventured out to my reliable green grocer where I found a not-so-desirable few heads of rabe left at the bottom of the box. The rabe was discolored, wilted and otherwise not what I had in mind. Nonetheless, I picked from what was there hoping for the best. Sadly, what I had purchased yielded a less-than-desirable and disappointing meal for which I wasted my money.

    I am reminded of that experience when I look at who has stepped forth announcing intents to seek public office. We have the Joels, the empty-shirted Keeleys, the bullshitting cougars, the just dreadful Grogins, and a whole slew of others that have absolutely no business aspiring to the public trust.

    Their names will be on the ballots come election time and we will have to choose from the list.

    As my meal was a great disappointment because I had to pick from a box of less-than-desirable heads of rabe, we will surely find ourselves in trouble again because the only people we get to choose to manage our municipal affairs are the hopelessly unqualified and, worse, the ones that Mario Testa tells us we have to vote for.

    Sooner or later some of you out there who want the change we need will step up. Until then, it appears that we are doomed to continue the steady decay and decline our city has only known for too long.

  16. Personally, I find broccoli rabe to be a sadistically bitter weed that seems to be some Luther Adler experiment gone horribly wrong. I’m much more in favor of plain old broccoli on the dinner table. Anything a Bush hates is OK with me.

    Good political broccoli rabe lesson aside, I also urge everyone here to expand their horizons at the political produce aisle. When you continue to pick from the same old vegetables, you end up with the same old meal on your plate. and the same old scraps to toss out.

    As always, I’m reminded of the words of the great Delman Mangrove’s essential work “A Layman’s Guide to Perspicacity”:

    “Carrots are good for the eyes. Broccoli is good for the soul. Corn on the cob is a buttery treat. Broccoli rabe should be thrown in a hole. Yeah string beans!”.

    Truer words were never written. That man knew his vegetables.


  17. yahooy is right. We get only the dregs from which to select, the lesser of two evils. Yet the system seems to be stacked against anyone who has a regular job or is of lesser means. Plus the voters in this city are apathetic and pathetic. Perhaps it is true, we get what we deserve.

  18. yahooy,

    Not to bruise the gentle fruit of your sense of self-worth as self-annointed bard of the blog, but your tale of a disappointing dinner as related to the current city political pickings is an ALLEGORY, not a metaphor)

    An allegory is:”a symbolic fictional narrative that conveys a meaning not explicitly set forth in the narrative. Allegory, which encompasses such forms as fable, parable, and apologue, may have meaning on two or more levels that the reader can understand only through an interpretive process. (See also fable, parable, and allegory.)”

    A metaphor is “a figure of speech that implies comparison between two unlike entities, as distinguished from simile, an explicit comparison signalled by the words “like” or “as.”

    And besides, as all good scholars of Jonathon Swift already know, the accompanying essay to 1729’s “A Modest Proposal” was titled “Broccoli Rabe As A Means To A Political Allegorical End”. While not a crowd pleaser like “Modest Proposal”, (possibily due to the ever-popular eating of children theme), “Broccoli Rabe” is nevertheless an important piece in the Swift body of work.

    Copycat? Of Jonathon Swift? Me? Thanks for the kind compliment, however undeserved it may be. I only steal from the best. The rest may feel free to steal from me.

    But of course, the great Delman Mangrove has already so clearly written on this topic in his essential work “A Laman’s Guide To Perspicacity” in a piece titled “I May Not Be Swift, But I’m Smart Enough For Government Work”

    “Satire is merely repeating the obvious to those to self-possessed to notice it the first time.”

    So yahooy, I’m saddened to learn your brocolli rabe was less than enjoyable. But, as Warren Zevon told David Letterman in his last live TV appearance before his unfortunate death, “Enjoy every sandwich”. Did he mean that as a metaphor or as an allegory? Only time will tell. But now, it’s lunch time. Let me chew on that a bit.

    BTW – no need to respond. I only repeat myself once.


  19. That’s really funny & clever to compare broccoli rabe to some of the local poliiticins. I always hated broccoli rabe, too bitter and nasty, sort of like Trojan Horse. does he ever talk nice about anybody? Always criticizing people’s looks, not just their belief, and I’ll bet he’s no supermodel. It must suck to be him, and I’m glad some of you others agree with me.


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