Don’t mess with Mother Goose! That’s one of the lessons that Mayor Bill Finch should digest following another embarrassing loss with the resurrection of Mario Testa as Democratic Town Chairman.
Finch and his old party leader John Stafstrom took a bunch of boots up their butts Tuesday night for a variety of reasons.
For one thing, the party rebelled over Stafstrom’s ineffectiveness as party honcho, superior attitude that he’s right and everyone else is wrong and his inability to deliver candidates he supports against the wishes of many party regulars.
As for Finch, the new mayor has shamelessly interpreted his election as some sort of messianic calling, divine ruling without question, without regard to pragmatic advice simply because he was elected mayor, focusing on politics instead of devoting the vast majority to time to governing. Let’s look at some of Finch’s decisions:
· Promising a $600 tax cut during the campaign when he knew he couldn’t deliver it.
· Trying to get away with holding two elected positions until media pressure forced him to give up the state senate seat.
· Calling Trumbull a bucolic town with no problems after courting Trumbull votes for years as a state senator, rendering him helpless to campaign on behalf of the Democratic candidate Tom Mulligan who was croaked by Republic Rob Russo to fill Finch’s seat.
· Claiming the only thing he knew about a tax break for a political supporter was what he read in the paper.
· Trying to govern for four months now without an appointed director of economic development.
· Sticking his nose in district politics to the detriment of the city.
· Defensive, thin-skinned attitude to the slightest criticism.
· Lack of a strong, experienced, organized professional in his office to help focus him.
· Rationalizing, justifying every decision even when he’s proven wrong.
As for Mother Goose, her name is Dottie Guman, a dignified woman who’s done nothing but help Finch’s political career and put food on his table. Finch kicked Guman in the teeth after Stafstrom left an F-bomb message on her telephone. Guman got tired of Finch’s attitude, lies and disrespect. She decided to support Testa. Guman’s support of Testa was a nice lady’s way of sticking an ice pick in Finch’s birdbrained head. If her district votes for Stafstrom, Finch’s candidate would still be in power. (By the way Dottie Guman is now a vice chair of the party with James Holloway and Martha Santiago. Johanna Dorgan is secretary, Maria Hoffman Treasurer and Richard Paoletto sergeant of arms.)
What should Finch do moving forward? Once again, be mayor, work on the budget, build coalitions in the legislature, meet with area chief executives to showcase economic opportunities, highlight the economic advantages of doing business in the city, bring in experienced negotiators to help the thorny issues involving complex sale of city assets. Be honest. Stop lying. End the arrogance. And stop going to every chickenshit little meeting just to show people you’re doing something. Finch’s credibility is too much in question so soon in a new mayoralty. He may be mayor for another three-plus years but a mayor cannot govern without credibility. His two predecessors were run out of office.
Finch has some decent, good people in his office. Adam Wood, his chief of staff, is among them. But Adam is not the answer. He’s too much of a political animal in an important government role. That does not mean Adam should not be there to filter through pragmatic politics. Finch needs a strong person in his office that can help focus him. He needs varsity, not JV.
I’ve said over and over when you govern effectively, when mayors make governing the priority, the politics will follow. Nothing has changed. The mayor should run the city. If he doesn’t he will fail.
Oh by the way, happy St. Joseph’s Day! Bring on the zeppole! And a big OIB round of applause to John from Black Rock for his active reports from the DTC meeting.
News release from city hall.
Mayor Finch, Students Present Student Artwork at City Hall Annex
March 19, 2008 – Mayor Bill Finch, Deputy Superintendent of Learning and Teaching Henry R. Kelly, Director of Visual Arts for the Board of Education Ralph Buzzard, and students and parents gathered this morning at the City Hall Annex in Bridgeport to announce the display of local students’ artwork at the Annex. The Mayor, in conjunction with the Board of Education, has decided to display a rotating show of artwork from Bridgeport schools that will change every 1-2 months. Artwork currently displayed comes from Park City Magnet, High Horizon Magnet, Multicultural Magnet, Cesar A. Batalla, and Curiale Schools.
“When I took office in December 2007, I realized that student artwork would significantly brighten up the halls of the City Hall Annex,” said Mayor Finch. “I asked my staff to coordinate with Mr. Buzzard, Director of Visual Arts for the Board of Education, and now we’re happy to present these amazing works of art from our very own students from right here in Bridgeport. Their talent is really astounding.”
City Hall and City Hall Annex staff and the general public will be invited to vote on the artwork for each category of elementary, middle and high school. The winner in each category each rotation will be presented with an award from the Mayor’s Office.