Newton Faces House On Sunday

Ernie Newton on Face The State
Ernie Newton, left, will appear on Face The State hosted by Dennis House on Sunday.

From Dennis House, host of Face the State, Sunday on Channel 3.

Disgraced former State Senator Ernest Newton is seeking his old job back two years after finishing a prison term for corruption. In his first extended television interview since announcing his candidacy, the Bridgeport Democrat laid the foundation of his political comeback.

“I made a mistake, but my mistakes do not outweigh the good I’ve done. I’ve paid my debt to society.”

During a taping for Sunday’s Face the State, Newton talked about his time in prison, his drug past, and how he has actually been encouraged to run by his former constituents, despite the fact he’s a convicted felon. He said he hasn’t yet spoken with party chairwoman Nancy DiNardo, who has been publicly silent on Newton’s attempted political comeback. Newton told me has talked with Senate President Donald Williams, who “didn’t tell me not to run.” In fact, Newton said no one has tried to talk him out of running against current State Senator Edwin Gomes. Newton added that he has the blessing of the Bridgeport party chairman, Mario Testa, whom Newton says told him he will win.

You can watch the entire interview with Ernest Newton, this Sunday morning at 11, only on Channel 3.



  1. With a name like LowLevel you have dropped the ball on your own political know-how. A toddler could jump over the low bar you’ve set. You are another DoomFreak in the OIB blogosphere. I encourage you to adopt a new attitude. Be like me: next time you see Ernie, give him a high five.


  2. The project a few of us undertook with seriousness last year was “Budget Oversight Bridgeport–2011” that we called: “B.O.B.–2011” or B.O.B. as a simpler and friendlier name for the community to understand. One or more of us attended every meeting scheduled to listen to Budget departments present their annual request. We intended to observe the functioning of our fiscal watchdogs.

    We could listen only. There is a rule prohibiting public comment at Budget and Appropriation meetings all year long. That is a rule of the Common Council and/or their committee system. (It is a rule that does not serve the City particularly well if voters listening to current process have more training, greater understanding, or more specific information than Committee members appointed by their President, who is a City employee and obvious member of the City administrative cabinet.) In such ways, the City currently provides that which the B&A eats and drinks as City watchdogs! They are on a restricted diet, that robs them of full protective instincts for the City $. Their schedule limits a full exercise of their responsibility and authority per the Charter and their own budget. They have lost the necessary spirit and ability of watchdogs, to bark when they see danger. And a good watchdog barks, loud and clear, except when the master appears! Do you see our current picture?

    With more than one year of attending B & A meetings and watching them go from many scheduled but not held sessions and failure to receive ‘monthly reports’ because Finance failed to produce ‘monthly’ reports 12 months of the fiscal year, I can state without reservation these 7 appointed Council persons are not in any way an adequate check and balance to a sitting Mayor and his financial advisers regarding financial oversight.

    They are not watchdogs. They are lapdogs. It is good when a B&A member ask questions. I encourage that. But think about those questions asked. Last Monday evening, one B&A member called to consider authorizing $60 Million of bond refunding and $110 Million of tax anticipation notes (TANs), asked “What are TANs?” Consider what is not put in writing to this group and what fails to reach them for study before a session? Consider what is routinely not written up as pros and cons of a recommendation with recent history noted and helpful necessary background, that could go into the minutes for public info? Consider when questions are asked, and a City director does not have the info at hand (last year’s interest rates on similar instruments compared to what is estimated this year), the B&A vote still goes forward with a promise the info will flow later. But that info will not get into any public record available later nor allow a change of vote, if necessary. If any such info is important enough to ask, it is important enough to have in hand as part of the public record before voting, I suggest. That would be a watchdog position, but not that of a lapdog.

    Look at the City Council members of the past 20 years. How many of them have been capable of understanding the budgets they voted upon allowing the City unrestricted fund balance to decline to where it sags today, of no practical use to the City? What mechanisms or structural improvements have they urged upon B&A to deal with year-’round study of the ongoing financial condition of the City,which is what a real financial oversight structure would be busy about, month in and month out?

    Perhaps the existence of such a Finance Board function, that allows no City employee to be a member per CT statute, would have called attention to the financial dysfunction in the City of BOE reporting and watchdogging there. The BOE budget has been part of the City’s presented budget paperwork. A Finance Board, not conflicted by holding a City job, might just have been independent enough to cut through the difficulties and frustrations at the BOE for years, to question the City flat-funding of education for four years, to reach out to the BRBC and State regarding moving the multi-year audit to public conclusion, and assure rating agencies there is a quality process with qualified, experienced and independent taxpayer voters, open to listening to the public, and focused on delivering adequate finances for administration priorities, but dedicated to curbing inefficiency and waste in City finances where they discover it.

    Perhaps the Charter Review Commission should be considering a Board of Finance in Bridgeport rather than a differently constituted Board of Education? The Acting Education Superintendent, Paul Vallas, promises to be ACCOUNTABLE, to use information and data to prove positive change. That would be a different experience in Bridgeport, wouldn’t it? What if there were a group with appropriate talent who opened up the financial data in similar fashion as a Financial Board with the power to ‘drill down’ the way Vallas has to come up with a budget for the current year against resistance in all areas and what if they were truly accountable in similar fashion to the Vallas promise? How would that compare to our experience of Mayor Finch’s claimed ACCOUNTABILITY on education or on finances???

    More authority and power as the Mayor is seeking will do nothing for Bridgeport in getting this Mayor or any future Mayor to be ACCOUNTABLE. The powers granted may give more authority, or formal responsibility, but that is not the same as ACCOUNTABLE! Perhaps if people understood how seriously impaired is the current taxpayer voter in this City with receiving regular, accurate, adequate and meaningful financial data on all fronts (budgets, balance sheets, financial agreements and assumptions regarding obligations as part of the public record), the sitting Charter Review group might produce something of lasting value for the whole City. Time will tell.

    Two more sessions on “Bridgeport Finance 101-102” with new slides produced to respond to audience suggestions. Tuesday, February 21, 2012 6:00 PM at Black Rock Library and Saturday February 25, 2012 at Burroughs Saden – Main Library downtown at 2:00 PM. Come, listen, ask questions. We practice OPEN, ACCOUNTABLE and TRANSPARENT.

  3. Getting back to the fact Newton may have “paid his debt to society,” he can never rectify the violation of the public trust. And thusly doesn’t deserve to be a representative of his “Peeps.”

  4. If Testa wants this thieving buffoon back in office, this thieving buffoon gets back into office. The people of Bridgeport vote the way they are told. The rest are too flipping dumb to get off their ignorant asses and actually go to the polls to effect the change in this municipal madness about which they so loudly complain.

    The man has paid his debt to society. He has EARNED only his freedom from the incarceration he deserved. Paying his debt to society in no way shape or form has EARNED him our trust. Why on earth would we entrust our futures and well being to this dumb-ass idiot who’s only claim to fame is neighborhood popularity?

  5. yahooy, what are your standards for former State Senator Ernest Newton and former Mayor Joe Ganim to run for elected office again? So when a man has paid his debt to society it has no meaning?

    1. Mackey,
      I think Ganim is despicable. The exact standard applies to both thieves. Neither are worthy of the public trust ever again.

      In a perfect world where everyone gets out and votes, neither would be reelected. Since that Utopia does not exist, the political machines will place whomever they want into office.

      It’s definitely not a black or white thing as you imply. Newton and Ganim are both jerks.

  6. *** This story concerning Newton is water under the bridge! Bottom line is he has the right to seek office again whether people like it or not. If the residents vote him back in office then it’s on them after all is said and done! *** WELCOME TO ZOMBIELAND ***

  7. I’m at THE ZOMBIE BAR where everybody–including the pretty waitress–thinks Mojo has an uncanny ability to extract The Truth from the complexity that surrounds our lives.

  8. It’s sad too when a city or a community succumbs to letting a criminal who betrayed their trust in the first attempt are so desperate they are willing to allow him the opportunity to do it again, there must be somebody out there who can outdo this stigma, whatever happened to screw us once, shame on you–screw us twice, shame on all of us? I’m seriously contemplating moving out of Bpt if not CT altogether. I used to love and defended our Great City, now I don’t know. 🙁

  9. rayriv1352:
    Don’t pack your bags. Here’s why: A PRIMARY happens before an election. There might be 3 or more candidates. Nothing is set in stone. The ink is still wet and the pen hasn’t even touched the paper yet. Your hero might appear. Besides, Bridgeport wants you here. Better times are approaching and you can be part of it. Keep your eyes here and watch the story unfold on this blog.

  10. rayriv1352, enjoy wherever you move to. Citizens have every right to run for elective office and if you don’t like them, then vote against them or move away like you feel you need to do.


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