Political Advice From MOM, Plus: Is Dick Chicken?

John Gomes is challenging Mayor Bill Finch, his former boss.

Is Gomes’ run for the Democratic mayoral nomination next year sour grapes for getting canned? Or a legitimate campaign to carry out the governmental reforms he proposed as CitiStat chief he says Finch disregarded to protect sacred cows?

Can Gomes raise money? Can he build a campaign organization? What’s his rationale for running? At times like these it’s time to check in with MOM because campaigns are all about Money, Organization and Message. Every candidate must have a rationale for running. Why are you running? Without that the candidate stumbles. In Carolanne Curry, a former Gomes underling also discharged by Finch, Gomes has a seasoned campaign hand who can develop a message and help build a small organization from disaffected former Finch supporters. Gomes is unknown to serial Democratic voters. That’s why he’s starting early. The biggest question is money. Does he have his own to spend? If not, can he raise it? It’s harder to raise money without a public office or platform. No money, no threat to compete.

What does this mean for Finch? For now, nothing. He needs to just move along, raise money for reelection, try to keep the budget in check, hope for an economic turnaround and smile every time a new challenger emerges. There will be more. Traditionally, a large candidate field helps an incumbent facing challenges. Splits up the anti vote. But that also depends who’s part of that large field. The rank and file party vote alone is not large enough to deliver a victory over State Rep. Chris Caruso who ran twice for mayor and lost by an eyelash each time. (Caruso’s gearing up for another run but first things first, reelection to his state seat this year with so far no announced challengers.) Defeating Caruso requires strong party support and lots of money to persuade voters unswayed by the party payroll or the recommendation of party regulars. A large field only becomes problematic for Finch if a candidate with party appeal splits the party-based vote. In the old days, when Republicans were relevant in municipal elections, split Dems meant chaos in a general election. In the current era the Dem primary decides the mayor.

Those who say the mayor has made too many enemies to seek reelection underestimate the personal and political realities. Bill is not a man of wealth, he has a family to support. He’ll seek reelection unless a better opportunity comes along, say a state commissionership. But that’s a large leap of faith based on this year’s gubernatorial election. Today, Caruso’s the only one who stands between Finch and reelection. That does not mean Finch cannot win another term. Depends on a variety of factors that have started taking shape with Gomes’ entry into the candidate pool. Also doesn’t mean another strong candidate cannot emerge. Just ask MOM.

Merrick Says Dick’s Chicken

Check Out Jenny Lind

The 62nd Annual Jenny Lind Competition features twelve sopranos all vying for the title to be the 2010 Barnum Festival Swedish Nightingale!

On Saturday, April 24 starting at 12:45 p.m. at the Salem Lutheran Church in Bridgeport , the Barnum Festival will hold the 62nd Annual Jenny Lind Operatic Competition. Coloratura sopranos from around the nation have been invited to compete to win the distinction of being the “2010 American Jenny Lind.” The winner will be awarded a $2000 cash prize and perform in concert on June 24 at 7:30 p.m. at the Playhouse on the Green with the winner from the Swedish annual choral competition. In July, the American winner will travel to Sweden for a two-week concert tour. This annual event is sponsored by the Barnum Festival with support from the Norden Club and the Barnum Museum.

Twelve young women ages 20 to 30 have been invited to compete on April 24 as semi-finalists. They will perform before a live audience and a panel of judges. The competitors include two from Connecticut, Alyssa Bowlby of Norwalk and Jennifer Caraluzzi of Bethel. Both have competed in this prestigious event before. The ten other competitors are: Sarah Ann Mitchell of Brookline MA, Kimberly Soby of Newton MA, Siri Howard of New York NY, Samantha Pruyn Guevrekian of Long Beach NY, Erike Buchholz of Woodside NY, Halley Gilbert of Union City NJ, Vedrana Kalas of Delmar NJ (born in Bosnia), Phoenix Gayles of Temple Terrace FL, Diana Farrell of Cleveland OH and Sarah Butler of Milwaukee WI. There were 22 applicants for this year’s competition and they each aspire to a career in opera. Most have already had professional performance experience. Each soprano will sing a selection of her choice followed by a piece chosen by the judges. Opera lovers will enjoy listening to gems of the opera repertoire, with distinctly different voices, and can challenge themselves to “pick the winner.”

In the 1850s, P.T. Barnum presented the beautiful Jenny Lind and her unique and glorious soprano voice to American audiences. The yearlong tour began with more than 40,000 people gathering at the docks in New York to greet Jenny Lind, no doubt lured by Barnum’s press manipulation. Jenny Lind created a sensation in America during her tour and soon became known as “the Swedish Nightingale.”

In 1949, a competition was started to find vocal artists in both Sweden and America who were most representative of the voice of Jenny Lind. The competition has continued each year since.

What: Jenny Lind Competition – the only classical music event of The Barnum Festival

Where: Salem Lutheran Church, 3160 Park Avenue, Bridgeport CT

When: Saturday, April 24, 2010

12:45 p.m. Welcome and Introductions

1 p.m. Competition begins with short break at 2 p.m.

3:10 p.m. Judges deliberate.

3:30 p.m. Finalists perform if requested

4 p.m. Announcement of Winners. 2010 Barnum Festival Ringmaster Tom Santa will present the awards.

Who: Anyone interested in music or in supporting The Barnum Festival

Cost: No charge

For more information contact The Barnum Festival at 203-367-8495 or toll free at 866-867-8495 or on the web at: www.barnumfestival.com

From Discovery Museum

Discovery Museum Energy Exhibit Opens

In keeping with its commitment to educate the community about energy efficiency and the importance of sustaining our planet, The Discovery Museum and Planetarium has opened a new, permanent energy exhibit. The huge electrical outlet that dominated the museum’s electrical exhibit since the 1980s is gone, and an exciting, hands-on exhibition, with interactive dioramas and videos, lights up the museum’s upper level. The kiosks feature fossil fuel, wind power, hydro power, solar power, renewable energy, energy efficiency and energy conservation. The exhibit is sponsored by The Connecticut Energy Efficiency Fund. It is included in the cost of general admission.

In the new energy exhibit, visitors can participate in the generation, transmission and conservation of both renewable and non-renewable energy under the twinkling red lights of a simulated energy grid. They can see first hand how different sources produce the electricity that is transmitted to homes and businesses. At one station a train carrying coal moves across a diorama, whistling loudly as it chugs along. In other areas, flames roar and water cascades as visitors rotate giant controls. One large interactive wall offers guests the opportunity to choose traditional appliances or Energy Star appliances and see how their choices affect energy costs. The museum’s Executive Director, Jeffrey N. Bishop, said “This exhibit exemplifies how The Discovery Museum can educate as well as entertain visitors about important issues. It is so visually beautiful, that guests are immediately drawn in.” Bishop went on to say that “The exhibit is state-of-the-art. With its new technology, it’s possible to update the digital videos, so the exhibit info won’t ever have outdated information.” A young visitor treated to a sneak preview reacted to the exhibit more simply, “It’s awesome!”

Connecticut Energy Efficiency Fund is a program created by the Connecticut legislature to promote efficient energy use, save residents and businesses money on their electric bills, promote economic development, reduce electric demand and help reduce air pollution. UI and CL&P administer the fund through conservation programs that serve residential, commercial and industrial customers as well as low- and fixed-income residents and municipalities. For more information on energy efficiency, please visit www.uinet.com or www.cl-p.com, or call 1-877-WISE USE (947-3873).

The Discovery Museum and Planetarium was founded in 1958 and opened to the public in 1962. It is southern Connecticut’s preeminent non-profit educational resource for science and space education. It is located at 4450 Park Avenue, Bridgeport, CT, one mile south of Merritt Parkway Exit 47, directly across from the Fairchild Wheeler Golf Course. Daily admission to the Discovery Museum is $8.50 for adults and $7 for children over 5, seniors and students with I.D.’s. A variety of membership levels are available. Memberships include participation in the Association of Science-Technology Centers’ popular passport program. The ASTC passport program provides free general admission to more than 290 participating museums and science centers in over a dozen countries with the caveat that the passport applies only to centers outside a 90-mile radius of the museum of membership. Regular museum hours are Tuesday through Saturday 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM and Sunday 12:00 PM to 5:00 PM. The museum is open on Mondays throughout July and August. It will be closed on July 4. For more information call (203) 372-3521 or visit www.discoverymuseum.org



  1. Even if Gomes can’t win (and I’m not convinced of that) his candidacy will HURT, not help Finch. Once Gomes starts to talk about his CitiStat recommendations–which were ignored by Finch to protect the sacred cows–the voters will begin to see the truth. This will only strengthen Caruso.

    Did you see Finch’s letter in The Post today? Ruined my morning coffee. More lies. He said he reduced jobs. The only jobs he reduced were those that provided services to the citizens. Let’s not forget the school-based health centers and the dental hygiene clinics he took away from our kids. WIC is next. What about all those NAGE workers who were laid off? The police dept was virtually crippled by this. Now they have cops doing clerical work. What sense does that make? All this while Finch INCREASED the mayor’s staff and CitiStat with friends of his wife and political cronies. He even created a position for Ramon Larracuente. STOP LYING MAYOR FINCH BECAUSE WE ARE ON TO YOU.

  2. *** Merrick Alpert’s campaign chicken commercial can only backfire on him in time. It’s clear he brings nothing to the table of good issues debating by this kind of political humor. I guess he needs to get better known in Conn. by lowering himself & campaign with tasteless chicken humor! Let’s hope R.B. doesn’t even comment on this cry for attention commercial! ***

  3. While I approve of Mayor Finch’s letter to The Post (he continues to have the toughest job in America, he makes more decisions by noon than most OIB bloggers make in a week!), I disapprove of Merrick Alpert’s continued demands of AG Blumenthal who complied to accepted protocol by debating Alpert once. Blumenthal must think Alpert is poultry-in-motion. Mojo is right, that chicken stunt will backfire on Alpert. But lighten up …

    Here’s a cool idea Bridgeport can adopt/steal now–it’s totally GREEN and might appeal to The Mayor. Local Eyes thinks Bridgeport’s RR station is a developer’s dream with a truckload of nearby blighted buildings ripe for revitalization … say YAY-YUH, bay-bee.

    www .ctpost.com/local/article/Village-plan-evolving-for-area-around-Stratford-453101.php <– GET your village on!

  4. THE ONLY PURPOSE of this post is to REPOSITION Bridgeport’s RR Station for the sole purpose of attracting a worthy developer anxious to tap into one of the most lucrative & stable markets in America: housing for fast-track professionals made possible by its proximity to the railroad.

    Donald Eversley, take note.

  5. Finch has reduced jobs–the wrong jobs. It seems the little guy usually is the first to get squeezed, while the administration continues to create positions at the top of the salary bracket.

    He may be successful in spinning the creation of jobs, but Bpt residents are still waiting for their promised $600 tax cut. Good luck on spinning that one.


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