Russo’s Challenger, Plus: Row Your Boat And Shays On Student Loans

In my chat with Democratic Town Chair Mario Testa the other day, one of the tidbits he shared was that it looks like Trumbull Town Treasurer Anthony Musto will be the party endorsed candidate to challenge Republican State Sen. Rob Russo in November.

Musto, an attorney, has been making the rounds to line up support, and after the shellacking that Russo gave the Dems in the special election to fill the seat vacated by Mayor Bill Finch, Mario’s ready to give a Trumbull candidate a try. If Musto doesn’t make it Mario will look for a Bridgeport Dem next time. Endorsements for state legislative offices will take place in May.

Anyone attend the mayor’s open house today? A number of folks that protested Finch’s proposed budget cuts the other day were expected to drop in on his honor.

Nice story today on line at the Connecticut Post about the boat house that Rick Torres, Ed Piquette and Marc Delmonico are readying for the Fairfield University crew team on Knowlton Street to race shells on the Pequonnock River. Their investment is connecting a prestigious university to the city while cleaning up a piece of the riverfront.

Marc, Bridgeport’s Republic town chairman, was one of the guys I jumped into Black Rock Harbor with for the Burroughs Community Center fundraiser a few months ago after Bruce Hubler dared me to take a dip in the freeze. Marc, a Tarzan triathlete, jumped in headfirst while I sorta squatted under. My twins are still in hibernation.

Maybe Marc should challenge his Democratic counterpart Testa to a Bridgeport triathlete special: a marathon run, biking along Saints and Seaside before a swim to Port Jefferson and back. We’ll let Mario ride a moped for the run, a Harley for the bike portion and a speed boat across the Sound.

No absentee ballots.

News release from Chris Shays regarding student loans

Shays Amendment Included in Legislation Ensuring Access to Student Loans

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Christopher Shays (CT-4) voted for H.R. 5721, the Ensuring Continued Access to Student Loans Act, when it passed the House by a vote of 383 to 27 yesterday. The bill authorizes the Department of Education to purchase student loans to fulfill the needs of borrowers, allows an additional grace period to defer PLUS loan repayments until after graduation and raises unsubsidized Stafford loan limits. The bill also includes an amendment Shays offered in February to H.R. 4137, the College Opportunity and Affordability Act, which encourages federal financial institutions to exercise their authority to assist lenders in maintaining student loan availability.

In February, Shays wrote to Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and Education Secretary Margaret Spellings expressing his concern about the availability of student loans in the Federal Family Education Loan Program (FFELP). Shays called on Secretaries Paulson and Spellings to use their authority to ensure uninterrupted access to higher education and guarantee students are not denied access to higher education.



  1. T.K.
    Is there any truth to the rumor that C. Shays is the owner of a real-estate / condo develoment in Bagdad and goes there so often to collect the rents? I think this makes sense as I only see more American blood pouring into Iraq soil, and nothing else happing as a result of Shays trips.

  2. I couldn’t attend the mayor’s event today but someone who was there described his mood to me a bitchy.
    I was told at one point an African-American resident was complaining about the number of highly paid city employees who report to the mayor who live out of town and questioned the mayor about his CAO’s children transferring from Monroe public schools to a magnet school in Bridgeport.
    At one point in the exchange the mayor asked the gentleman if he would like to go back to the days when the white kids went to one school and the blacks went to another. Sounds somewhat inappropriate even to the Grin Reaper.
    Can anyone verify this exchange?

  3. I certainly hope he did not make that statement if he did he had better take a step back and re group. The problem he has is that he is trying o take on the management of the city by himself.
    His aides are bascially useless not for any other reason but the fact that they do not know the city or its residents and even if they did he does not seek any input.
    various areas of city government should be assigned to each member of the mayors staff and these staff members should handled most of the day to day problems. if he has done that then they are not doing their jobs.If he has not done that then he is not doing his job.
    Even when he forms committee like he did for the city economics they met, came out with a report and still no action and no economic Development Director.
    Like it or not testa is the Chairmen of the DTC and has years of political experience. Why not use him to your advantage/ Let him work to keep the political pressure off.
    The mayor is under tremendous pressure with this budget and yet he has not built a consensus on the council nor has he been willing to work on compromises to this budget( his statements confirm this). Again use Testa to work on the political side of this.
    Has he met with Testa yes once for a brief period to congratulate him on winning the DTC. has his staff met with him yes Adam Wood met with him for 1/2 hr and bascially talked in circles.
    Bill this is a tough job. Let those beside your inner circle that want to hel do so. its going to take all the citizens of Bridgeport to turn this city around not just you and your staff.

  4. I feel a little sorry for Finch. I don’t think he or his staff had a clue as to what they were taking on. His staff didn’t because most of them didn’t have any real world experience let alone experience in public administration, government, media relations, public and community relations. It was sort of like hey gang, let’s run a city.The only experience was political and the Mayor’s office should not be political contray to what they think. That job should be left to the DTC or RTC. The Mayor should do the right thing and let the politics take care of themselves. Forget about who did what for who and didn’t vote where. You can’t govern by revenge or blowing through people as your Cheif of Staff thinks you can. You will ultimately lose that game. You’ll be a four year Mayor and what to show for it?

    You are on the right track by addressing the budget problems, the one shot revenue items and the ENRON accounting that was done by the previous adminstration was devestating. Saying that anyone should have known that the books were being cooked before they even got in is like saying people should have anticipated what ENRON did. People also forget that the previous administration had no business reducing the mil rate when they really needed to increase it. Now this admisntration must make up for that shortfall which will affect many budgets into the future. What the Mayor should remember that there are good experienced people already there who are being shut out and made completely ineffective. Let them in before all the good ones leave. Department heads and others are now being told you don’t get to talk to the Mayor anymore. Wood built this wall around him so he couldn’t interact with others even if the Mayor wanted to. People are relagated to suggestion boxes and formal “situations,” where open talk is not possible. Now you have to ask yourself … why is that? What is Wood trying to prevent, how much does he think he can control? It is like Karl Rove. Does Wood not believe in his own boss? Or is Wood arogant enough to believe he knows more about anything than anyone else? Bridgeport needs to heal itself or it will forever be dysfunctional. Is it any wonder that once politicans who have tried to navigate the Brideport waters get sucked down into a vortex of muck and drown.

  5. I think we should start a campaign to get rid of Wood as I to think he is the one screwing things up more than necessary. I know the mayor very rarely returns phone calls and his mail box is full at home. I personally think he is an arrogant jerk.

  6. Wondering, you called at home, I thought he would have an unlisted phone number. What do think would happen if Finch made a Rovianesque like sacrifice and went to Mario, hat in hand, saying ok now how can we work together?

  7. Clichebp I think Mario would welcome the meeting. I dont think Finch would have to go hat in hand. Just make the call. mario is more than willing to work with Finch and handle the day to day political BS which is now tying Finch’s staff in knots.
    What Finch and his staff have to realize is the bunker mentality is not going to work .Finch does not hold a consensus of the council members and could find any legislation he wants to get thru stalled in committee or defeated in a vote.
    A perfect example is the budget, if Finch does not work with Testa and the council his budget will not make it thru as he wants which i think is a good thing. Finch stated that if his budget is not passed as he submitted it he will veto the council version. Well it only takes 14 or 1 votes to override his veto then what. then he looks totally foolish and powerless.

  8. There’s no doubt that Mario will help Finch and he has the experience to give him good advice. I don’t think Finch has to go with hat in hand, I think a simple phone call would do the trick. Wondering, you are right, Mario will definitely do right by him.

  9. Finch should stop drawing lines in the sand because everytime he does the sea comes and washes it away. He is just forced to move farther and farther back, losing more and more ground. He issued an out an challenge to the council. He is saying I am more powerful than you. I don’t have listen to the majority of the council. It is another power play and if he loses, you are right Wondering as to the consequences. Major strike three. He screws up the property tax decision, he tries to force Stafstrom down people’s throat, and now if he tries to force feed the budget on elected officals and the people who elect them he will be out. Everytime you try to run rough shod over people the more they will push back and assert themselves.

  10. I have been reading other blogs (no Names) and the over riding theme on these blogs is the perception that Bridgeport is the same as it was in the 70’s & 80’s.Drugs running rampant, row after row of burnt out houses and the people being out of control. A lot of what is said is racial sterotyping.The blogs are also taliking about crooked politicians and incompetent politicians. Not a positive showing on any of these blogs.
    our problm as I see it is that we do nothing to promote Bridgeport and we are not getting the message out. The development that hs gone on downtown & on State st & on Fairfield Ave have really not been well published outside of the immediate city borders.
    We have not publicized our upgrades or the changes to many of our neighborhoods. Some examples are look at the father Panik neighborhood and all those wonderful well maintained homes, We took a project that was recognized as the worst in the country and turned it into a nice area where working people can live. We have older neighbrohoods where older people spent there lives and intergrated them and watched the neighborhood improve ( I live in one of those), We have built or are building 8 new schools, what other comprable city is doing that. We have the nicest parks on the east coast. i can go on and on.
    if we want Bridgeport to improve further and if we want to get rid of the negative image we need to pressure our politicians to get off their collective asses and move forward. We have had 5 months of inactivity. Everything that should be getting done to move forward is stalled and in its place is political chest thumping and hand wringing .
    1. to the council get off your ass and tell the mayor you will help govern the city as you are the peoples direct representative.
    2. To the mayor stop trying to show you are in charge and start being a leader. Use the tools (peeople) that are available to move this city forward .
    3. To ADAM WOOD stop trying to be a know it all and start learning your job. you bear a responsibility for what is happening to Finch and his administration.You cant even fill empty commissions when you have a large list of volunteers.
    If we dont do something we will be back in the 70’s and 80’s before you know it.


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