Speedy Gonzalez Withdraws Sheriff Candidacy–Finch Campaign Demands Apology For Adoption Remark–Foster Camp Responds

UPDATE: Former City Councilman Joel “Speedy” Gonzalez is quick on the trigger when posting comments on OIB, and the Finch campaign has taken notice. Speedy cut off the tip of his trigger finger in 1994 protesting the state’s gun lobby on the steps of the state capitol, a painful symbolic gesture that generated national attention. Joel has also generated attention from A Better Connecticut, a political action committee supporting Mayor Bill Finch’s reelection, in a video questioning Joel’s run for city sheriff on the slate headed by Democratic mayoral candidate Mary-Jane Foster.

Joel announced today (Thursday) he will step down as a candidate for city sheriff because he doesn’t want to be a distraction in the campaign. The Finch campaign has fired back, demanding an apology from Foster, after a comment Joel posted on OIB about Finch who was adopted by his parents. Foster Campaign Manager Jason Bartlett was also adopted. In a statement Bartlett returns fire on Finch to stick to the issues. From the Finch campaign:

Dear Mary-Jane Foster:

We are writing you today to demand a public apology from you and your entire ticket for the cruel and offensive comment regarding adopted children made by the candidate for Sheriff you chose for your slate–Joel Gonzalez. These disparaging comments directed at Mayor Finch made on August 7 on a local blog are completely unacceptable, and to choose someone who would make such comments clearly call into question your judgment in character. While the public understands that we are in the middle of an election campaign, disparaging comments like these, that impact all adopted children in families across every neighborhood of this city, cannot and will not be tolerated.

Approximately 120,000 children are adopted each year in the United States. Adoption helps many of these children to grow up in permanent families rather than in foster homes or institutions. We do not know why the members of your slate think being adopted is something that should be disparaged, but I am proud of the fact that I was adopted and raised by two wonderful loving parents in Bridgeport and Dulce has adopted two children and is in the process of adopting a third. Many children in the City of Bridgeport live as foster children and many of them hope for the permanency and the stability adoption will bring them.

On behalf of all those in the adoption community, we hope that you will issue an apology and refrain from such derogatory comments in the future.

The comment made is below for your review and was posted on www.onlyinbridgeport.com

Joel Gonzalez // Aug 7, 2011 at 9:42 pm

Lennie are you trying to say that Bill Finch is getting sued? He is the only “Bastard” involved here. As far as I know everyone else involved can account for their real parents.


Bill Finch
Mayor, City of Bridgeport 

Dulce Nieves
Coordinator for Children in Placement

(she advocates for abused and neglected children who are misplaced or need to be adopted)

Response from Foster campaign:

Foster Campaign Responds to Finch re: Blog Posting: Stick to the Issues

The Foster for Bridgeport campaign released the following statement today:

“Mr. Gonzalez informed the campaign two days ago that he would be resigning from the slate of candidates so as not to become a distraction,” stated Jason Bartlett, campaign manager. “At the direction of the Secretary of State’s office, we were advised to wait until the petition period was over before accepting the resignation.

Sure enough, in the absence of having something substantive to say about the real issues facing Bridgeport, Mayor Finch is fanning the flames about a blog posting, for which Mr. Gonzalez has already apologized.

For the record, I was adopted and am completely secure in knowing that biology does not define family. The mayor’s response to this incident speaks volumes about his lack of willingness to address the real and serious challenges facing his city–high unemployment, high crime, and even higher taxes.

Let’s stick to the issues and recognize that comments made on blogs do not constitute an official statement by the candidate. If that were the case, then former police spokesperson Tim Quinn’s offensive racial remarks a few months ago could be assigned to the mayor. Mr. Quinn resigned. Mr. Gonzalez has resigned. Let’s get on with the business of who has the vision and ability to move Bridgeport forward.”



  1. Hmmm, although I was not happy at all with Joel running he sure does not have to take his name off the ticket, but I think a stronger candidate will help Foster. Joel is not my main problem on my ticket, it is who she has on town clerk who I do not like. I will split my ticket when it comes to that race.

  2. Does anyone think a solid 10,000 Democrats will come out? I am so surprised no one is running for Registrar of Voters smh!!! That is a race where I would sure not vote for the current registrar of voters, I still remember November like it was yesterday.

  3. Ain’t politics great? If there are a few names on the ticket I don’t agree with I won’t vote for them. Despite the attention focused on Joel and Tito by the YouTube spot I think the Finch campaign has bigger problems to deal with. Credibility is one issue. The mayor’s letter asking for the appointment of a member of the Hispanic community to the reconstituted BOE came a day or two late and at least a dollar short. (That shouldn’t be a problem. There’s always Bill Beccaro’s purseful of magic coins.) And his recent bout of hoof-in-mouth disease angered many in the Hispanic community. Really now, Mr. Mayor. Do you really believe many of the parents of school-age children are disenfranchised because of questionable immigration status or previous criminal histories?

  4. Lennie, you have a way of putting words together. I am in a state of ‘Emergency Brakes.’ This Democratic Primary (there will be one) is the most important one of all primaries. The stakes are just too high (nothing to do with heroin) for me to just consider my own political ambitions while ignoring those of Mary-Jane Foster. I will not allow anyone, let alone Bill Finch, to use my past or present to take cheap shots at Mary-Jane Foster.

    Team Finch’s plan of distraction may just backfire on them. I promise I will instead give Team Finch good reasons to be distracted, but it will be done with clear facts. Dropping out of the ticket does not mean I won’t be campaigning for team Mary-Jane. It means for calling me and my friends “the worst of the establishment,” I will do everything to be Team Finch’s worst nightmare. I don’t see my withdrawal from the Mary-Jane Foster ticket as “hitting the brakes,” I see it as taking a digit for the team.

    1. Well spoken, sir. You are to be commended for humility and focusing on the greater good.

      The Finch camp is vulnerable on several issues …

      • The $600 tax credit that never materialized. Mr. Finch offered it knowing full well it would require the acquiescence of the state legislature, which wasn’t forthcoming. Even after an attorney employed by his administration advised him against it.

      • The land-swap-for-magnet-school deal that nearly went belly up because of Finch’s intransigence.

      • The announcement the state would take control of the BOE, a decision made unilaterally without consulting the parents of students in Bridgeport’s public schools. They have a vested interest in the management of the public education system. Attempting an end run around their due process rights is just plain wrong.

      • Defending his decision by saying the parents’ disenfranchisement can be put down to the fact many of them have questionable immigration status and/or criminal records that prevent them from voting. “Democracy doesn’t work, it doesn’t work in all cases,” he said. More than 38% of all Bridgeport residents are of Hispanic descent, 48% of all children attending the city’s public schools, so this pissed off a lot of people.

      • Writing to Acting Education Commissioner George Coleman asking him to appoint a Latino to the BOE came a little too late. It appears to be a cover-your-ass memo more than a serious request.

      • Then there’s the matter of that so-called “political action committee” (also known as “How to launder $46,056.37 in unused campaign funds without really trying”). People for Excellence in Government, the ironically named PAC, was founded by William Beccaro, an attorney hired by Mr. Finch as a legal consultant for the city. Last year Beccaro earned in the neighborhood of $91,000 as a contractor for the city’s legal department. From 2008 ’til now People for Excellence in Government has reimbursed Mr. Finch, his chief of staff Adam “Pecker” Wood and their wives for thousands of dollars for hotel accommodations, meals, travel expenses and shopping trips to Waldenbooks, Barnes & Noble, the Big Y and TJ Maxx. Finch and Wood patronized many of Bridgeport’s finest restaurants on Mr. Beccaro’s coin. (Wood was reimbursed $7,378.79 for his appetite.) At best many of the reimbursements are questionable in light of state campaign finance laws. At worst it looks like a case of money laundering, which is a federal offense. Mr. Finch responded to the blooming scandal by saying the formal complaint filed with the city’s ethics commission and the State Elections Enforcement Commission by a Foster campaign staffer are “an attack by a floundering campaign.”

    2. Joel, we don’t always agree with each other; this time I gotta give it to you. I AM HIGHLY IMPRESSED … you are to be commended, sir. (The digit thing was a little over the top.) Now just a bit of friendly advice. Think twice then post, not for you, you be you. But if it’s a campaign issue let those who do that, do that. Just advice you can take or not, in any event nice move.

    1. A Foster victory would not automatically remove the machine from the day-to-day operations of City Hall. Mario Testa has managed to put too many stooges on the municipal payroll. Let’s not forget more than a few of the faces on the City Council owe their positions on that august body to Mr. Testa. The only way to get rid of them is to field an opposition candidate at the appropriate time. But the day is fast approaching when Mario Testa’s unfettered access to the Mayor’s office is no more.

      This particular mayoral campaign is more about good old-fashioned politicking, meeting and greeting the public, gathering endorsements, etc. The sleazy methods employed by the ward heelers of the DTC and Mario Testa–manipulation of absentee ballots (amazing how many dead people rise from the grave to vote), rounding up all the drunks and drug addicts and carting them to the polls–are coming to an end. It’s not just a game, and it never was. The city’s future is at stake.

      1. Mario Testa and Paul Timpanelli had no problem waltzing into City Hall and firing a very large number of highly skilled and well experienced dedicated city employees who happened to disagree with their politics or were in positions that Testa and Timpanelli wanted filled by their own highly incompetent cronies.

        I hope MJF turns Gomes loose and he gets rid of all of these patronage putzes and rehires the very people who can manage our city’s affairs effectively … regardless of their political loyalties.

  5. I like Joel. He has a terrific sense of humor and is not as dumb as he looks (joke)! I don’t see how a lower position like sheriff really matters. I can name names of DTC-endorsed candidates for sheriff who were questionable–more so than Joel. But the important thing is we win this election. And if Joel is hurting those chances, then he should step down for the good of the ticket. I know Joel will do the right thing because he is a good person. Thanks, Joel.

  6. Wow. Okay then I say Joel appears to have his eyes on the prize and not on his own personal gain. That it’s just about as anti-machine as things get. Amazingly good form Joel, Bravo! I am not one of those who thinks Joel would not make a good Sheriff, and if he drops off of the ticket to help the greater good, that action speaks volumes about his ability to do a great job motivated by the heart not the wallet.

  7. Joel, your statements alone prove you are in this because you want to make a difference. Your heart is in the right place. Perhaps you’re guilty of a fast-draw remark or two, but who isn’t? I think it is very sad if you leave; heart, honestly and dedication are rare to find in the political world–that alone makes you a good candidate in my book. A sheriff serves legal papers, why isn’t Joel qualified to do that? If he leaves, Bill and Adam score a victory; we have proven they are right. I just don’t see leaving as a good thing.

  8. I’m still trying to get my ears around the point of the Finch campaign denouncement of the Gonzalez comment.

    Being called a bastard in Bridgeport politics used to be the least of it. I might be in need of a sensitivity transplant or something.

    Joel’s comments were dopey, and reflect poorly on Gonzalez. They do not in any way reflect badly on Mayor Finch.

    I guess raising the issue by the Finch campaign puts the spotlight on the comment more and the dopeyness of it. Maybe it has some benefit. Liberals seem to get bent by this more than average joes and jills.

    It’s just it is the kind of ersatz piety that is so unbecoming in Bridgeport politics, like that imbroglio involving the telephone call between Walsh and Brantley.

    Guess the mayor really believes it. That’s a plus, campaigning on what you believe in. Gives the press a headline, the media something to blab about. And it gets attention for a day off the budget, the Board of Ed, public safety, economic development, and other stuff.

    It’s a five-week beast to fill with information and misinformation before the primary.

    Yeah, I guess it’s a good thing. Might as well spear that bastard Gonzalez for being a dope. Two points Finch.

  9. We’re forgetting the biggest reason why Finch is attacking Joel.

    He can’t run on his record, so he’s taking down MJF and those associated with her.

  10. I agree Joel’s comment was inappropriate, and I was taken aback by it when he posted it, but to send a letter to the MJF campaign demanding an apology–and send out a press release about it–is a little over the top, don’t you think? Kind of like grasping at straws. This coming from a man who greeted the first black President of the United States with “Guess who’s coming to dinner!”

    1. Finch is demanding an apology because his itty bitty feelings were hurt. Man up, tough guy! Word has it your staff doesn’t respect women personally or professionally. You have allowed disparaging comments from a newcomer to City Hall who can’t find his ass if both hands were in his back pocket and has the vocabulary of a sand-maggot.
      He replaced a great woman and made lewd comments about her professionally and personally. No one from your administration has attempted to make an apology to her and he is still working and collecting a paycheck. So much for not tolerating discriminatory remarks. This woman still stays loyal to your administration–can’t figure that one out because I’d be filing with the EEOC. If it were the other way around, he’d be pulling out the race card. Hey Finch, why don’t you quit hiding under your desk and do the right thing–GET INVOLVED INSTEAD OF BEING MIA. Oh sorry, that’s your MO. You or immediate staff don’t know first thing about loyalty, discipline, respect or dedication to the people of Bridgeport. Your people in city hall may reside in Bpt but only true Bridgeporters LIVE here. SEMPER FI TO THE PEOPLE AND THE CITY OF BRIDGEPORT!!!

  11. Joel is an idiot who never should have been put on MJ’s slate. His comment was as low as it gets. My hope is John Gomes coming onboard can balance the scale of the Joels, Titos and Ernies.

  12. I think Mayor Finch is an asshole, period. I’ve made my dislike for him abundantly clear on this blog. I’ve also chosen to maintain independence from any and all political organizations in this town by registering as unaffiliated. That is a right guaranteed under the US Constitution, as is freedom of speech.

    Mr. Gonzalez’s remark was inappropriate when viewed in a certain light. For the mayor to demand an apology from the Foster campaign is absurd, just another attempt to deflect attention from a mayoral record completely lacking in any positive accomplishments. Mr. Finch and his chief of staff have proven time and time again they only care for their paychecks and their privilege, not about the welfare of the people of the city of Bridgeport. When the mayor did an end run around the people’s right to due process it showed he was woefully insensitive to and out of touch with their concerns. When the people of the city of Bridgeport expressed outrage at his unilateral decision to ask the state to take over the BOE, Mr. Finch’s response was to say many of the parents of school-aged children in Bridgeport are unable to participate in the democratic process because of questionable immigration status and/or criminal records. And yet he has the audacity, the unmitigated gall to demand an apology because someone called him a bastard.

    I don’t know about your pedigree, Mr. Mayor. In my humble opinion you are a lying sack of shit.


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