The Budget’s Big Unknown, Plus: Caruso Sermons Bishop (Amen)

The General Assembly session is over! Well, not really. Still a small matter to resolve. The state budget.

Sleep deprivation is on hold until a special legislative session convenes to address Governor Jodi Rell’s budget that calls for basically no new taxes and the Democratic version that will soak pocketbooks with more taxes. That, of course, is what legislative Dems do best … raise taxes. God forbid they should buck the unions, teachers, serial Democratic voters and say enough is enough … we’re already the highest taxed state in the country.

It’s hard to say how the state’s largest city made out in this legislative cycle because the damn budget is not done. So much of what the state does impacts cities and towns with tax bills going out in four weeks. Bean counters in City Hall, including Mayor Bill Finch, must be shaking their heads. The mayor, a former state senator, of course knows what it’s like to spend long nights in Hartford.

But without a a state budget passed, the city budget is one big unknown.

Caruso’s Confessional

State Rep. Chris Caruso is showing big ones putting Bishop Lori in his place after the Diocese of Bridgeport declared it’s beyond registering as a legislative lobbyist. Caruso was quoted in Connecticut Post reporter Ken Dixon’s piece (about a nut job talk-show host in Jersey pinched for threats against two legislators) challenging Lori’s assertion that the Diocese should not be held to the same standard as legislative lobbyists. Kudos Caruso! An excerpt from Dixon’s piece:

Rep. Christopher L. Caruso, D-Bridgeport, a Catholic who has made ethics reforms a key portion of his legislative agenda, said Wednesday it’s clear that the Bridgeport Diocese should have registered as a lobbyist for the March 11 event, since Bishop William E. Lori set up the bus caravans from southwestern Connecticut.

“The law is the law and if an organization expends more than $2,000 then it must register as a lobbyist,” Caruso said in an interview. “In this case the Office of State Ethics did inquire of the Diocese and the Diocese response was to file a lawsuit. I think it’s in the best interests of the Diocese to comply with the law.”

He said that religious institutions have to be held to state ethical standards like any other special interest.

“The law was created to provide full public disclosure on how money is being spent to lobby the Legislature,” Caruso said. “The bishop took it upon himself to spend diocesan money and it’s simply a matter of filing a disclosure.”

Primary in 138th Council District

I’ve heard that the City Council candidates in the 138th District will be incumbent Bob Curwen and city employee Kevin Monks who’ll replace Rich Paoletto. But a primary is coming from Andy Fardy and Ann Barney. Hopefully, Fardy (Town Committee) can fill us up on the district town committee action.

Play Ball

The weekend is approaching and the baseball season is heating up. If you want an enjoyable night with the kids check out our very own Bluefish. Better yet, I have two Bluefish tix for you, but not just any tix. These are located in the Harbor Club elevated behind home plate. If you want them, they’re yours, Friday night June 19 against York Revolution. Be the first to email and I’ll get them to you.

And, don’t forget it’s farm-stand season in the city and the South End is loaded with goodies tonight. Check out

From The Gallery at Black Rock:

This Friday June 5th will be the first Black Rock Artwalk of the season.

At The Gallery at Black Rock it will be closing night for Frank Foster Post’s Ministers of Funk show. Come out and visit us, have a glass of wine!

ALSO just 2 doors down at Port Coffeehouse:
Mike Hurd Memorial Exhibit

Stunning Photographic work by Mike Hurd
Mr. Hurd was taken by cancer about six months ago. Proceeds of the exhibit will go to swim across the sound.
Any Questions give a call, 203.814.6856
All Kinds of great stuff on the avenue from Framemakers to Dayone Skate Shop. Come out and support Black Rocks Art Scene.



  1. The 138th district held its nomination for city council meeting last night. Not unexpectedly the nomination went to Bob Curwen and Kevin Monks. There were 8 people in attendance (Paoletto was not there). The vote was 4 to 3 with one no vote. There was an attempt to have Paoletto’s vote count but that did not fly as he was not in attendance.
    There was one very positive result of this vote that made Ann and I happy and that was receiving the vote from the newest member of the TC who was brought in by Paoletto. We were all asked hard and good questions by this person and based on our answers Ann and I received her vote.
    Members wanted a few days to think about their vote but the district leader said no and seemed in a hurry to get the vote done. Could it be she received her marching orders from city hall?
    The people of the 138th will be seeing us all over the neighborhood and we will be registering many new voters. I am looking forward to this race and know going in Ann and I are beholding to no one and will owe nothing when this is over. We will not be using public funds or donations to run our grass-roots campaign; we will be putting OUR MONEY where our mouth is. I challenge my competition to do the same.

    1. Is that the same Kevin Monks who the BOE had to change his hours because he never could show up on time for work? The same Monks who they had to lay him off and have him transfer to public facilities because the BOE hated him so much? Nice choice 138th!!!

      1. *** That’s the one the 138th DTC voted for! *** Why not T/C & Co. they’ve pretty much made more promises than the Mayor when he ran? *** What’s the story “Jerry”? ***

    2. *** No man is an Island! *** Before you run, you must be able to walk! *** Never make political promises before knowing the facts! *** Talking the talk is one thing, walking it is another! *** Time will tell! *** Good-luck! ***

  2. Interesting article in the Post this morning, a little piece scribed by Susan Silvers. Trumbull’s Water Pollution Control Authority denied Monroe’s request to tap into Trumbull’s (and Bridgeport’s) sewage system. The story went on: “By unanimous vote, the five-member Water Pollution Control Authority said it was denying ‘Monroe’s request to connect to the Trumbull sewer system because it’s not in the best interest of the Trumbull WPCA and the town at this time.’

    “The vote came two weeks after Robert D. Scinto, developer of the proposed JHE site off Main Street in southern Monroe, called for the Trumbull WPCA to name its price to allow the sewer connection. His plans, roughly three years in the making, have stalled amid disagreements between Bridgeport and Trumbull over the length of the existing sewer contract and the fees Trumbull pays to Bridgeport for treating its sewage.”

  3. So–No 2-year Pension payment moratorium for the City.

    What’s next? Layoffs to Police and Fire as were alleged in the newspaper article last week?

  4. The Black Rock arts scene is actually better now than it used to be, dominated as it was by Joe “the devil” Celli and his allegedly non-profit Industrial Performing Arts organization. He’s all gone but the galleries are still there, as are the great grog-and-victual places. Many kudos to Kate and Jerry for opening Port Coffeehouse, the only fair trade coffeehouse in the area. AND they have a gallery.

    1. The Black Rock arts scene is indeed very much alive and well–and growing all the time. The Art Center had very little to do with the visual arts. I’m happy to report that the building’s big “A” “R” & “T” paper window letters have finally been resorted to read “RAT”. (Insert your own Joe Celli jokes here.)

      The Friday art walks are back this week, along with the Mike Hurd memorial photo exhibit at the Port. That’s good news for all the businesses along Fairfield Avenue.

      On Thursday, June 11th, the new art show opens at The Gallery At Black Rock from 6-9PM. “Michael Raleigh’s Greetings From Ghostland” is the show. I have never seen or heard such a web and word-of-mouth buzz about an art show in CT. I’ve been seeing “Greetings From Ghostland” written in sidewalk chalk all over town for the last week or so. The streets and sidewalks were covered with it at Sweetport festival.

      I have a feeling that it’s going to be a very big deal for the local arts scene.

      Mr. Barnum’s Bridgeport To Nowhere

  5. Gossip of The Rialto

    I was up visiting Gregg Dancho at Connecticut’s one and only Beardsley Zoo. It was a real zoo up there and a beehive of activity. Admission prices are so reasonable that you’ll never get stung.

    Beardsley Park was also hopping as the trout were biting, horseshoes being thrown, and walkers talking their talk.

    Finally, a Happy Fourth Anniversary to Lennie and Mo. They are on a Mayflower Pilgrimage across the sea of love.

  6. To all of the bloggers who have questions about the pension payment moratorium, please keep in mind that the budget presented to the council by Mayor Finch did not have the legally mandated payment included in it.
    So from the very get go OPM Director Tom Sherwood and the mayor had no intentions of making this payment and had no back-up plan if the state did not grant this moratorium.
    Don’t get fooled into blaming the state or blaming Stratford for this mess. Also, it has been noted that none of the other cities and towns in the state that bonded for their pension liability and fall under this requirement have requested the relief that Bridgeport feels it is owed.

    Because Bridgeport had a bad budget to begin with for the current fiscal year with revenue estimates off by $16 – $20 million where other towns and cities used union concessions to deal with problems caused by the bad economy, Bridgeport is using it to deal with problems caused by a bad budget.

  7. It is highly doubtful that the legislature will take up Bridgeport’s pension bill unless they can come to some agreement with Stratford and the Republicans. The House will not waste precious time with a controversial bill that benefits only Bridgeport when they have only four weeks left to get a budget. It remains doubtful that they will even have a budget in that time. Bridgeport has no juice in Hartford, as Lennie would say.

    1. It is true, Bridgeport has no juice up in Hartford.

      The pathetic thing is that we do send up elected representatives just like everyone else.

      You know–those guys … uh … what’s their names …?

      1. *** Bpt. has one of the largest legislative groups in Hartford, 8 total. Yet considered for quite some time now as also one of the weakest in political juice overall?
        Personal agendas, seat warming, political indifferences, personality clashes & rumors, or just in over their heads; who knows while looking @ things in general outside the box? ***

  8. No too long ago the City made it clear to anyone who owed taxes to pay up or else. City residents who owed a few hundred bucks on their vehicles received delinquent tax notices and those who did not pay had their vehicles towed away and were forced to pay the taxes, the towing cost and any outstanding traffic tickets. Parking ticket monetary penalties were raised along with hundreds of other fees for permits and licenses. If a vending permit cost was too high for a vendor, too bad you can’t vend.
    Now the City is in a position where–like many towed car owners–it can’t pay. Is the State supposed to feel sorry for folks who had no mercy for the less fortunate? This is not about two hundred bucks. It’s $20 Million we’re talking about here. Jim Himes, help our City with a no-interest loan.

  9. I’m happy to report I went to that fabulous deli on the corner of Capital and Main today, had me a delicious pastrami on rye, and as I enjoyed every bite of it, I wondered if I can trade something and get my next lunch for free. Having a satisfying lunch always makes me feel better as I’m cleaning up piss in disgusting bathrooms while a security guard/boss gets away with thievery.

    1. I see nothing wrong with “Cleaning up piss in disgusting bathrooms”. But while eating lunch?

      Is it true that S.O.B. stands for: Son Of a Bathroom?

  10. The pension losses have occurred in the last 18 months. Who watches the market and our investments for the City for the losses to be so severe? I understand the market has been bad but with the kind of losses we are talking about I have to wonder who was asleep at the wheel and allowed this free fall? I would think that as major financial institutions started failing in the spring of ’08 (the signs were earlier) the City would have taken a look at its exposure. What the heck happened???

    1. Maybe the CEO of the major financial institution was Madoff. Fairfield lost $40 million, but they know where the money went. Bridgeport loses $185 million and they are still clueless as to what went wrong. Maybe Bob Walsh can tell us what he thinks happened.


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