The Candidates Are Coming, Plus: Bucks For Bridgeport

I love the strategic dynamics of primaries. They’re so much different than general elections, especially a high turnout presidential cycle when you know people are voting. You can have more votes than the opponent on primary day and still lose. You can catch the opponent napping, you can out hustle him with a stronger vote-day operation.

We’re just six weeks away from primary day Aug. 12 and we have a whole bunch of them taking form, from congress, to state senate to state representative.

One year ago at this time, Bill Finch was working party pols to line up votes for endorsement by the Democratic Town Committee that walked away from John Fabrizi because they feared arch-enemy Chris Caruso would win the mayoralty and powerwash the political establishment into the Pequonnock River. Finch’s polling showed him 10 points behind Caruso. Donors threw money at Finch because they were terrified of the prospects of a Caruso mayoralty. Finch outspent Caruso two to one, and it was just enough to squeeze past Caruso’s myopic message: I’m honest and the other side is corrupt … education, taxes, economic development be damned. In the end Caruso was preaching to the choir–he already had the so-called reform votes–and needed to persuade, just a little, voters suspicious of his message. In the end, Caruso lost. Finch didn’t win.

I don’t expect Caruso to have much trouble defeating City Councilman Carlos Silva on Aug. 12. Caruso is super popular in his legislative district, as results showed in his race against Finch. Caruso had voter issues in other parts of the city. I don’t expect Jim Himes to have much trouble defeating verbal slinger Lee Whitnum, the winner to face Congressman Christopher Shays. I’m more interested in the kind of race the Himes campaign runs such as alliance building leading up to the primary.

But there are a number of races to watch, including the battle royal pitting State Rep. Bob Keeley and former City Council member from Black Rock Auden Grogins. Both are working hard, both are strong personalities and both provoke strong opinions.

On paper the Democratic primary between endorsed candidate Anthony Musto, the Trumbull town treasurer and Marilyn Moore, former legislative aide to State Sen. Ed Gomes, is advantage Musto. Moore is from Bridgeport. Can she build coalitions outside the party apparatus supporting Musto to take advantage of the city’s Democratic registration advantage over Trumbull and Monroe? Both are busy raising money to spend heavily in the final weeks.

Other races for state representative to watch include State Rep. Andres Ayala trying to fend off party endorsed Lydia Martinez, who had once occupied his seat. And then there’s the trifecta battle in the lower half of the city. City Councilman Eze Santiago has most of the seasoned pols supporting him and is the favorite to carry the district. But party veteran Chico Rivera, who knows the area well, and unorthodox newcomer Sly Salcedo, who fought the government’s war on drugs in the Navy and says it’s a sham, are mounting spirited challenges.

Get ready everyone. Here come the candidates.

It’s called power of incumbency. A news release from Christopher Shays.

Commerce, Justice, Science Appropriations Act Clears Full Committee with $1.5 Million for Fourth District

Projects for Bridgeport and Stamford

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Christopher Shays (CT-4) announced the Fiscal Year 2009 Commerce, Justice and Science Appropriations Act, which cleared the full House Appropriations Committee June 25, and includes $1.5 million for key projects in the Fourth Congressional District. Funding will support work in Bridgeport and Stamford and is supported by the Mayors in each City.

“This is a great next-step for improvements throughout our District,” Shays said. “These projects will help us improve security and after-school programs in the district. The appropriations process is a long one and I will continue to work to secure this funding.”

“I thank Congressman Shays on behalf of all Bridgeport residents for these important funds for our lighthouse after-school program and the Fresh Start Re-Entry program,” stated Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch. “Our Lighthouse after-school programs keep kids safe, help working families and improve academic achievements. These federal funds will help the children of our city continue to be active in these vibrant programs and provide important resources for ex-offenders to re-enter the workforce and community life.”

“In a post 9/11 world, the interoperability of emergency response systems is critical to ensuring public safety,” Stamford Mayor Dan Malloy said. “Stamford is grateful to Congressman Shays for his leadership on this issue.”


Lighthouse After-School Program: $500,000

For operating support of its summer and after-school program that will include a partnership with the State Department of Environmental Protection under its “No Child Left Inside” program. Between 2005 and 2008, we have secured $912,550 in funding for this program.

Fresh Start Community ReEntry Program: $300,000

To fund creative employment and training solutions for ex-offenders returning to the Bridgeport Community. The funding will also fund the research component to identify exemplary employment and training practices for ex offenders. We have received a total of $450,000 for this program since 2003.

Fresh Start provides pre-release planning, post-release community support, housing, and creative employment and training solutions for released prisoners.

Yale University is currently evaluating the effectiveness of the pilot and to further ramp up Fresh Start Enterprises, the Delancey Street Foundation-like business development entity that is creating ex-offender employment through micro-businesses.



  1. Repost from yesterday’s topic: Why I’m supporting Keeley

    Keeley just got $500,000 for Ellsworth Field. He opposed the Downtown Juvenile Detention Center that Finch and friends supported. He has also always responded when I have called him on neighborhood issues. Beyond that, I have yet to hear a persuasive arguement as to why Grogins, given her past performance and close ties to Finch, would be a better representative for the district.

    Finally, and for me most importantly, Keeley was there for us last summer, so I will be there for him this summer.

    After all, the reality is that all these state rep. primaries, have very little to do with issues and everything to do with power struggles within the Democratic Party.

  2. The candidates are coming … reminds me of Three Dog Night, Eli’s coming, hide your heart. May be too late when most pols in this city sell their soul for 15 minutes of fame.

    Anyway, after all the running and ranting, the only signs that will prevail in B’port will be the foreclosure signs and for sale signs. (Can I vote for Raveis?)

    Let’s hear the candidates from Himes on down, talk about constructive plans for B’port and not how good they are and how bad the other guy/gal is.

    Change begins at home, with Obama or McCain. Let’s clean up our act and put some people in place who can move us forward.

  3. Yesterday’s Barnum Festival Parade was stupendous!!! Excellent weather, terrific bands, floats and marchers. A tip o’ the hat to all the volunteers and participants who produced such a wonderful event. It was a great day to be a Bridgeporter!

  4. I’m in agreement with John from Black Rock. I just addressed them in the previous post page. Feel free to rant or rave.

    And a tip o’ the hat to flubadub for reminding us.
    Heard Keeley had quite a few peeps on his lawn. Also heard Finch didn’t like who he saw.

  5. Keeley is going to win the primary handily Why? He has a loyal dedicated following of people who actually get out and vote. Grogins is #1: Thoroughly unqualified, by record of accomplishment and #2: She hasn’t got the foggiest idea of how to muster enough new voters to prevail. That’s the continuing saga of Bridgeport…all of the dilettantes that have put us where we are repeatedly returned to office by the few who vote.

    Keeley doesn’t deserve the public trust. He is a parasite. He has been a “do nothing pol” for his entire career. $500k for Ellsworth field is remarkable He should be inducted into the All Time Hall of Fame. What about all of the other money that could have been earmarked to Bridgeport but went to Hartford and New Haven instead. In case you haven’t noticed, Bob, you are put into office so that we can get our fair share of the state pie. The other group of Bridgeport pols haven’t figured that out either.

    Caruso is likely to be returned to his seat (reinforced) in the state house despite his amateurish primary campaign and his fractured attempt at litigation. These reason, alone, should be sufficient cause to put someone else in his office. But, thanks to Moonbeam’s incredibly clueless attempt at being mayor, Chris is looking not so bad after all.

    We have got to adopt the Stamford NO MORON rule quickly. Stamford implemented the rule at the insistence of some of the most powerful CEOs in the country. The CEOs’ message was clear…”We are not going to invest one dime in this town until we are assured that the municipal and political infrastructure will act in a straightforward manner. In other words…Pay For Play needs to disappear. I wonder what would happen if we had a CEO make the same suggestion. We did. Scinto came into town looking for things to do and was basically told to “Stick it Up his Shelton”. He did. Look what happened up there.

    I hope there are some apathetic voters out there who read this. I would like you to vote. Vote in the primary. Vote in the general. But Vote. Just maybe if we can get people interested in voting, we may be able to get some good people interested in running.

    Otherwise we are stuck with the Keeleys.

  6. We have got to adopt the Stamford NO MORON rule quickly.

    STFU with this nonsense. There are morons, assholes, crooks, addicts, and drunks elected at every level in Stamford. They just never go to jail down there.

  7. In today’s CT Post we have the reason why the high rise condominium development on the Remington property has come to a halt. It is reported that the most important part of the development is the proposed marina and that has been stopped because it infringes on Oyster beds in that area. Oy veh, I say. So now we not only have inept politicians to deal with but f*&%@#g oysters too.

  8. Con

    The whole thing smells a little fishy to me.


    I agree completely with Yahooy. There may be shitheads and the like in Stamford mucking up certain parts of the political activities. But, where it counts…Stamford shines in economic development. Zoning, engineering, transportation etc. All operating at peak efficiency to ensure that a CEO will be attracted to the town without worrying about counting his fingers after shaking hands with the mayor.

    Even with Saint Ganim (Prisoner #1021828) we could have had some pretty good stuff move into Bridgeport. In case you haven’t noticed, Stamford is full, Norwalk is just about full…guess what’s left?

    Not under Moonbeam et al’s watch.

    I have to be honest with you, marlys, I have read a lot of your stuff. I don’t think you are as enlightened at you may think.

  9. This Salcedo guy seems to be a good example of what Yahooy is talking about. He’s an unconnected citizen fed up with business as usual and has tossed his hat into the ring. All I know about him is that he was a naval officer and is an attorney. That’s not too shabby. They don’t pass out military commissions to just anyone. I’m so so on the lawyer part. After all, Stafstrom is a lawyer.

  10. Dumbass quote of the week…

    “My friends, we live in the greatest country in the history of the world. I hope you’ll join with me as we try to change it.”

    Barack Obama

  11. I can not see why anyone would vote for Audin Grogins. She has done nothing as a city council person and as a member of the BOE she was a waste. She was the president of the BOE and was the leader of that spend crazy group. The dropout rate increased as did the number of consultants hired during her time on the BOE.
    There is another reason she is running and wants to win. She will have direct access to the people that can help her get what she always wanted and that’s a judgeship. Another warning sign for Black Rock should be the reemergence of Pat Crossin working on her campaign.

  12. Tale of Two Cities

    People of Faith reported that Keeley earned an A rating.
    Meanwhile DebraLee Hovey, who can’t multiply, of Monroe received an F.

    Wondering is right about Grogins. We can’t afford her record on a learning curve.

    Keep the Faith with Keeley
    Count on Mount

  13. I received a six-panel flyer for Robert Russo in the mail today. I think that is lengthy for someone who was there for 10 years, let alone two months. He devotes a large amount of space to the last-minute Republican Budget which the Republicans attemped to attach to the Real Estate Conveyance tax at the eleventh hour. Which means he voted to take ONE MILLION DOLLARS away from Bridgeport, not to mention the $200K in Monroe and approx. $350K from Trumbull. If that revenue was taken away from the cities and towns additional cuts to services would have been necessary.

    In the flyer his opinion as to the helpfulness of the Republican Budget was extremly flawed and not viable. Here’s why. First of all, due to a mounting state deficit, the Governor at the outset ignored the entreaties of towns and others and refused to negotiate making adjustments to the $18.5 billion 2009 budget passed last year. The projected deficit for the current year is now estimated at $80 million, and that budget’s aid to municipalities, as it is, falls far short of the needs of towns to meet risings costs for energy, insurance, and education. Early in the session the General Assembly’s Appropriations Committee held extensive public hearings and crafted a responsible budget proposal that responded to the needs of towns. The Appropriation’s budget, while $100 million less than the current budget signed by the Governor last year, nevertheless increased municipal aid, which would have helped to keep from increasing our property taxes. That proposal also restored Early Reading Success funding, and provided additional critical funds to improve nursing homes.

    However, the Governor stated that there would be no adjustments to the $18.5 billion 2009 budget passed last year. She stated that she would veto any legislation that had a fiscal impact (thereby dooming the budget approved by the Appropriations Committee). The projected deficit for the current year is now estimated at $80 million, and that budget’s aid to municipalities falls far short of the needs of towns to meet risings costs for energy, insurance, and education.

    His assertion that the Republican proposal would have saved the State money is flawed, based on historical data. His statement relied on alleged savings from an Early Retirement Incentive Program to more than 11,000 state employees. Early-retirement proposals have been tried before, the last one in 2003. Facts indicate that they saved little, if any, money over the long term. In some cases the state ended up hiring back employees while still paying them their full retirement benefits. In other cases, critical positions went unfilled. Nearly every neutral observer and Governor Rell agrees that the previous early retirement program left state agencies even less productive and effective. The Governor stated that “Many people do not believe the early retirement plan really saves money in the long run.”

    That’s just for starters.

  14. Enlightened… lol. I’ll leave that to Saint Yahooy. Maybe you can read more of my stuff when… I write more stuff.

    I’m not going to toot Finch’s horn, but I’ll wait until somebody plugs up the Hole In the Ground before I buy that the Stamford government is full of geniuses.

  15. It is difficult to dispute MCAT’s facts as a layman who is not privy to the comings and goings of the Legislature. I hope that Rob Russo is reading this blog and will respond to MCAT’s version of the facts. I’m sure that there is a good explanation, because if there is anything our governor has, it is fiscal frugality. – Our city should be as well run as is the State. And please don’t complain about the amount this city receives from the State because were it not for the generosity of Hartford your tax bill would be far more outrageous than it is.
    Thanks to Senator Russo we are finally going to find out whether the Board of Education has been spending out money responsibly. No one has heretofore been able to produce this result (and that includes your mayor during his tenure as state senator).

  16. MCAT is definitely an inamorata of the “BIG D”. It appears that she is incapable of understanding anything of a positive nature that a Republican might achieve. If it were up to her, we would be stuck with the Machine for eternity. Why? I don’t know. Perhaps she doesn’t know any better. Good luck with your campaign, MCAT.

  17. Today I went to summer school at Bassick and it was horrible. Question I ask myself is isn’t this a public school so why does the school look so run down compared to schools in Fairfield and Trumbull? I thought all public schools should be the same they had no A/C but in Trumbull they do. so what is the reason we don’t have this in Bpt well thank God by November I will be old enough to vote and I’m voting for change and my votes are going for Obama, Himes and also Russo gets my vote. It’s crazy how kids in Bpt don’t have the same chance as kids living elsewhere to have the same good education and I hope Finch loses his job.

  18. donj,
    Do your best in summer school. Hang in there. Do not drop out. If you find you are falling behind, getting frustrated and think you’ll never catch up, write me a note on this blog. I’ll, personally, make sure the resources you are supposed to get to keep you in school are made available even if I have to grab Ramos by the neck to get them for you.

    I don’t mean to infer you are a potential dropout. My words are for all of the students who are hung out to dry by this fractured education system. A good system would identify students in jeopardy and encourage, mentor and remediate with all resources possible. They do that in Trumbull and Fairfield. There’s no good riddance attitude in those towns nor is there a 68% dropout rate.

  19. donj–hang in there no matter what it takes, even though you think you can’t succeed–you will! I know it’s not easy, but it will be worth it. yahooy, I have to say sometimes you annoy me to no end, but I’m pretty impressed with your support of donj! Credit where it’s due! And I somehow believe you really would help this student out. Good for you! Maybe someone should grab Ramos around the neck, he has no clue what’s happening in the schools, and it appears he doesn’t care either.

  20. donj: I too was shocked to see the condition of Bassick when I was asked to attend an evening basketball game there. I felt like I needed a shower when I left the building. Hang in there donj, it too will come to pass and you’ll be a graduate ready to go on to college or to take on the world with a high school diploma. Achievements are always more appreciated when they come with a bit of pain.

  21. Thank you very much for the compliment. By now, some of you must know it is my job to piss off as many people as I can. It makes for good blogging and stimulates some worthy dialogue.

    My passion is education and I have taken a lot of shit from a lot of philistines when I say first you fix education then poverty gets fixed. So when these so-called public servants waste valuable legislative time protecting the freaking oysters in the most polluted part of the freaking harbor and let education take a back seat, I get pissed.

    Whether it’s donj or even Joel, who could use a few remedial courses in kindergarten, I will do all I can to ensure every resource that should be given our students gets got.

  22. HELP WANTED: Looking for a motivated, hard-charging and Bridgeport politics-obsessed/consumed mover and shaker to run a winning State Rep campaign in the 130th District in 5 weeks from July 8 to August 12, 2008. Budget is $30,000.00. 130th District resident preferred, but open to talk/listen to all interested parties immediately. Call 650-0118.

  23. We give Israel $ 10,000,000.00 a day – that is ten million a day, if you mention that you can be called anti-semitic. I’m not..Lets spend that for seven days on Bridgeport Ct. America. 70 million might help us. Black, Hispanic, White, Hungarian,Whomever you get the idea


  25. Black Rockin – I can’t get over the money we give other countries (not to mention the cost of the war) and we have so many Americans living in poverty. the gas prices are killing us all and the cost of everything is going up. George Bush has ruined us all, he is the worst president of all time.

  26. City Kitty and Black Rockin: You’re right. Just think of what we could do with that much money for only a month or two (provided the pols wouldn’t steal it for themselves). For one, we could rebuild the bridge to Pleasure Beach and bring the Beach back to its former glory. And how about the Wheeler Fountain? Wouldn’t it be nice to see water flowing again? Etc. Etc. Etc.

  27. Re: donj’s Post # 25

    I have read and reread donj’s post #25 many times this morning.

    I am deeply sadden by his or her words. Let’s call him a him for the sake of this post. Besides, he threatened to kick my ass. Nice girls don’t do that. So he’s probably a he.

    Back to waxing philosophically. donj enrolled in a summer program and is disappointed in the resources that are available for the students of Bridgeport. He asks why the students in Trumbull and Fairfield don’t have to worry about substandard conditions, no AC and God knows what else our students have to put up with. This is the true meaning of harassment. Our students come to school expecting to be educated and are frustrated when the resources to provide that education are seriously lacking. An attitude of WHY BOTHER prevails; hence, a 68% dropout rate.

    I’ll answer your question donj … “Why does the Trumbull School System provide for their students?” Because Ralph Iassogna dedicates his life to make certain of it. PERIOD.

    It’s been a long time since we have had a dedicated professional at the helm as superintendent.


    How can each of you look our students in the eye and explain why the surrounding school systems better prepare their students then do we?

    You both are nothing more than the proprietors of an employment agency making fat cats fatter at the expense of our future.

    Despicable … both of you.


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