The Cockadoodledoo Of Politics


All this clucking about chickens makes it impossible not to think about the late Town Clerk Hector Diaz, a dignified community leader, who embraced the culture of his native Puerto Rico where cockfighting is legal. Bridgeport politics is something of a blood sport too. It’s not one of those things given up for lent. Pols may give up flesh on Friday, blood never. The amount of blood spilled in city politics would make the Red Cross envious. Save some of that for us!

Back in the 1990s when Hector was in the middle of his 20-year run as town clerk, the economic impact of illegal cockfighting spurred an assortment of clubs, halls and basement bars on the city’s East Side, the epicenter of the city’s growing Puerto Rican community. The police department’s tactical division occasionally broke up the cockfighting contests that featured an eclectic group of fans–regular neighborhood citizens, businessmen, politicians–flashing money and vocal cords for a cock kill.

One evening the tacticals ambushed an illegal cockfighting operation on the East Side. One of the spectators rounded up was Hector Diaz, a master of simplicity by way of explanation. To paraphrase Hector’s rejoinder: It’s legal for my people in Puerto Rico.

Mayor Bill Finch’s new proposed ordinance allowing residents to raise as many as six chickens in backyard coops will be pecked to death on a number of levels: for policy purposes, his genuine regard for living off the land, the ethnic politics of urban farming and, yes, the potential for opening up new cockfighting excitement irrespective of the ordinance prohibiting roosters.

As one veteran political observer says about the lack of roosters–Hey, enclosed hens fight pretty good too.



  1. That’s a handsome bird in the picture, striding with head raised and shining plumage at neck and tail. Is it a fighter? Or a poser?
    The pictured chickens in a previous article looked comfortably settled, perhaps up to their laying responsibility for Fardy Enterprises. (We don’t need a rooster said the chickens, and Andy agrees.)

    So what is all of this feather-ruffling about? We shall see in the next week or so when the Mayor comes off his perch and shares the budget for the coming year, as well as the schedule of meetings when you can watch Council persons work at reducing Line Items since the only thing they can do at the moment regarding revenues is to raise our property taxes. Show up at a hearing or two. Look at a department or two, as well. Read the narrative. Look at the goals, objectives and personnel figures. Look reasonable to you? Look necessary to you? If not, speak up. It will be the time to do it. Yelling not necessary. Cold, hard facts, as many as you can summon about any area of expertise you can shine a light on. (The Council mentioned the subject of “professional assistance” a year ago, and then failed to raise the subject, research it or do anything about it though funds were present in their budget.) What’s going on? Remember the fowl? Some strut and preen. Some smile a lot but communicate little. Some just sit and utter no sense as they wait for eggs to appear. Time will tell.

  2. Lennie, please don’t tell me you are in favor of cockfighting. It’s cruelty to animals and I don’t give a shit if it’s a sport in Puerto Rico. I don’t live in Puerto Rico, I live in Connecticut. If Bill as you so nicely state (kiss, kiss) wants to live off the land, Freaking Move to the country. God damn it, stop making excuses for this idiot.

    1. Andy, I detest cockfighting. I detest blood sports, except in politics of course. Not making excuses for hizzoner. I think he’s genuine about the proposal, not saying it’s good public policy, or should be a city priority in light of other pressing issues. I think part of the mayor’s problem is how he goes about things strategically. He’s still very much a legislative wonk cast into a chief executive role. Not always a complementary attribute. So, I’m just having a little fun with this chicken thing.

      1. Lennie, I understand where you are coming from but someone has to tell this idiot this is not Prospect Connecticut. That rag we call a newspaper hasn’t helped much but here I go.
        The god damned council is made up of pure unadulterated idiots, pure and simple. The whole bunch of them are as useless as tits on a bull. They spent lots of hours talking about this, really. They did not know they did not have the manpower to police this thing. Let me tell everyone something, this was not about those damned chickens, it’s about empire building. Hire more employees, the supervisor’s role expands thus justification for a good-sized pay raise. Right, Mr. Blunt. If members of the council are not embarrassed by this bullshit, they are brain dead.

      2. As a leader who proposes a vision and policy on how to get to that vision, the mayor needs to be credible and comprehensive. In my humble opinion, he’s neither. The bottom has fallen out of the mayor’s credibility. With no credibility, he cannot lead or inspire. As much as he’s led through back-slapping and arm-twisting party faithful and flunkies (not too hard in Bridgeport where there’s one-party rule), the limits to this approach will become more and more apparent as the population from all parts of the city becomes more informed and takes more constructive action for the greater good. Even if you can find it in your heart to give the mayor some points for vision and charisma, his credibility is so lacking, beyond his solid majority on the city council and city employees close to him, the mayor will be hard-pressed to find the citizens he needs to help see that vision through … because, through experience, many in Bridgeport who pay attention have come to see if it’s a new project, a policy, or a fix from this mayor, it’s likely to be ill-conceived, shortsighted, wasteful, and, ultimately, about the mayor’s next election.

  3. *** Can’t have good quality organic eggs without a good rooster in the henhouse, no? And don’t forget chickens, their feed, acidic crapand smell attracts other animals and field mice as well! Ask anyone who’s had birds in general as pets and they’ll tell you cleaning up behind them is a “’round the clock” job if you don’t want things to get out of hand! And let’s not forget the sunrise and sunset rooster crowing and cackle of the chickens when laying eggs as well as communicating to any nearby henhouses in the neighborhood. Yes sir OIB readers and bloggers, Bpt is preparing to be the State’s first self-serving organic chicken and eggs urban city. *** BIRDBRAIN WAY OF THINKING IS THE NEW REALITY TV ON “DOING IT LOCAL!” ***

  4. Look at the Birdie! He is making us the laughing-chicken-stock of Connecticut. He made a mistake when he talked about the coops. He meant to say co-ops!

    Our eggs will be of the limited-edition variety. They are only laid once!

  5. Another fowl reference came to mind and I believe no one has commented on it yet.
    Well, if it were a Bridgeport chicken, it might have been because it looked like a better place to lay an egg.
    Or, the coop seemed newer and less blighted.
    Or, the previous coop was found to have been built on “remediation-necessary land” not rated by DEEP.
    Perhaps that’s where the rooster in the picture was strutting his stuff.
    Maybe there was a job across the street.
    Could it be the “potholes” had been filled and it was now possible to cross the road?
    Was the chicken avoiding a tax or upcoming toll booth?

    I am sure you have some other answers appropriate to Bridgeport, but the real question at hand is, “Did the chicken make it to the other side?”
    Time will tell.

  6. *** To have fetus eggs that will hatch other chicks or chick roosters, you “need” a henhouse rooster. For just egg laying purposes to eat, you do “not” need a henhouse rooster! *** I SAID, I SAY, “BOY!” NOW WHAT YOU DONE GONE AND DID NOW? ***

  7. I wonder if a “City Rooster” could be used to offer free chicks to city residents–consolidating the noise while increasing the food supply in Bridgeport.
    Also, I wonder how stories like the following will influence the upcoming vote. Enrique Torres could say NO to the new proposal on the grounds the OLD policy is sufficient. But I hope he champions the new program.
    Overheard among two Bridgeport chickens with distinct southern drawls: What we have here is a failure to procreate.


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