Tsunami Tuesday Cometh, Plus: Cop House Remedy Order

Five days until Tsunami Tuesday. In Bridgeport, politics is a sporting event. Republican operative Phil Smith said it all: “Some towns play political softball, other towns play hardball … in Bridgeport they play hand grenades.”

We’ve got five Democratic General Assembly races in the big city, plus a battle for Congress (which isn’t much of a battle, unless you like peculiar Lee Whitnum’s rant against the Israeli lobby). Check out her YouTube spot at www.leewhitnum2008.com

Question: can you name the only three Bridgeport legislators not facing a primary? The winner gets a room with a view at the Liberty Rock with Yahooy and Anna.

I love the dichotomy of the Congressional contest, two Greenwich Democrats, Jim Himes and Whitnum, fighting to face a Republican incumbent (Chris Shays) from Bridgeport.

Except it won’t be much of a contest. Himes will make Whit numb.

Campaigns are about MOM–money, organization and message. And for Lee there’s no love from MOM.

Okay, the General Assembly races: State Rep. Bob Keeley, the longest serving legislator in the city’s history, has a battle on his hands in his quest to become the longest serving legislator in Connecticut history. Former City Council member Auden Grogins, the blonde banshee from Black Rock, is waging a spirited contest. The district takes in the lower North End, West Side, Black Rock and a piece of the West End. Keeley should run well at Central High School, his home precinct. For Grogins to win she must win Black Rock School and Longfellow School. In just about every race involving an incumbent a challenger must persuade voters to fire the person in charge. This race is about…he doesn’t deliver (I will) versus I deliver. My sense is both sides have identified enough friends to win. The question becomes which candidate has the best primary day operation. Translation: I want you, I love you, I need your vote!

Anthony Musto, the elected treasurer in Trumbull, faces a spunky Marilyn Moore, former legislative assistant to State Sen. Ed Gomes. The seat, occupied by Republican Rob Russo, includes Trumbull and parts of Bridgeport and Monroe. The Bridgeport piece takes in the Upper East Side, across the heart of the North End, the West Side, Black Rock and the West End. Keeley and his brothers in the legislature Chris Caruso and Jack Hennessy are all supporting Moore. That will help her in Bridgeport, but doesn’t answer the biggest question. What strength does Moore have in Trumbull and Monroe? I don’t sense she has much going there, as a result it places a major burden on the campaign to produce big in Bridgeport. Musto, the endorsed candidate, is vulnerable only if the Trumbull turnout is pathetic.

Caruso is challenged by City Councilman Carlos Silva. The legislative district includes the Upper East Side, part of the North End and Whiskey Hill (called Whiskey Hill from the Prohibition era).  Caruso is well liked in his district where he ran up large numbers in his mayoral primary loss to Bill Finch last September. I’ve seen nothing that has changed Caruso’s standing. Plus, the brilliant Sue Katz is doing the Great Caruso’s direct mail. If he had used her for his failed mayoral race he’d be mayor.

Over on the East Side, arguably the most unpredictable area for city politics, State Rep. Andres Ayala was denied the party endorsement, in part because he got into a fight with his uncle, city councilman long ago Tito Ayala. Lydia Martinez, the endorsed candidate, is trying to win back the job she lost to Ayala.

State Rep. Felipe Reinoso is not seeking reelection to his house seat that includes the South End, downtown and portions of the East Side and West Side. City Councilman Ezequiel Santiago, disciple of his stepfather District Leader Mitch Robles, is the endorsed candidate to fill the open seat. He’s being challenged by party veteran José “Chico” Rivera, friend of Democratic Town Chair Mario Testa and the Fightin’ Filipino Sylvester Salcedo, a 20-year Navy veteran who fought the government’s war on drugs and is using his experience as a platform for legislative reform of drug control.

That’s a quick look at things heading into Tuesday. I’ll post results Tuesday night as soon as I have them. I’m thinking it’s time for another OIB party. Let’s do something in September and invite all the local candidates on the November ballot for a little levity. I’m open to venue suggestions.

Don’t forget tonight at 6, Baldwin Plaza: New Wave DEVOtional BBQ with The Simple Pleasure and Malcolm Tent playing the songs of DEVO


Remedy For Remedy Order

Looks like the city is regaining total control of the police department after 25 years of a federal remedy order addressing racial discrimination. See city press release below:

Mayor Finch Hails End of “Special Master” as Milestone for Bridgeport

Cites City’s Progress Fighting Racism

BRIDGEPORT, CT (Aug. 6, 2008) – Mayor Bill Finch today hailed the results of a hearing in federal court that will lead to the end of the 25-year control of a “special master” in the Bridgeport Police Department and signal major progress in the fight against unequal treatment within the Bridgeport Police Department.

Following a hearing before Judge Janet B. Arterton in U.S. District Court in New Haven, the court indicated its intention to suspend the “special master” ordered by the late Judge T.F. Gilroy Daly in 1983 to combat prejudice in the recruitment, promotion and assignments of Bridgeport police officers.

“This is tremendous news for the City of Bridgeport. First, it says the court has recognized that the racism that was present in the Bridgeport Police Department in the 1970s is indeed a thing of the past,” said Mayor Finch. “The impact of this will be that we will be able to control our own police department, a move that will help us fight crime more effectively while simultaneously saving the money the city has been paying the special master since 1983.”

The case began in the late 1970s when the Guardians, a Bridgeport black police officer’s association, filed a lawsuit against the city, claiming that black and Hispanic officers were consistently overlooked for promotions, and were routinely given the worst duty assignments. Following a trial in federal court that ended in late 1982, Judge Daly ordered the appointment of a “special master” to oversee all complaints of racial harassment and discrimination in the Bridgeport Police Department.

The proposed order dissolving the appointment of the special master is expected to be signed in early September. Atty. William Clendenen of New Haven has served as the special master since 1983.

“I made the resolution of the Guardians case a top priority when I took office as mayor in December. Since then I have become deeply involved in the case,” said Mayor Finch. “Racism has no place in Bridgeport and we will continue our efforts to make sure that all Bridgeport police officers are treated fairly and evenly.”

Police Chief Bryan Norwood, who is the second black police chief of the department, said today’s development, “allows the Office of the Chief to continue to foster relationships with department personnel and the community at large and allow the department to further reflect the community.”

Under the system mandated by Judge Daly in 1983, a “rotation order” was put into place requiring all Bridgeport police patrol officers to change their duty assignments every two years. Both Mayor Finch and Chief Norwood argued that this rotation program prevented community policing, which calls for officers to be assigned to a specific neighborhood in order to build relationships with the local residents, and gain their trust in an effort to more effectively fight crime.

“We will now have a stronger arsenal with which to fight crime,” said the mayor. “We will be able to assign police personnel where the chief feels they need to be. This will allow us to implement community policing in its truest form.”



  1. MY CRYSTAL BALL is covered in clouds. I cannot see the future and consequently my ability to predict elections is impaired. But the facts are widely known by all and it’s opinions that count .

  2. They might have been able to beat Andres “I’m going to resign from the presidency when I get elected State Rep.” Ayala if Rivera hadn’t run and diluted their campaign in the East Side.

    Mario may be Chico’s friend but if I see Mario at City Hall or Roosevelt actually doing anything I’ll eat the shoe I’m not going to have to eat when Sly doesn’t get 200 votes.

  3. Lennie, Hennessy, Clemmons and Gomes – no primaries. I’ll skip the room, no offense Yahooy or Anna. I’ll come to your party, just make it after door-knocking hours. How about Two Boots?

  4. Auden Grogins bested Bob Keeley at the debate last night. She came on well-prepared. Keeley, on the other hand, sounded more than a little befuddled, falling back on his experience as a third-base coach to flesh out one of his responses. He also employed the time-honored political tactic of obfuscation, which he used in a rather hamfisted fashion. Grogins did dress him down for this at one point, criticizing him for misrepresenting the facts concerning the availability of information on the ‘Net. Shame on you, Bob. To be fair, Grogins did come off a little angry at times. This is not necessarily a bad thing: a little righteous indignation goes a long way with voters. She did tone it down and gave a stellar performance.

    I have to question the validity of the proceedings, though. The debate was sparsely attended. Most of the people sounded as if they’d already made up their minds. Auden recieved most of the enthusiastic applause, while Keeley’s hardcore supporters, a little knot of them in the back of the room, could only manage a burbling response. The media wasn’t there. Well, Rob Sullivan, the editor, publisher, chief cook and bottle washer for the irregularly published Bridgeport Banner, was present. No one from the Post, no camera crew from News 12, nada. The media, along with most of the legislature, doesn’t give a shit about Bridgeport. What work that has been done to improve the city has been done locally. Bob Keeley hasn’t been bringing home the bacon, in spite of his loosely spun claims to the contrary. WE HAVE TO DO IT OURSELVES. US, THE PEOPLE THAT LIVE HERE.

  5. I’m asking everybody to vote for Keeley at Black Rock School; we can not make this clown win so come out and vote for Keeley. I’m also voting for Moore. Anthony Musto is not a bad guy, but I have to go with the Hometown candidate and that’s Moore. But even if Moore loses I will be voting for Musto in November.

  6. Who wants to volunteer to help Keeley move his stuff out of his Hartford offices?

    Keeley is so full of shit that he blows his nose with baby wipes.

  7. Well I hear the LIUNA Lolita is making headlines again. Seems to me if you look on the mail cards that Marilyn Moore is sending out you will see Lolita (VS) right there on the card with Marilyn, and who is that with her – none other than Dr. Evans – Public Health Director, (who by the way lives in Cheshire).

    Not only is the LIUNA Lolita on the card, heard she is also in hot water with the city. Could they have finally brought her in to Labor Relations and given her a slap on the hand? Well Ms. Valerie, seems what goes around really does come around. Also, heard her kids are employed with the city too! Daughter is working at the Parks Dept, and the son is still working at the Ferry. Nice to live in Pleasantville!

  8. The atmosphere on this blog is getting pretty dark. It’s not a place to share information anymore, but hurl insults, threats, and perpetuate divisiveness. It’s great to be able to criticize our leaders; that is what the first amendment is all about. But, I am not so interested now to meet up with fellow bloggers. As a journalist you’re in tough place. Is there any way to limit comments that deal with exposure of identity or those that may make a bad situation worse. Also if people start hurling accusations that really aren’t true it is downright libelous. As far as I’m concerned stuff like John Doe is sleeping around, Jane Doe does drugs, Tom Smith is a psycho, and Mary Smith is a whore does nothing to add to the free exchange of ideas. There has been nothing about any candidates’ opinions on issues, except maybe some links to web sites. I would like to see people discuss home heating assistance, housing, minimum wage, health care, ideas about regionalism, job creation, and constructive criticism about what people’s opinions are to make it better. There are bloggers who have done that in the past but not too often now. It has become a place to rant and threaten, with no real information to inform. I have been guilty of a few rants, but I have tried to pass along information that I know first hand and my opinions on issues and politician’s positions on them. Probably everyone who posts on this blog has their minds made up about who they want to win, but probably not all your readers have.

    Joan Nutmeg asked for some information about people, why aren’t we posting actual voting records and things like that? For example people on this blog accuse Keeley of all these vile things, however his voting record on the issues that are important to people looks good to me. He voted yes on progressive income tax, which would be real property tax reform, yes to help workers get family and medical leave, yes to fund teacher’s retirement, Yes on health care reform, supportive housing, nursing home aid, to stop gay discrimination, and marriage equity, has been rated A or higher by various organizations for public safety and spoke out to require lost and stolen handguns be reported to help stop illegal gun traffic and straw purchases and A’s on the environment. I took the time to post information I looked up because it seems like the Keeley/Grogins race inspired the most venom. On Grogins, it is harder to find actual votes that were taken in the city council or Board of Ed. If someone has that info I think it would be a better way to decide a race. (Yes, I am pro Keeley.) It took me some time but I looked up Keeley’s record on the CGA web site www .cga.ct.gov and organizations such as CT league of conservation voted and labor web sites. I wish other people would pass on hard information and I’ll do my best to do so too. A good friend of mine told me, stick to the issues, do the right thing and the politics will follow. I think she is right and she knows who she is. She likes being right.

  9. Johnnb: Bravo it seems we have lost the intelligent poster and gained the tough guys. It seems now on this blog “either agree with me or I will kick your ass”. Yesterday there was an interesting portion on Lennie’s writing that involved the Police Department and not one post concerning the police department.
    No matter how you feel about a candidate (agree or disagree) at least they got off their collective asses and put in the time and effort to try and get elected. Many of the political posters here talk a good game such as let’s get rid of the machine let’s get qualified candidates. At least the candidates tried for better or for worse and the naysayers stayed home and accomplished nothing. John again a great post.

  10. wondering and johnb – you are both on the money. I started reading and blogging on here to get some insight and people’s opinions on local politics. I know a lot of people who are involved in B-port politics, so I thought I might learn something more. By posting on here, I’ve been insulted, put down for not being as smart as some bloggers, and even accused of being some person that I have no clue who they even mean. And that’s no big deal compared to most of the awful things that are said about people on here, but it’s still very annoying. Now a lot of people on here are very smart and informative, but some of the people on here just go too far with the meanness and the insults. No wonder new people are not made to feel welcome in local politics, let alone on a political blog. It seems to me that some bloggers who post on here have too much time on their hands. And I even think a lot of them post under different names and talk to themselves (creepy), after awhile you can tell. As for me, I’m signing off and heading to work. Not so sure I’ll be back on here.

  11. City Kitty

    Someone once said…”If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.”

    Your latest post is insightful.

    Leave the blog if you wish. But, if you stay you just might make a contribution by your perspectives.

    Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me.

  12. “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me.”

    I like that. There is at least one person I know that should take that advice to heart.

  13. City Kitty – you should never let anyone else’s opinion stifle you, let alone deter you from posting your opinions. You’re entitled to exercise your right to freedom of speech without fear of what other people may think of you. Yahooy and Bridgeport Kid are correct with the old adage regarding sticks and stones.


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