What’s Joe Ganim’s Future? Pooch Power And Library News

When I heard many months ago that Joe Ganim had slipped into a federal Bureau of Prisons substance abuse program to shave time off his sentence I coughed up a chuckle.

Gee, could the former mayor have rationalized all that high-end wine I bought for him in the 1990s led him to tipping a little too freely? So much so that it caused a substance abuse problem? Well, I know Joe probably as well as anyone on the planet (although I’ve had no relevant contact with him in 10 years). Joe loved wine, he was certainly addicted to the good life, enough that he didn’t mind squeezing my stones if it meant many bottles of Lafite to go along with a porterhouse. But if he had an addiction to wine that qualified him for a program, now that was just another Joe moment. (See prior post for details.)

And you know what, if he could persuade the federal Bureau of Prisons that he indeed had a problem that qualified him for a treatment program to shave off a year of his sentence to get back to his family that much sooner, so be it. Joe could be back in Connecticut in less than four months. I’ve always felt his nine-year sentence was excessive. John Rowland took just as much stuff as Joe, but got a year. Rowland, of course, had the advantage of going to school on Joe, and he cut a deal.

Joe decided to roll the dice, go to trial and testify, turning down a plea offer that was in the neighborhood of 30 months. Joe didn’t make it any easier on himself when he took the stand in 2003, raised his hand and lied. U.S. District Court Judge Janet Arterton doesn’t take kindly to fibbers.

But Joe has done six years and that’s enough. Time to get out of there and back to his family. He screwed up, did his time and is just about even with the house.

I was Joe’s campaign manager, his closest political adviser. Our relationship changed over his sense of entitlement. As a result I made some idiotic decisions. But things didn’t get real bad until Joe extended so much power and authority to a young man named Paul Pinto that Joe lost sight of what Pinto could do to ruin his future. Pinto was Joe’s biggest problem, and Joe unleashed him to shake down a lot of folks to benefit Joe.

There’s some nostalgia out there in city neighborhoods for the second-longest-serving mayor in Bridgeport’s history, and lots of nostalgia from Democratic Town Chair Mario Testa. (That sound you just heard was a collective gag from Yahooy, Bob From BePo and Bob Walsh.) You talk to Mario and he’ll tell you Joe was the city’s most effective mayor … more effective than Sam Tedesco, Hugh Curran, Nick Panuzio, John Mandanici, Lenny Paoletta … more effective than his own cousin Tom Bucci, more so than Mary Moran, more than Johnny Fabs, Bill Finch, and that covers every mayor in the past 50 years. For Mario it’s Joe. That doesn’t mean Joe’s gonna make a comeback in the near future. He needs to do what’s right for his wife and children. But know this about Joe, he’s a competitor who hates losing.

OMG, Auden Grogins Must Be Thrilled

No bigger animal lover than State Rep. Auden Grogins, the blonde banshee from Black Rock. Her husband Ira, a prince of a guy, must flip coins with their dog Harold for morning biscuits. News release from Governor Rell:

Governor Rell: October 1 Law Allows Pet Owners to Set Up Trusts for Animals

Pet owners in Connecticut can now have peace of mind knowing their animals will be properly cared for if owners die before their pets as a result of a new law that takes effect on Thursday, Governor M. Jodi Rell announced today.

Under the new law signed June 29, 2009 by Governor Rell, pet owners can set up enforceable trusts to care for their animals, ensuring the animals are not neglected or euthanized if they can no longer take care of the pets.

“Kindness and love are truly the only things pets ask of us. Ensuring they are cared for after we are gone is the humane thing and right thing to do,” Governor Rell said. “Anyone who has ever loved an animal and made it part of their home and family understands that sometimes we are better humans because of the companionship of such sweet creatures.”

Senate Bill 650, An Act Concerning the Creation of a Trust for the Care of An Animal is one of several new state laws that take effect on October 1, 2009. The pet law requires that the owner designate a “trust protector,” someone whose sole duty is to act on behalf of the animal, ensuring the pet receives the proper care.

A Superior Court or probate court would have jurisdiction over the trust, which terminates when the last surviving animal dies. The trust protector can seek legal action in either court to remove or replace a trustee, the individual overseeing the fund, if the money was spent on anything other than its intended use.

Prior to the new law, pet owners could set up trusts for their animals but those arrangements were considered honorary since animal beneficiaries cannot enforce them.

Library Referendum News

Interesting piece by the Library Journal, a leading commercial library pub.

In a pathbreaking effort for urban libraries in Connecticut, supporters of the beleaguered Bridgeport Public Library (BPL) have drawn on a long-obscure law to get a referendum on the ballot November 3 that would force the city to reallocate tax revenues and spend one mil—or about 45% more than the current anemic allotment—on the library.

Library advocates, who formed the Liberate Libraries Committee to advance the measure, see it as a last-ditch effort. A quarter-century ago, the library had 101 employees, while a decade ago the figure was 68; now it is 55. In the past two years, BPL has suffered a 16% budget cut.

“We finally decided, what have we got to lose, they’re going to kill us anyhow,” board president Jim O’Donnell told LJ. “If we get killed politically and we lose, they can’t cut us any more than they have.” As of now, if a staffer is out sick, a department or branch may have to close. Further cuts will lead to loss of hours at the main library or the closing of one or more of the four branches.

Catching up

The current library budget is about $4.8 million, including benefits and utility costs, which represents .69 mils. The library is asking for 1 mil, or $6.9 million, which would represent nearly $50 per capita (up from the current $34.50) for a service population of 139,000.

O’Donnell said that, in 1985, the city spent 1.25% of its budget on the library; passage of the measure would mean the library got 1.42% of the budget, but, in O’Donnell’s words, it would simply restore the library to an inflation-adjusted level.

“It would mean six days of service in our neighborhoods,” he said, and enough capital money to replace two storefront branches with full-service libraries. “It also means the possibility of Sunday hours at the main library,” he said, plus more computers and restoring the book budget.

Can a vote work?

Can the vote pass? Clearly, city officials are not happy about a measure that would hamstring their capacity to allocate funds to city departments.

Initially, the Town Clerk refused to accept the petition for a referendum, which relies on a state law regarding libraries directed to towns and boroughs. Advocates noted that Bridgeport’s city charter said it would be responsible for all the duties and obligations imposed by state laws on towns, and a Superior Court Judge agreed. Only 50 signatures were needed on the petition.

Now Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch, O’Donnell said, officially supports letting the people decide. However, “They do not want this to happen,” O’Donnell said. “They believe we’re forcing their hand to fund the library in the appropriate way.” After all, he noted, a 1990 ordinance sets library funding at 2.33 mils, which has never been implemented.

“We’re in the process of identifying prime voters and library users,” said O’Donnell, noting that the public is generally apathetic, leading to low-turnout elections. The largest turnout comes not in the general election but in the Democratic primaries.

The problem: the committee doesn’t have the money to do mass mailings and instead will rely on other, less expensive forms of outreach. Those connected with other urban libraries in Connecticut are watching carefully, O’Donnell said, though they may not be able to rely on the same legislation.

Framing the issue

The referendum has been portrayed in some quarters as a tax. “This referendum will not cause your taxes to increase,” the Liberate Libraries Committee says. “A yes vote is telling the Mayor and City Council members that library services are important to you and a priority for you.”

However, it does imply a need to either cut other services in a static budget or instead raise taxes.

O’Donnell responded to a local television editorial charging the millage reallocation was a tax increase. “Politicians fought in Court against using the 128-year-old law for the first time in Connecticut,” he said. “Now the people, not the politicians, will decide the library allocation in Bridgeport. While only politicians decide what to spend for other services that may not benefit you, the people of Bridgeport now have a voice to value the Library.”



  1. I can’t believe all the hoopla over Joe Ganim. You would think the prodigal son is about to return. Quick, Mario; get the fatted calf ready!

    In the six years Joe has been penned up no one ever noticed a “drug” problem until now? Or are the booze and pills flowing free in prison?

    Let’s give Joe a chance to make his restitution to the less powerful people in B’port by doing a lot of community service (cleaning the streets and parks he improved) and not answering phones at the family business.

    I’ll support his attempt at a political resurrection after he finishes his time for committing his crime and proving himself by giving to the community he took from.

    Finally, Malloy’s son certainly got a great deal from the loyal royal party players. Maybe politics does pay after all!

  2. Okay so Joe Ganim is getting out in January 2010. He did his time and will serve out his probation. The problem that everyone seems to be worrying about is Will he run for mayor?
    The sad part is that he could run for mayor and win. Why is that?
    Take a look at what we have now. We have a weak mayor that has been ruthless in his dealings with city employees. A mayor who has bent over for his money men. A mayor that refuses to recognize the progress made by UB. A mayor who has done nothing for this city.
    Take a look at the future candidates for the next mayoral election. Finch, Caruso, Ayala, Silva, Curwen, Lopez, McCarthy, Baker. After looking at this list of potential candidates is it any wonder why Ganim’s name keeps popping up as a potential candidate?
    At present I do not support any of these candidates including Ganim. Where are we going to come up with a candidate that really gives a shit about Bridgeport? Where are we going to find a candidate that can manage this city? Where are we going to find a candidate that cares about all of the people of Bridgeport?

  3. If Mario makes another deal with Ganim, Ganim is mayor. Best mayor ever? Really? What did he do? An arena? A ball park? Housatonic Community College relocation?

    Tonight, while all of you are sipping your Lafite Rothschild over a sumptuous porterhouse, consider what it would be like if we brought this guy back. A convicted thief and embezzler and now an admitted substance abuser. Great choice.

    It’s scary that there may be enough intellectually challenged Ganim supporters out there like donj, anna, and ***mofo*** who could swing a Ganim mandate.

    Que Lástima!!!

  4. Oh. One more thing.

    I’ve known Ganim since 1989. The family since I was a child. Joe Ganim never demonstrated any addiction to any substance that would require rehabilitation. Let’s face it. Ganim’s father weaseled Joe into this rehab spa so that his sentence could be reduced. No court would ever consider any form of reduction. More bullshit for the connected. And you want this guy back in office. I would actually vote for ***Mofo*** before I would ever vote for Ganim.

    1. I have an idea for Ganim’s job while he’s at the halfway house. He should be a consultant to the Finch administration on how to really run a city. Yeah I know he did illegal stuff, I know, I know; but I agree with Mario on this. He was the most effective mayor we’ve seen in 50 years. The employees would take him back in a minute and I bet the voters would too.

  5. At the risk of being late for work, let’s look at some of the history here …

    There is no love lost between Finch and Ganim. When the allegations first surfaced about Joe, Senator Finch was the first to call a press conference on the steps of City Hall and demand Ganim’s resignation. That was before any evidence was revealed. This Finch did to a man who helped him find a job years earlier when he was down and out. Eventually many people jumped on the bandwagon once the facts started coming out, but Finch led the charge.

    There is no love lost between Finch and Mario. Finch backed Stafstrom for DTC chair and is only begrudgingly with Mario now because he has no choice. Mario, on the other hand, is very close to Joe and his family and publicly states that Joe was the best Mayor in 50 years.

    There is no love lost between Finch and the employees. We’ve had the biggest layoff in recent history; dept heads treat people like shit; Labor Relations is led by an idiot and Civil Service is being dismantled. This is a huge contrast to Joe Ganim’s administration. I daresay the employees would back Joe big time.

    There is no love lost between Finch and the voters. He doesn’t appear to have a clue; nothing significant has happened in economic development but a bunch of blah, blah, blah; people are ticketed when their streets are NOT being cleaned; the dump is closed on Saturdays when people utilize it the most; puppies are killed at the animal shelter; political appointees get hired with raises; and the list goes on and on.

    All this makes Joe Ganim look really good. Joe Ganim in 2011. I will lead that charge.

  6. I should add “City Hall Smoker” to the list of intellectually challenged philistines who would put Ganim back in office much like the shitheads in DC did with Marion Barry. That worked out well.

    CHS … it is abundantly transparent that life for city workers would be better with Ganim in office. You need to think about what is best for all of the people in Bridgeport not just you city employees.


  7. Yahooy: I agree with you, Bruce Hubler would be a good choice. Like I said earlier if there is to be a Republican challenge that person needs to come out now. That person needs to be a voice of reason with all the BS that is going on now. That person needs to start getting name recognition; you can’t wait 6 months before the general election and expect people to know who you are.
    I walked a good part of the city with Paul Ganim on his last election run and people that we spoke to all brought up Joe Ganim’s name and many stated that they would vote for him again. Amazing. Is that an indictment against the democratic party? I think so.

  8. Say it ain’t so Joe will not run in the near future for anything. It’s family time and in a payback to his wife will not run.

    What Bridgeport needs is someone who has successfully run a non-criminal enterprise and who wouldn’t need the money. They would say to the electorate that they would only run for one term. This one-term offer would set the tone to the money-changers that he or she couldn’t be bought.

    Do we have that type talent in Bridgeport? I’m starting to wonder and whatever happened to Wondering?

    1. My job puts me in direct contact with people living in Fairfield. I schmooze with ’em all day long. Bridgeport in general and Black Rock in particular come up again and again. A few, well … more than a few have a jaundiced view of Bridgeport. The common-but-not-unfounded perception is that the Park City is a big, bad, corrupt, evil and dark place. But I’m changing that perception, one or two folks at a time. I’m doing it because I love the city of Bridgeport. There’s a kind of magic here. Bridgeport is a big, beautiful melting pot with many cultures and customs feeding into it. I have a great deal of affection for the people that live here. Well, MOST of them–I’m not exactly crazy about the wannabe thug in Black Rock breaking into pickup trucks to steal power tools, and I ain’t exactly crazy about the assholes that toss litter out the windows of moving vehicles (including GBT buses). There’s a lot of spiritual strength here, enough to give me senses of optimism and hope.

      1. *** You should run for Mayor ’cause you definitely got the gift of a good B/S’er. No doubt, & make Yahooy your C.O.S. with C.H.S. as your personal secretary. And last but not least, Lennie as your Mayor’s office P/R man! ***

  9. 1) First when Russo loses his bid for Congress either in primary or race, he will be the first Republican to sign up to run against Finch.

    2) Ganim was crook, to a lesser degree than Rowland who is now the Economic Development Director in Waterbury.

    3) I believe Finch yelling loudest on the city hall steps, was a product of I need to save my ass, “me dost think he protested too much” (to bastardize a quote).

    4) City Hall workers and their families represent thousands of votes; if the workers hate Finch, out he goes.

    5) The Gamin to watch is Paul; then he can hire Joe to be Economic Development Director, and if a certain person puts on her knee pads, maybe she can save her and her boyfriend’s job.

    1. Johnb,

      #4 saying that the workers hate Finch is an understatement. Finch is hated, sure; but so are Wood, Feeney, Kabel, Nunn and Big Charlie Carroll. This entire administration is nasty and vengeful.

      #5 are you referring to Lisa “Don’t ask me to make copies or I’ll tell my boyfriend Big Charlie and he’ll have you suspended” or someone else? There are a few women with knee pads whose boyfriends work for the city.

      1. Workers? Do you mean city employees? I’m one and I don’t hate Finch. You are not speaking for me. I disagree with Finch–like with other mayors–at times. I may hate the policy, but not the man.

  10. Mario Testa is absolutely salivating at the prospect of having Joe Ganim back in the fold, if this morning’s Connecticut Post is to be believed. Will ol’ Joe make another run for the title of “Hizzoner”? I dunno. Would anyone vote for him? Probably. Voters registered in cities with pronounced reputations for corruption and bribery have a peculiar habit of being more than a little forgetful. Look at Sharpe James in Newark, New Jersey; Marion Berry in Washington, D.C.; the succession of clowns in Waterbury. If John Rowland campaigned for mayor of the Brass City he’d probably win over Michael Jarjura, the incumbent.

    The only politician with a reputation for stupid and/or scandalous behavior that would have a hard time mustering votes would be John “Johnny Fabs” Fabrizi. The folks would’ve forgiven him for snorting cocaine and getting drunk on the taxpayers’ dime; testifying as a character reference in superior court–for a chicken hawk, no less–that’s a fuckup that would be hard to get around.

  11. I’ve said it before and will say it again. Regardless of the Harbor Yard ballpark & arena, the Clean & Green initiative, Housatonic CC and whatever other good things you can conjure up about Ganim, during one of the greatest periods of economic growth in our country’s history (yes it was just a bubble) what economic development occurred? Where are/were the jobs? Where are the multi-story office buildings or new production facilities? Show me the jobs! Show me a stabilized tax base.

  12. Forget about Joe’s future for now. Note that this study does not mention everyone leaving Connecticut to serve jail time out of state. Check this out from Connecticut Yankee Institute:

    New! From the Yankee Institute
    October 1, 2009

    Last One Out Please Turn Off The Lights

    We all know people who have moved out of Connecticut. Now a new Yankee Institute study looks at migration trends and how peoples’ decisions to move out of and into the state affect tax revenue. Key findings include:

    Connecticut lost a net of 325,526 residents to other states between 1991 and 2008, or about one in ten residents.

    The top states that people from Connecticut move to are Florida, North Carolina, Georgia, Virginia, and South Carolina.

    The top states that people move into Connecticut from are New York, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Illinois, and Nebraska.

    The total net income leaving the state was nearly $5 billion between 1995-2006. Had this income stayed in Connecticut, state and local governments would have collected an estimated $566,520,000 in additional tax revenue.

    Of course, when someone leaves, state and local governments don’t just lose income and taxes for one year, but rather for all future years as well. Compounding these figures over the twelve years assessed in this study, the state has lost $31.2 billion in net income and $3.7 billion in state and local tax revenue due to out-migration.

    People move to states where the weather is warmer, taxes are lower, union membership is lower, population density is lower, and the cost of housing is lower.

    The number one destination state for former Connecticut residents is Florida, a state with no income tax and no inheritance tax.

    An August, 2009 poll conducted by The Yankee Institute found that 45 percent of state residents have considered moving out of Connecticut due to high taxes.

    1. I agree with Mr. Gonzalez here, actually: forget about Joe Ganim’s future for now. The man will have served enough time for the U.S. Bureau of Prisons to consider him “corrected” and/or “rehabilitated.” Let him spend time with his family, with his wife and children. Only a fool would dare to think that Joe Ganim, after a federal corruption trial during which he took the witness stand and embarrassed himself (and brought shame to his family) by daring to lie under oath, would jump right back into the incestuous world of Bridgeport politics.

  13. “You talk to Mario and he’ll tell you Joe was the city’s most effective mayor …”

    “… more effective than his own cousin Tom Bucci …”

    Lennie has confirmed that Mario and Bucci are cousins.

  14. Question … what kinda message are you sending to your kids if you vote for a Joe Ganim? Or do you have kids; if you did you wouldn’t want to explain your vote … would you???

    1. Would I? Me, personally? I don’t have children, but I would have to consider how it would look to present and future generations from a historical perspective if I voted for him and he was re-elected. A few of the pro-Ganim postings here are at least partially right: he did do some good for the city. But like Richard Nixon before him, megalomania and sheer unbridled greed got the best of him. And also like Nixon, he will always have the word “crook” next to his name.

      Every time a greedy, corrupt public official is found out and put in jail I engage in some wishful thinking: maybe that’ll be the last time they put street guys in charge of anything as valuable as the public trust.

      And then someone else comes along and fucks it up all over again.

  15. Ganim did more than any mayor I have ever seen in Bridgeport. Who would you rather have, Ganim, Caruso, Fabz, Finch? My pick is Ganim and that will be 75% of Dem voters in Bpt primary and 85% in general election. Ganim for mayor 2011.

    1. “Ganim did more than any mayor I have ever seen in Bridgeport.”

      Gee, you are what, nineteen years old? How many mayors could you have possibly seen anywhere?

  16. There was an air of hope in City Hall today as employees discreetly discussed the possible comeback of Joe Ganim. Most who knew him want him back. But the best part would be watching Mario turn his back on Finch/Wood. Oh sweet revenge. It would almost make these 4 years worth it–almost.

    There’s a saying in City Hall, code: ABF. Anybody but Finch.

    1. If Chris “Corruption!” Caruso and Joseph “I’m Innocent!” Ganim were running in a Democratic primary today, who would you vote for? Would Joe Ganim debate Caruso?
      Could Caruso fare better against Joe Ganim than he did against Finch? Whose campaign would Lennie Grimaldi end up managing?

  17. There is a new ANASTASI under city employment. A new hire in CitiStat–Christopher Anastasi. Wonder if he is any relation to the city attorney. My guess is YES. There are many NEW positions being filled and that have been filled in the past year. At a time when veteran city employees took 10-day furloughs to help the administration. What a slap in the face!!! This admin is the worst. A bunch of liars. Politically connected have gotten RAISES in the past 3 months when there is supposed to be 0%. While the unconnected just keep getting more work for less pay.

  18. As usual, the racist media (Not Ken Dixon) forgot about the Black man:

    October 1, 2009 at 4:21 pm by Ken

    Amid the reports about Joe “I Will Be Fully Vindicated” Ganim getting a year shaved off his federal-corruption sentence, the Blogster began wondering about another crook: Ernie “I’m The Moses of My People” Newton. FYI: Ernie’s release date is August 13, 2010. The 53-year-old former senator and House member is at Lewisburg, about 170 miles west of Philadelphia and will be released less than a month after Ganim.


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