Whom Are You Voting For Or Against?

Nov. 5 sample ballot
Sample of ballot from the 131st District.

Election day for City Council, school board and city sheriff seats. It’s not a mayoral year, but still a lot on the line for control of Board of Education policy and the direction of the city’s budget and legislative body. Let us know your candidate preferences for or against. And let us know what you’re hearing out there.

Torres and friends
Republican City Council candidate in the 130th District Rick Torres, center, received some weekend campaign help from Ernest Holman, right, and John Staley.


Brannelly, Stafstrom
Democrats Sue Brannelly and Steven Stafstrom are challenged by Rick Torres and Phil Blagys.

Full field of candidates

Board of Education:

Democrats Andre Baker, Howard Gardner, David Hennessey; Republicans Joe Larcheveque, Stephen Best and John Weldon; Working Families Party, Sauda Baraka, Andre Baker and Eric Stewart-Alicea.

City Sheriff:

Democrats Dennis Scinto, Willie Murphy and Mitch Robles; Republicans David S. Goodman, Michael Moretti and Michael Garrett.

City Council:

130th District, Democrats Sue Brannelly and Steve Stafstrom; Republicans Rick Torres and Phil Blagys.

131st District, Democrats Jack Banta and Denese Taylor-Moye; Republicans David G. Goodman and Ethan Book; petitioning candidate Rafael Mojica.

132nd District, Democrats Bob Halstead and Trish Swain; Republicans Corey Gordon and Jeffrey Falberg.

133rd District, Democrats Tom McCarthy and Howard Austin; Republicans Jose Morales and Brian Banacowski.

134th District, Democrats Michelle Lyons and AmyMarie Vizzo-Paniccia; Republicans Yolanda Rodriguez and Ruben Coriano.

135th District, Democrats Mary McBride-Lee and Richard Salter; Republicans Kathy Torres and James Keyser; petitioning candidate Mary McBride-Lee.

136th District, Democrats Richard DeJesus and Alfred Castillo; Republicans Philip Flynn and Anthony Pizighelli.

137th District, Democrats Lydia Martinez and Milta Feliciano; Republicans Luis Colon and Ramona Marquez; petitioning candidate Karen Jackson.

138th District, Democrats Richard Paoletto and Mike Marella; Republicans Anthony D’Amato and Quentin Dreher.

139th District, Democrats James Holloway and Eneida Martinez-Walker; Republicans Cecil Young and Fred Williamson.



  1. I will be voting for two Democrats for sure for BOE. I wanted to vote for a Republican but found out they all support Vallas. I even heard the Finch admin would like to see a Republican win because they support Vallas. City sheriff, idk if I’m even voting for any candidate, I do not even know what purpose they serve. For city council I will for Blagys and I’m undecided between Torres and Stafstrom.

    1. donj–you realize Stafstrom must recuse himself on bonding issues, i.e. many city finance issues. Why do you want to elect someone who cannot vote on every issue? Also, Adam Wood has been going door-to-door for Stafstrom, which is pretty much a Finch endorsement. If you do not like this for the BOE, why would you consider it OK for a city council member?

      1. Jennifer Buchanan, it seems Rick Torres’ “ministry” has not convince donj. donj has shown he wants to get involved and ask questions but you want to challenge this young man’s decision.

        1. Ron, he said he was undecided, so I simply gave him something to think about. Do you have any positive things to say about which candidate you support to help donj have facts to consider as he makes his decision?

    2. Hi donj,
      I only said I could work with Vallas–that doesn’t mean I support him, but he’s who we’ve got and having temper tantrums about him and what he does (which is what happens now) serves no one.

      That being said, I also said (both at the forum at St. John’s Church and in the Post, the status of whether or not Supt. Vallas should continue to be employed is currently before the Connecticut Supreme Court. That body may determine to uphold a previous court decision which mandated his termination. However, in the event that body overturns the lower court’s decision and rules his qualifications are valid enough for him to remain the Superintendent, then the decision to keep him or not will have been made and we would have to abide by it. However, if that happens, I would advocate not renewing his contract when it expires around this time next year, as opposed to terminating it, which would require paying him hundreds of thousands of dollars just to make him leave. As the contract draws closer to expiration, I would use that time to try to find a new Superintendent who, preferably, is local. There is a lot to be said for leadership that is home grown and is already invested in the region and wants to see aspects of it (in this case, the Bridgeport school system) succeed.

        1. You’re welcome, Mr. Mackey. I think the only way to make it all work here (especially with respect to the Vallas matter) is to be pragmatic with what we do and honest about what we really want. Also, we need to be patient and do the best with what we’ve got, even if what we’ve got isn’t ideal, until we’re in a position to make a change for the better.

    3. If the State Supreme Court decision allows Paul Vallas to continue as the Superintendent of Bridgeport Schools, then I hope he decides to remain in this position and not sail away to calmer waters. The angry swells that churn about him here would prompt many to head to a different harbor.

      Paul Vallas is a nationally recognized and respected education administrator. Bridgeport is fortunate he has been able to make contributions to our school system and the needs of the city’s children. His five-year plan has merit and is rich in its micro/macro operational and financial development of the Bridgeport school system.

      During the campaign, I have encountered many supporters of Superintendent Vallas. They may well be the silent majority. We will find out tomorrow. The blind vilification of Paul Vallas, his plan and his achievements is unfair, mean-spirited and lacking objectivity.

  2. Outside looking in, Working Families Team.

    Stewart-Alicea, Will make the parents step up.

    Baraka, Didn’t fire Carmen Dickson, no reason to.

    Baker, Will work with Vallas to make positive changes in the Bridgeport School System.

    Rafael Mojica, For more positive change for Bridgeport.

  3. The good news is folks are having a hell of a time deciding who to vote for. That state of affairs translates into (in this election cycle): There are so many viable and great candidates up for BOE it is presenting a struggle for the voter.

    Bridgeport deserves this problem. We should have had this problem a long time ago.

    Go BPS!

  4. Hector,
    The question on the ballot is written in invisible ink … it has been the subject of much discussion on OIB … some coverage by the CT Post … but generally ignored by much of Bridgeport citizenry.

    Q. How many registered voters will show up at the polls to vote on Tuesday for change in terms of City Council representation and Board of Education members?

    Q. When we read the results the next questions will surround the issue of what any or all of this means about the Mayoral election in two years?

    We are facing a revaluation notification within a short time of November 5. What furor will that generate, and more importantly, how will presumably lower market values for Net Grand List property translate into a Mil Rate next budget season? Time will tell.

    1. You’re welcome, donj. Sometimes we just have to make the best of what we’ve got until we’re in a position to make a thoughtful change for the better. I think this is one of those times.

  5. This is the first election ever I have been so undecided right before the day I vote 0_o wow. I really think this is good for Bridgeport though, giving voters options. I want to vote for Rick but when I think about his tea party stance and Bridgeport being a big city I really have to think again and Stafstrom is new but I do understand he is connected to the machine so I once again have to think again. This is one of those moments when you have to hold your nose and just vote for one of them when you get to the polling site.

    1. Been there done that with regard to nose-holding and voting. I almost never vote straight party lines, the only sign in my yard last year was for Auden Grogins–and I am not a Democrat. I do my best to vote for people I think will stand up and fight one-sided, one-party rule–even if I do not agree with a lot of their personal beliefs. I believe if one is not happy with higher taxes, poor services and making national headlines about conflict of interest in elected officials, vote for those who are at the least not part of the current problem.

  6. donj, think of it this way. Torres and Blagys will shake things up! They will point out blatant misuse of taxpayer monies. They are not part of the machine and have no relatives employed by the city. They WILL NEVER let a $400K connected driveway get by, will hold accountable those who can’t manage snowstorms, and will keep the mayor’s cronies from awarding themselves raises with our money. (Just a few examples.) They will be financial watchdogs. Please spread the word and GOTV!

  7. Take a look at the candidate listing above. Do you see there are only eight Democrats running for Council this year who successfully ran in 2011?
    Do you recall Council persons Colon, Curwen and Marty McCarthy vacated their seats and Banta, Marella and Stafstrom were appointed (not elected) in their place? (So these three are facing their first voter decision in recent years.) The other nine new faces on the Democrat line are all newbies. What does that impend for City Council fiscal oversight, consideration of issues presented to them and choice of Council leadership? What may it mean in terms of opening up Committee meetings to public input? What will they do with their own stipend, full-time employee, and other expense line items to improve their performance? Per Charter wording, what info will they request for their understanding (and have posted on the City web site, for instance) and ours, to improve City governance and process? Time will tell.

  8. I am voting for Rick and Phil, too.

    During the time she has been on the City Council, Sue has demonstrated she is not going to buck the machine and there’s no reason to think she will change, and we do need a change.

    Steve seems like a decent guy with well-meaning intentions, but in my opinion, he is undone by his connections to the Democratic machine. He was APPOINTED by the current council which I think signals an expectation of compliance with the status quo. Additionally, he is an attorney for Pullman & Comley, the City’s bond counsel, which could be considered a conflict of interest under certain circumstances. That’s enough for me to rule him out.

  9. Sa-u-da

    I know Lennie is convinced this would be my answer but sorry to disappoint you. Voting straight D for BOE.
    Voting for the new kids on the block in the 132nd.
    Voting for Republican for Sheriff. I doesn’t make a difference so what the hell at least this way I can say I split my ticket.

    1. Bob Walsh, I’m in total agreement. I will vote for Sauda if I didn’t vote for anyone else but I will split my vote and I will also vote for two Republicans.

  10. But seriously people, take a good hard look at the Working Families slate for Board of Ed. If you want to be sure Rev. Moales is not back as President of the board, vote WFP and Dems.
    In spite of what the Republicans might say, I am not convinced Vallas will not weigh in on behalf of Moales. Have Finch offer up a Vice to the Republicans and before you know it Moales is back and everyone is asking how did that happen.

    1. Hi Bob,
      As an uncle to some special-needs kids, this is one Republican BOE candidate who would NEVER vote for a pimp who calls people “special ed” or “on Ritalin” to be Chairman. Moales is a PRIMARY source of the problem and needs to be brought down a peg.

  11. And since I don’t live in the 130th I don’t have a pony in that race.
    And I agree with Ron Mackey that Rick is really out there on the right, but …
    He and Phil would be only 10% of the council and they most certainly would liven up the meetings and debate on the council.
    Hmmm …

    1. My split vote will be for the 131st Councilman where I will vote for Jack Banta and the other seat is between Republicans David G. Goodman and Ethan Book and petitioning candidate Rafael Mojica. Sheriff position, I will vote for one Republican and for the BOE, it will be no doubt the WFP.

  12. I am not sure what vice Finch can offer up to impact my decisions on any issue. I have been clear throughout my campaign the lack of civility and distrust comes from both sides on the current Board and Rev. Moales has been a major offender. If we are serious about creating a productive, student-centered Board, the leadership positions must represent that change and not be a reminder of the divisive past.

    As for Paul Vallas, I agree, the decision on his qualifications rests with the Supreme Court and we should honor their pending decision. I have seen positive changes in our District over the last couple years. However, I remain very concerned about the sustainability of some initiatives since Vallas self-proclaims to be on a short timetable regardless of the court’s decision. I doubt putting so much in motion, then leaving before many plans take hold is beneficial for our District and our children. That is why the superintendent must function under they eyes of a vigilant Board, assuring the priorities remain focused on our students.

    Whether a certain individual is present at the table or not, I am more interested in working together to assure our children have the best educational opportunities. Good ideas can come from anyone, from any party. If they are reasonable and benefit our students, I will support them. If not, I will speak out and make sure the focus returns to what is most important, our kids.

  13. Seems like the Republicans are more interested in what the Supreme Court has to say about the superintendent than what the residents do. A real cop out. Either you support him or you do not.

    1. Bob,
      It’s all absolute, either true or false, either black or white, and there is no gray in between … my goodness. And you have offered little or no criticism on how the City side is operating financially, so is that a ‘cop out’ on your part? Or is it you do not care? Or is it too complicated? Either you care or do not, Bob, according to you.

      Where has Vallas been credited with bringing new money to the City from State programs being used by Hartford and New Haven? Where have the nine members of the BOE been on financial issues for education during the past two years? Have you or any member of the BOE of any party been in the face of Mayor Finch and the City Council for the ‘cop out’ in failing to fund City minimum budget requirement this year? Vallas has been attacked since he got here for what he was going to do … and most predictions have proved far wide of the mark. Any apologies? NO. Any resort to attacks on his actual moves in terms of credible dialogue with anyone who may disagree? NO.
      I believe the students, parents, most teachers and the system itself is in better shape than 22 months ago. My personal opinion? YES. But people have not bothered to inform themselves on the extent and breadth of the five-year plan, the funding to finance the plan and the governance activities appropriate to a BOE. Certainly not perfect and Vallas would agree. Time will tell.

  14. The Supreme Court will decide if the trial judged erred in her decision or overstepped her judicial authority. It will not rule as to whether Paul Vallas is qualified and competent. Just simply whether he meets the minimally established standards of the current state commissioner of education.
    The new board can terminate Vallas, they can rule he received the contract under false pretenses, fire him and tell him to sue or they can embrace his philosophy on education and privitization. So come on guys, quit ducking the question.

    1. It’s not a cop-out, Bob, it’s a reality. Unless you think it’s wise to buy him out to the tune of almost $300,000? I don’t. Just let the contract expire in a year, let him go with it (he’s already said he has no plans to stay here for the long term) and, in the meantime, find someone really good.

      The problem is, we always get left in the lurch when a Supt. gives notice he’s found his next, bigger, better job. Then we feel crunched to get a replacement and we never take the time to do a thorough, thought-out search. This time, we know what time we have–one year (if the Supreme Court rules he can stay). Let’s use that time to really look for someone good who is local and will be truly interested in the work because he/she is already a part of the region.

  15. OMG! Go-go and Ernest are out spreading the word to vote for Rick and Phil–that’s an amazing endorsement for E of E–or as some people like to call it, the other Black Rock …

  16. I do not understand how intelligent open-minded Democrats (and Republicans) can ignore their moral compass and consider voting for Rick Torres and his extreme tea party conservatism. Here is why I cannot vote for him. He is a hothead provocateur, which is the only role he would be able to play in the city council. He will not be able to get anything done for his constituents because of his negativity and will never be able to play any meaningful role in city government nor get any significant committee assignments. He has some patronizing ideas about how he would help poor black people in Bridgeport. Torres has what he calls his own “personal ministry” to save poor blacks from themselves telling them they are still “slaves in chains” to government assistance programs. He would do away with all government assistance to the poor. He had the elitist audacity to yell at a black man on the Bridgeport Now TV program, telling the man he did not know what was good for him. Torres says he knows this because of his self-absorbed view he is also “black inside.” He believes Bridgeport citizens who are Muslims danced in the streets after 911 and all Americans who practice Islam are suspected terrorists. How can any clearheaded compassionate person support this elitist negativity?–Madeline Dennis Raleigh

    1. Madeline,
      But Phil and Rick, despite other beliefs, will provide me with a reasonable answer on local issues. I have learned this from experience during the past 12 years as I became more involved in community activities.
      During the past five years when I have focused on financial issues primarily and their connection to inadequate check and balance governance activities I have learned Marty and Sue and now Steve are nice people, as neighbors. But Marty was conflicted by personal issues like earning a living. And Sue shut down on communication with me. Instead of seeing the problems I point out, she just saw me as the problem, so she chose to ignore me. Steve is a young professional and has worked hard to come up to speed rapidly. As the replacement appointee for Marty he must have the DTC stamp of approval that has worked out poorly for Council responsibilities and strength. And because of his employment, potential recusals around fiscal issues may disable him from 100% effectiveness.
      So Madeline, I may not agree with Rick on some political philosophical concepts he holds, but for the most part I find him to be day in and day out a “clearheaded compassionate person.” And if he is one of 20 on the Council, if his actions prove otherwise, his fellow members will not follow him. Isn’t it that simple? Time will tell.

    2. No Committee appointments? Seriously?

      I hope you do not mean the Committee on Budgets and Appropriations that has done nothing but raise taxes for the past two years yet the co-chair touts a 75% decrease in the proposed tax increase as an accomplishment?

      Like the Committee on Contracts that got us a $400,000 driveway?

      What do these two “significant committee assignments” have in common? Sue Brannelly.

      With this kind of representation on the committees how can you even use that as an argument?

      How about the very “significant” Committee on Education and Social Services committee–that has to be something we want representation on, right? Please read this:
      www .ctpost.com/default/article/Education-committee-plays-hooky-4790557.php
      Thanks, Marty!


      To think of all the things the 130th missed out on.

      What about the Ethics Committee–wait, we do not have one.

      Heaven forbid we lose our Liaison to the Library Board in favor of some different voices on the city council.

    3. As if they are all such a bunch of elder statesmen who are on the Council now. I say vote for Rick. He has passion, vision, intelligence and a proven track record. He is not a provocateur, he is an entrepreneur. He has common sense and he is Bridgeport all the way. Not a carpetbagger. Go Rick!

    1. hope I can sell my house–You don’t have to be obsessed with Torres to know anything about him. He has put it all out there himself. His words out of his own mouth. Heck, Rick Torres has run for every office except dog catcher over the past 10 years.

  17. Bepo In The Know, actually I think Torres is correct when it comes to gov and black people. as a black male myself I think welfare programs keep blacks from moving forward in life. I am a Democrat but I find myself becoming more and more a Libertarian, Ron Paul is one Republican I actually would vote for. Too many people in this country have a handout and entitlement mentality.

    1. donj–If you knew Rick, you would know he is fiscally very conservative with regard to allocating taxpayer dollars into programs that promote and support individual self sufficiency, and is in favor of completely supporting those who are unable to support themselves due to age and disability. He is far more of a libertarian than Tea Party conservative on all other issues, I doubt they would allow him into the “party” these days. Rick was removed from the RTC chair because he endorsed the Democrat Chris Caruso against Finch in the mayoral primary a few years ago–talk about someone who will lay his political life blood on the line to have nonconflicted candidates supported. To say he does not work with others and does nothing but provoke for the sake of provoking is pure baloney. Just wait until you see a man of the Islam religion passing out his literature and urging people to vote for Rick and Phil at Aquaculture School tomorrow. Stay tuned!

      1. Jennifer Buchanan, I must say I am truly surprised with your comment to donj, you said, “Just wait until you see a man of the Islam religion passing out his literature and urging people to vote for Rick and Phil at Aquaculture School tomorrow.” Why are you playing the race card on this young man? donj has express his views on religion many times on OIB so what is your point about “man of the Islam religion?” Well we know he is not white and the only reason this “man of the Islam religion” is passing out his literature and urging people to vote for Rick and Phil at Aquaculture School tomorrow is because he is getting paid. Ms. Buchanan, you can do much better than that.

        1. Ron, I am not familiar with donj’s religious views–missed those posts. Are you really saying the only reason someone of the Islam religion would endorse Rick is for money? I highly doubt that. My post was intended as a general reply to some very wrong comments in the threads–did not know religion was the race card, or I had even implied a race card. I am very sorry that was in any way taken that way by you or anyone else–my ignorance is most certainly showing. My humble apologies.

          1. Jennifer Buchanan, come on now, you can do better than that. What was the need to say “man of the Islam religion?” Religion is not the race card but tell me, what comes to someone’s mind when you said, “man of the Islam religion?” Do they think of a white male? Hell no, so why are you making that comment to a young black man?

    2. donj, you are only talking about one type of “welfare” and reference it about blacks, well, there is another type of “welfare” whites benefit from, which is corporate welfare, a term that analogizes corporate subsidies to welfare payments for the poor. Supporters of corporate welfare programs often justify them as remedying some sort of market failure. Often the market failures on which the programs are predicated are either overblown or don’t exist.

      Yet the federal government continues to subsidize some of the biggest companies in America. Boeing, Xerox, IBM, Motorola, Dow Chemical, General Electric and others have received millions in taxpayer-funded benefits through programs like the Advanced Technology Program and the Export-Import Bank. In addition, the federal crop subsidy programs continues to fund the wealthiest farmers.

  18. The best Rick Torres joke making the rounds of social media today: “Let him serve, not in office, but continue as he has served the people of Black Rock for decades–from a tray.”

    1. I have wondered who Madeline Dennis is! Now I have a much better idea. Thank you for this posting, Bepo. You shared the thoughts of an ignorant lonely woman, too lofty in her own mind, to understand the service concept that has guided Torres’ enthusiastic embrace of living and working in Black Rock. You may not agree with him on every item but you see him as an intelligent, generous and contributing neighbor.

      Madeline, when your social media device breaks and you find yourself in need, you’d better shout loud and long for help. You may get to see what your sophisticated humor earns you as a rescue party. Is it time for you to get away from the electronics and the social media? Time will tell.

  19. However you all feel, I hope you will vote tomorrow and do all you can to turn out your family, friends and neighbors. However this turns out, there is nothing more important than increasing the number of voters. Let’s surprise the people who would bury Bridgeport in bad jokes and slander and get a big, big turnout. That will count.

  20. The question in Black Rock is quite simple.
    Do you want a do-nothing councilwoman?
    Do you want a nepotistic/cronyistic councilman?
    iOr do you want two guys who will help hold the council’s feet to the fire with fiscal responsibility?

  21. Lennie,
    You are so busy with election coverage you must have missed this one from the CT Post.
    “A dozen people who showed up to protest what they called a slap on the wrist to a principal they hoped would be fired.”
    I guess this says it all. Oh wait, no it doesn’t.
    “Torres organized the rally in hopes that 150 to 200 people would show up Monday, including the parents of the two students Dickson reportedly dragged. They did not.”
    Or maybe this is the final word, “In addition to those wanting Dickson fired, the demonstration drew a smattering of Dickson supporters.”
    They couldn’t even get 10 people to show up in protest. So sad. And it seemed the two people who complained about Ms. Dickson were complaining about suspensions.
    So what is it, alleged physicality or excessive suspensions that really irk the parents?
    Where is JML when you need him? Time will tell.
    I guess it is difficult to capture abuse on camera when it isn’t happening.

    1. Troll, since when do you care about how many people show up for a protest given your lonely history to protest on your own? All those times you protested government abuses on your own with no backing don’t really matter? I guess you have nothing to worry about since you keep bringing up this issue, right? Bottom line is you care more about protecting political pals than you do the students.

      1. Lennie,
        Are you referring to my work on the City Council? I was representing my constituents at the time and based on my election successes they appreciated it.
        Remember LENNIE, I turned down the party endorsement to run on the challenge slate with Caruso. And even though Finch won the district in the primary, I prevailed.
        So that was no lonely protest. The no-shows there were mostly many of the other council members.

    2. Bob, I just wanted to clarify the “Torres” you mentioned in your post is Jose Torres, husband of Evelyn Torres, a security guard at Tisdale, NOT the one who is running for City Council from the 130th district.

    3. If the Irresponsible Parents were doing their jobs there would not be excessive suspensions so Dickson could do her real job, instead of being nothing but a high-priced glorified babysitter.

  22. Bridgeporteur, I am talking about your comment “proven track record,” now PLEASE tell me about Rick’s “proven track record.” Now all I’ve seen is a proven record of running for office and the voters saying, no thanks Rick. But you know a broken clock is right twice a day.

    1. The people with the “proven track record” of saying no to Rick, are they the same people who have a “proven track record” of saying yes to Finch? Those are the horses you are going to hitch your wagon to? Tell us Ron, how many times did you vote for Finch? Crazy is defined as doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.

      1. BOE SPY, thank you, you made my point, “Crazy is defined as doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results,” and that is what Rick Torres has done and that is his “proven track record,” he runs and the voters tell him, no Rick. But you know a broken clock is right twice a day.

  23. Rick deserves credit for his valiant efforts and running for office is a very American thing. It’s democracy. And you have to admire his tenacity, perseverance and love for Bridgeport.
    The other proven track record is his record in doing great things in his community with a landmark business and his success with the Black Rock Little League. He gets it right! He has a lot of creative ideas and he also has implemented them in many cases creating a community center in the Harborview Market. He has a great track record as a family man. He trudged through the snow during the blizzard to feed Black Rock.

    1. Bridgeporteur, that’s good but it has not caused the voters to vote him into office. Can you tell me what creative ideas he has brought to PT Barnum Apartments, I mean you do know PT Barnum Apartments is in the 130th district?


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