Who’s Your Horse? Plus: Why Council President Matters

If you’re a Republican who’s your candidate for governor? Lieutenant Governor Michael Fedele? State Senator John McKinney?

If you’re a Democrat who’s your candidate? Secretary of the State Susan Bysiewicz? Outgoing Stamford Mayor Dan Malloy? Ned Lamont?

And if you’re not a donkey or elephant, let us know your preference. Jodi Rell’s decision to reject another term throws the 2010 guber wide open. Dem candidates will be digging in their heels that much harder now that Jodi said see ya.

And what GOP candidates will step up?

Statement of Governor M. Jodi Rell, November 9, 2009

Governor M. Jodi Rell today issued the following statement:

“Thank you for joining me this afternoon. I want to begin by thanking everyone who made our Day of Caring and Compassion this past Saturday such a success.

“In particular, I want to thank our firefighters, who opened 15 fire stations across the state to serve as collection centers. They did a fabulous job, as did Girl Scouts, volunteers from FoodShare and Connecticut Food Bank and many, many others.

“Thousands of pounds of nonperishable food were collected and a great many of our families who are struggling in this economy will be helped because of everyone’s caring and compassion. The generosity of the people of Connecticut never ceases to amaze me.

“Second, I would like to share with you the news that–after much soul-searching and discussion with my family–I have decided not to seek re-election next year.

“The past five years I have had the honor–the incredible honor–to serve as the 87th Governor of Connecticut.

“I came in at a troubling time in our state’s history. We had been through much and we needed a new start, a renewed sense of faith in public officials and a recommitment to integrity in our government. Working together, we steadied our state and we passed landmark ethics reform and campaign finance reform legislation. I am very, very proud of that.

“I am humbled by the memories of my first days in office as I held ‘open houses’ all across the state so that the people of Connecticut could meet their new Governor. I met thousands of people at those open houses–and I have met thousands more during the last five years. It’s the best part of my job–meeting and helping people.

“From the beginning, I have always sought to be a citizen-Governor. At one open house, after standing for hours, I finally kicked off my heels and stood in my stocking feet greeting people. I’ll never forget the woman who said, while looking at my feet, ‘That’s why we like you–you’re normal; you’re like us.’ That was the highest compliment she could have given me.

“I’ll also never forget the reaction of people as they see me waiting in line with them at the grocery story or running out of the dry cleaners or, yes, shopping at Marshall’s, my favorite store. They’ll often say, ‘It’s nice to know our Governor shops like we do.’ I do. I always have. And I always will.

“I have never lost sight, from the first day–July 1, 2004, up to today–that I hold the public’s trust and that my job is to listen, to act, to lead and to fight–for that hurried mom with toddlers in tow who is waiting in line with me at the grocery store, or the tired father I see at the dry cleaners.

“It’s not the pundits or the politicians who live and breathe for party politics and constant campaigning that drive me serve and to work hard. It’s the people of Connecticut … .

“The gay couple who hugged me at Stafford Motor Speedway after I signed the first-in-the-nation voluntarily passed civil unions bill.

“The thousands of people from all over the state who called or sent cards or prayed on my behalf as I faced and beat breast cancer.

“The mother and father whose hands I held at the funeral of their child who gave their life in military service overseas.

“The children, bursting with energy and optimism, as we opened a new charter school or put in a new computer lab in their library.

“The woman whose cheeks were wet from tears of appreciation and relief as she signed up for the Charter Oak program–she finally had health insurance coverage after years without it.

“The commuter who shook my hand and quietly thanked me for all my efforts in finally addressing our mass transit needs with hundreds of new and refurbished rail cars, updated rail stations, new buses and more frequent service.

“The college students who have seen their public colleges and universities literally transformed before their eyes–both in and out of the classroom. The quality of academics has never risen so dramatically as in recent years–and so have the number of new and improved buildings at every school in our system.

“The state troopers who are better-trained and better-equipped than ever before–and better-staffed than in years. And they are working with a new Department of Homeland Security that leads the nation in preparedness.

“And our veterans: I look in the proud eyes of our veterans–whom we will honor tomorrow and must honor every day–as they see the incredible changes we have made at the Veterans Home and Hospital in Rocky Hill. Enhanced programs and services and a brand new, state-of-the-art hospital to serve those who courageously served to protect our freedoms.

“Yes, I have been honored–truly honored–to meet these and the other amazing people of Connecticut. To listen to them, to laugh with them, to cry with them, to celebrate triumphs with them and to always remember that I work for them.

“I love being Governor and I love the people of Connecticut. The challenges of the job have been–and continue to be–many; the rewards incalculable.

“But at some point you know inside that it is time to begin a new chapter in life.

“It was 25 years ago this month that I was first elected to office. Ten years as a state Representative from Brookfield. Ten years as Lieutenant Governor. Five years thus far as Governor. It’s time.

“I want to thank my family and my staff–for everything. I am blessed.

“I want to thank the people of Connecticut for allowing me the honor of serving as their Governor. I want to thank them for their support and their understanding, for their prayers and their returned love.

“I need their continued support and understanding and their prayers for the next 14 months. I still have a lot of governing to do–a lot of difficult issues to face in these tough economic times.

“I will not be a candidate–but I am the Governor and the work continues. Thank you.”

Speaking of Elections …

Hey, an election for City Council president will take place in early December. Anyone want the job?

Well, only 20 candidates are eligible. The council president is chosen among legislative peers. The council president is first in line to replace a mayoral vacancy (not that Mayor Bill Finch is going anywhere). It’s how John Fabrizi became mayor following Joe Ganim’s resignation after his corruption conviction in 2003.

Joe will be out of the can soon.

Tom McCarthy currently has the job and so far it does not appear anyone’s mounting a serious challenge to Big Mac, although East End councilman Andre Baker has been poking around for support.

Past City Council presidents include former State Senator Ernie Newton who’s scheduled to get out of the joint in 2010, Lisa Parziale, Fabrizi and Andres Ayala who’s now a state representative.

Some of the best fights–and long nights–have occurred on the night of the council president selection. Republican Bill Seres squeezed past Democrat Gil Hernandez when Republican Nick Panuzio was mayor. Nick left office with 55 days to spare in 1975 for a job in the Ford White House leaving Seres in charge.

When Ernie Newton got the nod, Lenny Paoletta, Republican mayor from 1981-85, had hoped to elect a GOP member. Lenny didn’t have the votes so Lenny did the only sensible thing to do (or maybe not) and threw his GOP votes to Ernie in the hope it would pay off to get his initiatives through. Be careful what you wish for. One day Lenny leaves town for a few days and Ernie’s interpretation of the City Charter left him in charge. Yikes! Ernest strolls into the mayor’s office and says here I am, it’s Ernie, acting mayor. Well, Lenny’s staff threw a fit, yell, scream, this and that, and the City Attorney’s Office got involved. Ernie was persuaded–if not convinced–to leave the mayor’s office.

The night of Parziale’s election in 1985 was a beauty as well. Democrat Tom Bucci was mayor and had promised the slot to a young Chris Caruso in a deal with North End political leader Richard Pinto, Caruso’s political godfather, in exchange for mayoral support. Problem on the way to the vote: Bucci encountered a peer revolt against Caruso. He was short a vote. Ed Gomes, now a state senator, and Parziale, both had split support. After withering rounds of roll call votes, Gomes threw his votes to Parziale. Presto. Lisa becomes council president. Bucci’s relationship with Caruso would never be the same, irrespective of Bucci breaking arms and buying votes for jobs to get Caruso elected Democratic town chair a few months later. Caruso maintained he had a deal and Bucci didn’t do enough to deliver the City Council votes for president.

Looks like McCarthy has the votes, but a couple of his council peers, Bob Curwen and Carlos Silva, have mayoral ambitions so ya never know what can happen.



  1. There is no reason to believe that McCarthy will lose the presidency of the council. He has led this group of lemmings for the past few years and together they have led the city to a standstill.
    The council has done absolutely nothing for the past few years while long-time civil servants have been fired or forced to retire. Under his leadership their friends and family have prospered with newly created jobs and positions.
    McCarthy will win going away and in all probability will have no serious opposition.

  2. Last week, the Connecticut Post ran a too-cute story about Sacred Heart University students being “arrested” for charity. Knowing the chuckleheaded public relations philosophy of most college administrators, this story was no-doubt pitched to the Post as a way to “balance” stories of drunken SHU louts all over Bridgeport.

    Today’s Post:
    “BRIDGEPORT — Sacred Heart University may have scored on the football field Saturday with a victory over Bryant College, but later that night several football players were on the losing end of an off-campus house party in the North End that police said was attended by more than 100 students.”

    Thank goodness the football team managed to restore the reputation of the student body.

    “Some of the fleeing students kicked police cruisers as they left, and one officer found the side mirror of his patrol car broken off.”

    Ya know, Bridgeport cops may be rough around the edges sometimes, but they are some of the nicest people I’ve meant anywhere. In all seriousness, however, they will not take kindly to someone messing up “the office.”

    ” ‘When we become aware of such problems, we respond quickly. Any student who violates our code of conduct is subject to swift disciplinary action, community service and parental notification. We will continue to vigilantly address any issues that arise and will not tolerate inappropriate behavior on or off campus,’ ” said Funda Alp, a university spokeswoman.

    Lies, lies, lies, lies.

  3. Good letter on connpost.com today from a new neighbor:

    I am writing regarding the front page article in the Nov. 7 edition regarding the sale of former Congressman Chris Shays’ home in Black Rock. My wife Mary and I are the new owners of the home and we are looking forward to moving into it.
    Current annual property taxes are about $31,600, which is more than 2 percent of the fair market value of the home. This is a shocking level and is over twice the percentage that we currently pay on our Mt. Vernon, Va., home, where we have public schools that are among the best in the country. Bridgeport’s property tax levels are so high that we had to think long and hard before we finally decided to purchase the home.
    Bridgeport is at a tipping point in connection with its property tax levels. Steps must be taken to promote economic development and constrain government spending. Property tax percentages must not be allowed to increase over current levels and steps need to be taken to reduce them over time.
    As the immediate past comptroller general of the United States and head of the U.S. Government Accountability Office, I can assure you that Mary and I will fight to promote greater transparency and accountability in order to make these goals a reality. Finally, we discovered immediately after our home closing that the city of Bridgeport does not have an information packet for new residents. Hopefully this embarrassment will be remedied soon.

    David M. Walker
    President and CEO
    Peter G. Peterson Foundation
    New York, NY

    Restrain government spending? Lower taxes?? In Bridgeport!?! Mr. Walker is undoubtedly an intelligent and accomplished individual, and deserves a sincere welcome for investing in our community. But it sounds like he has a lot to learn about his new hometown. I guess Chris never filled him in.

  4. “Bridgeport Now” LIVE Tuesdays at 8pm on Ch 88 Cablevision and Ch 90 on AT&T, on net at soundviewtv.org–News and discussions–

    – Call in to say what you think about the Mayor Finch poll numbers. Can it be true that Caruso would win if elections were held today for Bridgeport Mayor; or tie, taking into account 3% margin of error?

    Speaking of him, let me get this straight …
    – Councilman Caruso fought for a delay and more review regarding building another prison in Bridgeport (for juvenile girls), which our state governor wanted to do, seemingly without consulting residents …

    Caruso wins, and then Governor Rell resigns right after? They say it was budget strain issues which do exist; however some are saying it’s a bit too coincidental right after Caruso won this resident rights struggle.

    By the way, was Rell really a college dropout, as they say in the paper?

    Hmmm, those Republicans … reminds me of Kerik, appointed as nation’s top cop (homeland security chief) by Guiliani and Bush, only with a high school education. At least Rell not likely to end up in psychiatric ward in prison like Kerik is now. BTW, Guiliani’s business is vetting and Kerik is in the can for organized crime connections. You figure. Good thing we don’t have that type of thing in our city, right?

    Meanwhile, newcomers to the city are also calling for more accountability and transparency, and due diligence in Bridgeport, if you see the op end in the CT Post. The guy who bought Shays’ house wrote an article and you wished that Shays himself sounded like that!

    Some wonder if Shays could have done something for Bridgeport instead of caring about faraway places like Iraq, where we occupy a country based on false pretenses with no victory parade. This new resident sounds like he really wants development and to reduce taxes. That’s refreshing. There is still hope.

    – Also on the program, time willing, are the TOP TEN reasons why DEMS won’t be voting for Obama again.

  5. I think he got taken for a ride–paying much too much for the house.

    I also think he sound like he might decide to run for mayor–and win.

    The Q poll shows Ned Lamont only 3 points behind Suzy B–26 to 23–among Democrats, with Malloy at 9%. This was only days after he announced and Suzy B. and Malloy have been out there forever.

    Ned’s going to win the nomination and the election–he’s by far the most qualified to handle the huge budget problems the next governor will have to face.

  6. Mr. Walker failed to take into consideration what the price of a similar waterfront home in Southport or Westport would be in comparison to property taxes. Also, Virginia is for lovers, and has a county form of government.

    Mr. Walker is a smart guy and is right about a Welcome to Bridgeport package. This could be a form and function of the Bridgeport Board of Realtors in concert with the city. This goes to straight to the point that Lennie always write about. Bridgeport needs to be more of a marketing company.

    If I’m running a business or non-profit in the city, the first thing I do today is send a welcome note and a gift certificate to Mr. & Mrs. Walker.

    I need my Walker! My Johnny Walker!!!

  7. David Walker is right: Bridgeport’s residential property taxes are way too high. But he bought a terrific home in a beautiful location … for a fraction of the cost of comparable properties elsewhere in Fairfield County.

    Once he moves in, he’ll realize he got a good value; the benefits of living there will exceed the price he had to pay. Add to that, the character of the neighborhood and the quality of the people, and the sting of taxes should become almost bearable.

    I’ve never met David Walker. But he has the type of background and experience that could have a positive impact on the future of Bridgeport. Let’s hope he decides to stay.

    1. HEY Hubler, walk over to the Walkers and bring along two Voter Registration cards. Tell him to come over to OIB, the only webzine where you don’t have to be a voter to have an opinion.

  8. *** DC sniper to be put to death tonight in Virginia; about time! *** It’s only been 8 yrs. with tax dollars supporting this creep in jail. *** They should do his stepson when he turns 25 yrs. old as well. *** “NO CHANCE OF PAROLE” if they don’t! ***

    1. Spoken like a former Corrections Officer!
      You kill somebody for killing somebody, what does that make you?

      Hey Mojo, what should we do with the Fort Hood Shooter?

      1. *** Try him, convict him, & let one family member have 3 mins. of personal say on sentencing day. 30 days before execution day, have one member from each family (if willing) take an 8 hrs. weapons safety & shooting course to prepare them to be on the actual execution’s firing squad detail if they wish. Last day, last meal & prayer, cuffed & blindfolded with “America the Beautiful” playing on a small speaker nearby so only the condemned man can hear it! When the song ends, then only the actual sounds of live ammo fire will fill the air, followed by a Dr’s life check, then off to the state’s crematory, with the remaining human ashes put in a urn and given to the condemned person’s family if requested. *** “NO MEDIA ALLOWED” during any parts of the execution! ***

      1. *** For me, he died in human “spirit” the day he was convicted of murdering innocent people! *** As “yelled” in prison when escorting any capitol felony convicted man from a high-profile segregation unit, “make way, dead man walking”! ***


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