More Coerced Endorsements Courtesy of Party Boss Mario Testa

John Gomes announced on Jan. 31, 2024, that he will not concede the mayoral race to Joe Ganim after a Democratic primary redo ( CT Examiner).


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To the Editor:

The residents of Bridgeport have always known who truly wields power in our city, now the voters of Connecticut and most of the free world know this as well.

Like Governor Lamont, when Party Boss-man Mario Testa said “jump”, Greenwich residents U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal and Congressman Jim Himes said, “how high?” What do all of these men and Senator Chris Murphy have in common with DTC Chair Mario Testa and Mayor Joe Ganim… all of them honored preeminent ballot harvester Wanda Geter-Pataky with a community service award at the State Democratic Women’s Leadership Brunch, most have used the same Ganim allied political vendor, Park City Consulting LLC for “Get Out the Vote” and absentee ballot activities for their campaigns, and none of them live in the city Bridgeport.

It is truly extraordinary to watch a modern-day Boss Tweed at work. The most powerful elected officials in Connecticut who chose to remain silent throughout the Bridgeport ballot controversy suddenly decided to bend the knee and kiss the ring of Chairman Testa, because he threatened to withhold support of his absentee ballot operation in future re-election campaigns.

While the “wheels of justice” are turning slow enough for the political beneficiaries of the Testa-Ganim absentee ballot machine to secure their next election win, the voters of Bridgeport continue to suffer national and international humiliation, election disenfranchisement, and in some instances coercion in exchange for housing. 

The bad actors who continue to cheat, plead the 5th, and intimidate voters fear no reprisals as the three Ganim campaign operatives from 2019 that include Wanda Geter-Pataky and City Council-member Alfredo Castillo still continue their tactics.  Wanda remains Vice Chair of the Bridgeport DTC on paid administrative leave from city employment for 160 days and Alfredo Castillo remains on all city council committees following a new SEEC complaint and several incidents of threatening. Securing the integrity of elections, prosecuting operatives who continue to violate the law will prevent future challenges, court ordered “redos”, and state appointed election monitors. Four court ordered new primaries in a six-year timespan by three superior court judges are too many for one municipality.

Beyond the recent ballot scandal, it’s been 27 years since the Congress Street bridge got stuck in the open position during the first Ganim administration in 1997, and Joe Ganim 2.0 is nowhere closer to constructing the bridge that divides downtown from the East Side.  The failure to build a new Congress Street bridge after over a quarter of a century exemplifies the unrealized potential and broken promises of Ganim and other elected officials who have collectively failed to deliver for Bridgeport residents, yet rely on their votes every two, four, or six years to keep themselves employed and living in the friendly confines of the Connecticut Gold Coast.

Connecticut still ranks last in balance of payments, meaning CT taxpayers make the largest contributions to the federal government per capita and receives the lowest amount of federal spending of all fifty states according to the Rockefeller Institute.  This means the Connecticut Congressional delegation is the worst at bringing tax dollars back to the residents of Bridgeport. This would help explain why Bridgeport does not have a working bridge after 27 years, numerous contaminated properties (brownfields) like Remington Arms, and a harbor that has not been dredged in sixty years,  There is no Congress Street bridge and no deep water port in a city named Bridgeport.

According to a recent Axios data report, Bridgeport has one of the highest race gaps in home values of all cities in America, which might explain how the Mayor could buy a 7,000 square foot home in Black Rock for $333,000, reduce the property taxes by $20,000 through questionable means, and turn around and sell the house for $1.13 million two years later. The recently commissioned state-funded study confirmed that Bridgeport metropolitan area “remains among the most segregated in the nation in terms of race and ethnicity and among the highest in income inequality.”

It should come as no surprise that the privileged class is supporting and endorsing one of their own after thinly veiled threats from the most powerful political powerbroker in Connecticut. I was not born in America, I did not live in the rural town of Easton, I did not attend a private high school, or go on to law school to work at my family’s law practice. As an immigrant from Cape Verde, who attended Bridgeport public schools and the University of Connecticut, who speaks five languages, raised four daughters in Bridgeport, and worked in the private sector for a multinational corporation as well as the public, I do not fit the profile to earn the support of the Governor and the Connecticut Congressional delegation. Voters, remember this day when these politicians are up for re-election. To the people of Bridgeport, I appreciate your patience and I humbly thank you for your support.

Gomes, a Democrat, is running to unseat incumbent Bridgeport Mayor Joe Ganim