Sunday, November 08, 2015

Hartford And Bridgeport, The Golden Age Of Urban Hegemony


It should have been obvious that Luke Bronin, who prevailed over incumbent Mayor Pedro Segarra in a primary, would be the next Mayor of Hartford. In one-party Democratic towns, the victor of a Democratic primary most often wins general election contests.

A Hartford paper noted that Mr. Bronin had amassed a campaign war chest of $937,377, an abundance of riches the paper terms “unprecedented,” by which we should understand “indecently obscene.” Mr. Bronin’s competitors in the Mayoralty race – Republican candidate Theodore "Ted" Cannon and Working Families Party candidate Joel Cruz Jr., running for Mayor as an unaffiliated candidate, were impoverished, relatively speaking.  Mr. Cruz raised $19,587, Mr. Cannon $1,500, spending  $1,224 mostly on lawn signs. The money Mr. Cannon spent attempting to reach the hearts and minds of voters will surprise the same sort of people who will be astonished to discover there is a Republican Party in Hartford.

Truly, Mr. Bronin has become the Linda McMahon of urban Democratic Party hegemonists.  Since Mr. Bronin is not himself a multi-billionaire drawing for his campaign on his own resources, one must suppose he has friends in high places who do not mind delivering their fair share to his campaign. Outspent more than two to one by Mr. Bronin, incumbent Democratic mayor Segarra must often have wondered during his primary campaign from whom Mr. Bronin got his list of potential campaign donors.

Jonathan Pelto, nursing a fugitive suspicion that Mr. Malloy wishes to eviscerate the political power of unions, looked into the matter and determined that Mr. Bronin, “a Dannel Malloy wannabee,” has been drawing campaign contributions from the usual Democratic wells: “And now Luke Bronin is collecting big bucks from developers of the Hartford Dunkin’ Donuts Stadium.”

After the reporting deadline for the Democratic primary had passed, Mr. Bronin began to collect large campaign contributions from “contractors hired to build the new baseball stadium” for the Hartford Yard Goats, a ball team stolen from New Britain. Generous contributors to Mr. Bronin’s campaign included “Centerplan Development, Centerplan Construction Company, JCJ Architecture, Freeman Companies, BETA, McDowell Jewett and Greenskies Renewable Energy.” CEO and President of AI Engineers Abul Islam was a recidivist contributor. Mr. Islam’s company has been chosen to build upscale apartments in downtown Hartford, a $17 million publicly subsidized project, and the gent is no doubt very grateful to the prevailing regime.

The most outstanding and often rewarded virtue of Democratic Party urban hegemony is gratitude. Mr. Bronin, once Mr. Malloy’s General Counsel, was very grateful for Mr. Malloy’s endorsement a day after his primary win. Mr. Malloy was grateful to Mr. Segarra for not having made an awkward fuss concerning his non-endorsement by Mr. Malloy during the primary, and he hoped to bring all the snarling cats together for the general election. “I'm here to add my voice to the 55 percent of the folks who chose the team behind me, including its leader, Luke Bronin," said Mr. Malloy.

Mr. Malloy’s gratitude towards another Democratic mayor who challenged a sitting mayoral incumbent in Connecticut’s largest city, winning both the primary and the general election, was more tempered and late in coming. The recently elected Mayor of Bridgeport, Joe Ganim, is without question the black sheep of Democratic Party urban hegemony in the state’s largest cities, and he has a record – seven years in the clinker – to prove it. It took Mr. Malloy almost a full day to warm to Mr. Ganim, arrested, prosecuted and found guilty and sentenced for corrupt political peculation on a grand scale.

Would Mr. Malloy, whose conscience is finely calibrated, be able to do business as usual with the Democratic version of former Governor John Rowland?  It only took a couple of days for Mr. Malloy’s heart to melt. He is after all a governor who believes in second chances for released felons. Certainly on Mr. Ganim’s part, all was forgiven. A phone call broke the ice: “It just moved us miles ahead,” Mr. Ganim said of his post-election conservation with Mr. Malloy: “Look, in the course of any public campaign, people take positions and say things.” Roy Occhiogrosso, who in the past has moved from Global Strategy Group, where he is a VP (Vice President), to the Malloy administration, where he was a VIP (Very Important Person), and back again, ventured, “I think it might be awkward at first. I think the tricky part is over... To penalize him [Mr. Ganim] would be to penalize the people of the city of Bridgeport, and nobody wants to do that.”

In a one party state, all political friendships and animosities are temporary. Mark Twain got it right: “To lodge all power in one party and keep it there is to insure bad government and the sure and gradual deterioration of the public morals.”
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