Just when you thought no other controversy could educate the public about the machinations of the Board of Education, Ben Walker, elected in 2015, has resigned triggering another 30-day period for the other eight school board members to fill his position. If that does not happen Mayor Joe Ganim has the power to appoint.
Walker, part of a minority voting bloc with board member Maria Pereira, had surreptitiously switched his party affiliation from Democrat to Libertarian more than a year ago.
The retired Greenwich music teacher ran with Pereira and Dennis Bradley on Joe Ganim’s mayoral line. Walker was up for another four-year term, as Pereira, this year. Pereira has not announced if she’ll run again while Bradley resigned recently following his November election to the State Senate.
Two weeks ago, Joseph Lombard was selected by the board to fill Bradley’s vacancy. School board elections operate under state-mandated, minority-party representation which means six Democrats must be complemented by three from another party or unaffiliated. As a result this timeline was announced with the required provisions for a replacement.
Lombard was appointed as an unaffiliated voter under the assumption that he fulfilled that requirement. But when that occurred, Republicans John Weldon and Chris Taylor as well as Libertarian Walker had already fulfilled that regulation. So, how did it happen that a Democrat did not replace a Democrat? No one thought to ask Walker about his affiliation change. Shazam!
Walker was a congenial presence on the school board with refined Texas articulation. If Pereira was the fire, Walker was the ice, choosing his words carefully and thoughtfully, albeit voting against the majority bloc on a variety of school board issues including recent changes in board policies. Walker had not been involved in city politics prior to his election.
More recently Walker expressed frustration in a February Facebook post about board policy changes:
This is how Democracy dies in Bridgeport. Notice the suspension of the rules? Notice the new bylaws replacing the old? No vetting in committee. No discussion. All because (board chair) John Weldon and his cabal are afraid of “words”. He will usurp power that steels my vote, my voice. Stifle the minority voice! He will now proclaim himself Emperor of the BBOE!
He followed up with this OIB-published commentary.
What a loss for the Bridgeport Board of Education, the City of Bridgeport, but more importantly, for the 20,400 students in our schools.
Ben truly cared about our students. He was respected by staff. He was the most organized, prepared Committee Chair I have ever seen in my 10 years involved with the school board.
He had a perfectly organized binder with tabs, and gave a thorough committee report at regular meetings.
In my ten years involved with the school board, no committee has put forth more policies, programs and initiatives that were completely and thoroughly vetted in committee than Ben’s Teaching & Learning Committee.
I knew he was frustrated and considering resigning, I told him he wouldn’t be quitting the school board, he would be quitting on our kids. I urged him not to do it.
We lost someone of Ben Walker’s caliber, yet we are left with school board members like Chris Taylor, John Weldon, Hernan Illingworth, Sybil Allen and Jessica Martinez who have yet to offer a SINGLE policy, initiative or program that directly benefits our students, parents and staff.
Thank you for your service Ben.
Our 20 thousand school children will now have to sleep with one eye open, thanks to Ganim.
My sense is that between John Weldon and Dr. Johnson’s absolute capitulation, Ben was not willing to go on.
John Weldon is literally trying to stop us/me from speaking at committee meetings we do not serve on. The most dedicated, knowledgeable and respected school boards members are/were Ben, Joe and myself, yet we are being blocked by Weldon from fulfilling our responsibilities as elected school board members. I am currently researching, but have yet to find, a single school board in CT that prohibits non committee members from participating in all committee meetings.
The City Council has TWENTY members and they are all allowed to ask questions.
I know that Ben Walker had absolute disdain for John Weldon. Ben and I had differences, but I never once doubted his passion for our students, his integrity and honesty. I never once worried he would betray us like Dave Henessey, Andre Baker and Dennis Bradley. He could not be bought off by the corrupt DTC.
Ben can now enjoy retirement and have some peace. 🙂
Wow 😮Maria that’s the nicest thing I have heard you say about anyone on the Board of Education. I can only believe it’s because he voted the way you wanted him to Vote. Since you and him were in the minority and voted as a block against the other board you have turned on.
Ernie, Ben and I did not always vote the same way. In fact, I referred a policy to his committee and was totally opposed to an important provision in the policy that I felt negatively impacted parents in JFK.
I debated it repeatedly in his committee, but he wouldn’t budge. When it came to the full Board a few weeks ago I placed my objections on the record and abstained from voting on the matter.
I wrote what I wrote about Ben because it is 100% true. The Board, and more importantly our students, lost one of the most thoughtful, intelligent, knowledgeable , honest and ethical school board members I have witnessed in my ten years of involvement with the school board.
Ben, Thanks for your service. Its so sad that the Board of Education has become so political. I think it has forgotten its mission. Over the last 10 years its been used as a spring board for higher office. Everyone on the board wants to be chief. Everybody wants to be right or blame one other no matter who the Mayor might be at that time. Remember the Mayor only picks a person when the board doesn’t do its job by interviewing candidates and picking someone. If the board learned to work together in stead of self interest may we would have a working board fighting for the children and not fighting each other. I hope in this up coming election we find people who will work together to improve our school system. No amount of money, even if the school board got all the money its asking for if people cant work together it means nothing!
You literally wrote all of that, and said absolutely nothing. The Merry Band of Idiots that are controlled by the Dem Machine that you cosign and support have the votes to push any agenda that they want.
As Maria has stated nothing of substance has come from that group. Folks from the outside can clearly see that Maria (a former BPS parent), Joe (a BPS Parent), and Ben (an educator) took the time to thoroughly vet issues in front of them, and vote in the interest of the 20,000 plus students in BPS.
It kills me that the melanated members of city leadership consistently capitulate to the “powers” that be for personal or familial gain with total disregard for the citizens and voters that put them in office.
Eric Alicea, you are 100% right, both mayor Finch and Ganim and the DTC have always enjoy a 6 to 3 Super Majority, they can do anything they want. The Democrats with the mayor being the leader and the City Council as his background singers have chosen to under fund the education of the students in Bridgeport
I’m not going to respond to you and Maria anymore. Eric just remember i got signatures for you in your run for board of education. Remember Joe Mario didn’t support me i had to primary my way on to the ballot. Neither did the town committee support me. Let me set the record straight no one in my family in the 30 plus years of service has ever had a JOB with the City.
You are such a liar. Eric Alicea ran for the Board of Education in 2013 on the WFP line which does not require any petition signatures. In fact, you CANNOT petition onto the WFP line. The only way to get their line is if you are ensorsed.
The only time a Mayor has ever filled a vacancy on the school board is when your buddy, Dennis Bradley, refused to call regular meetings so a vote could be taken. In all three situation we never cast a single vote to fill a vacancy because Mayor Ganim, Mario Testa, and Dennis Bradley colluded to ensure no meeting was called to vote on filling the vacancies.
Mayor Ganim appointed three school board members. They all performed terribly. He appointed Annette Negron that had a horrific attendance record. He appointed Rafael Fonseca who had a horrible attendance record. And he appointed John Weldon who has not done one thing to better student outcomes. Not one.
Democracy is messy. We do not have to agree because the point of having a nine member school board is that there should be different points of view and healthy debate. If we all agreed;what would be the point of a nine member school board? We would only need one school board member if that was the case.
I have never been scared to debate an issue. Not once.
Good governance is about hearing different points of view, debating those views, and making decisions based on a majority vote.
This is a concept that absolutely frightens the corrupt DTC, Mario Testa and especially John Weldon. I have never seen an elected school board member so frightened of different view points, the public, and who is so focused on power. Not even Moales behaved in this manner. In fact, Kenneth Moales actually relished debating issues.
Research about adequately funding public schools and how it positively impacts student outcomes completely debunks your position on school funding.
If we are not adequately funded this year, it will be Edison and Hall schools that will be first to go. That directly impacts your constituents.
Ernie, I assume you mean when you say, “No Amount of Money, you mean that money won’t fix the broken Bridgeport educational system irrespective of how much it is given.
My question brother to you is, how would you know this? The Bridgeport school system hasn’t been fully nor adequately funded in decades so you or no one else could possibly know the implications of a fully funded school system. My brother you need to quit your hyperbole because it does a disservice to the youth of Bridgeport who are struggling for just an adequate education and it further does a disservice to the members of the BBOE that are fighting for the education of Bridgeport children. If you want to do something for the children of Bridgeport then you need to take your influence to the CC and get them to fully fund education in the city that you proclaim to love and for the children that you say you are concerned about.
No Amount of Money are the words of white conservatives that want to deny our children the quality education that they provide their own children. C’mon man you know better than that and quit absolving Mayor Ganim and Mario of their culpability in the dysfunction of the Bridgeport school system because as a longtime politician you no better than that.
I’m not even going to respond to you because you know almost half of our budget goes to education. the other half goes to Police, Fire, Public works, Salaries etc. I wish our whole budget could go to education but you know as well as i do it does not. Until Hartford fixes the cost sharing on what towns and cities get from hartford with the ECS its not going to change. You should know that. Hopefully the state will move to make sure Bridgeport gets it fair share this year.
74% of the Bridgeport Board of Education comes from the state specifically to fund our public schools. The city of Bridgeport contributes ONLY 24% which is the lowest percentage contribution in the entire state.
Ernie is delusional.
Sorry. Only 26% of our funding comes from the City of Bridgeport.
Our budget give or take is 557,429,645 out of that The Bd Of Education Share is 229,908,785 which leaves 327,520,860. The City Council now must fund Police, Fire, Public Works etc. So if anyone is delusional Maria you fit the Bill.
The Board of Education’s Operating Budget is as follows:
$247,900,000 for 2018/2019. The City only contributed $65,490.631. The State provided $182,409,369 specifically for the Bridgeport Public Schools.
No municipality in the entire state contributes LESS to its public schools on a percentage basis. NONE. Absolute Facts.
Please do not reference the incompetent management of the BPD which OVERSPENT its overtime line item by over $2,200,000 and is on track to overspend it by $1,900,000 this year.
If ANY administrator EVER did that in the Board of Education I would be urging the Superintendent to terminate the employee. The consideration of a promotion for that individual would be a non-starter.
Highly paid employees funded with tax payer dollars need to be held accountable.
Maria i’m sure we could find misusing fund from the Bd of Ed.You cost the Bd of Ed 200,000 dollars remember!
Once again, you are delusional.
Maria, I provide to OIB readers a chart I have constructed base on a Pie-Chart in the 2018 CAFR (audit) recently released and offered by CFO Ken Flatto. He notes 2017 and 2018 expenditures totaling over $407 Million each year. (Check the charts on page 10 as well. Where are his footnotes?)
Local + State + Federal = Total funds for expenditure (ignore minimal private funds)
What are the Real Expenditure Totals
For Bridgeport Schools from all Revenue Sources
*As reported in the 2018 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report based on Blum Shapiro audit dated December 27, 2018. (Page 11 Chart) Assuming balanced budgets include the revenues from the sources below as shown, what are the operating or capital revenue sources to equal $407 Million?
Source: 2017 2018
Total Expended $407 Million* $407Million*
1) Bridgeport-Prop Tax $63,383, 570 $ 64,771,163
2) State of CT:
ECS $ 169,461,017 $168,784,419
Early Childhood $ 13,062,924 $ 13,264,447
Dept of Education $ 40,858,773 $ 37,450,903
School Construction $ 37,542,927 $ 39,399,400
Direct and Pass Through $ 28,000,036 $ 27,309,064
(State of CT)
Dept of Agriculture $ 15,756,437 $ 16,256,826
Revenue Source Missing
From this Chart??? Or
Stated OVER Expense? $ 39 Million?? $ 40 Million??
OIB readers. Do the math. Where are the $39 or $40 Million amounts to be found today. The BOE is initially only looking to recover $16 Million.
In my opinion, the City does not wish taxpayers to understand the story, so sometimes they use percentages, other times real numbers, and then sometimes create a category like “Miscellaneous”. Those who attempt to be students are accused of “being beyond the pale” i.e. going too far and are warned not to contact the CFO who has at least one very observable error on page 11 when he indicates that the 2017 and 2018 expense totals were each over $407,000.00 (sic). Time does tell.
Don, you notice that Ernie is saying, ” Remember Joe Mario didn’t support me i had to primary my way on to the ballot. Neither did the town committee support me,” now let’s look at the entire record, how many times has Ernie been on the bandwagon of Joe, Mario, Ralph Ford his district leader during his time in office compare to how many times that they didn’t support him. Don, you’re about No Amount of Money are the words of white conservatives along with Stop and Frisk that Rudy Giuliani made his political reputation on as the mayor of New York City.
Almost every person commenting on the latest incident, the loss of a respected, competent, dedicated man, is, in my humble opinion, playing a blame game. The entire Board of Education members, now, and in the recent past are responsible for the toxic chaos that is constantly present. Shame on the individuals who might have capitulated to the dictate of certain higher-ups, and double shame on the “sheep” who followed. Is it any wonder that Ben resigned? The larger question is how did he last as long as he did while trying to work with selfish/ego-driven individuals. I won’t call anyone by name because they all bear a certain amount of blame for this outcome. I heard something this morning that I pray is a rumor, because if not, I repeat again that this City needs outside help where the Board of Education members are concerned. There are the lives and futures of children involved while so-called adults show up to play power games with each other. Well-intentioned participants of OIB could share opinions as to how this tragedy occurred; they can blame Finch, Testo, Ganim, and anyone else they choose to throw in, but the reality is that we have a Board so consumed with battling each other that it shadows whatever role the above-mentioned might have played. If every member of the Board had a true conscience and soul, they would submit their resignations immediately. Let’s start over because it can’t get any worse!!!!!
I am sorry to disagree with you Lisa when you state that “it can’t get any worse!!!!” At best that is a hopeful statement. What provides hope that we are at the bottom and ready for an upward trajectory?? Was the departure of Dennis Bradley from the school yard such a marker? Perhaps it was the nomination of Mr. Lombard(i) sic? As of this moment I have heard no report on his activities or comments on behalf of his new responsibility to the 20400 youth in the City. The resignation of Ben Walker can encourage no observer, casual or watchdog, to conclude to agree Lisa, at least in my opinion.
Two weeks ago I called on two charts in the 2018 CAFR as examples of news from Chief Finance Officer Ken Flatto that needed research and explanation. Page 11 of the CAFR attempted to tell us that 2017 and 2018 educational expenditures totaled $407 Million each year (yet no BOE member or CC member could recall such a number as accurate in the past two weeks). Second problem: Ken says $407 Million equals 49% of the COB budget in those years. If true, then our City actual budget expenditure exceeded $810 Million. Where is such a number located in City financial reports? Can we trust that which CFO Flatto sends out? (Lennie is holding my comments, perhaps for good reason, but I have $10 gift cards left from my original offer two weeks ago.) DD, Burger King, Boston Chicken? Time will tell.
OIB readers, I actually found about 90% of what I could ascertain were credible BOE expenses that totaled about $366 Million of the graphically stated $407 Million. The BOE is looking to find $16 Million to become upright once again. Who wouldn’t wish to check out the $40 Million to see if the $16 Million might be present but not transparent? Can we hope? Can we do the math? Where is oversight in the City? Perhaps in the same place as annual evaluations of police officers? (Without which, how does the PD go about promotions, etc.?? I know, your head starts hurting, doesn’t it? Time will tell.
Lisa, how could you possibly post about why Ben did or did not resign? You do not interact with him, you are not colleagues nor friends, yet you’re attempting to take a position as to why he resigned.
I know why he resigned because although we have had multiple conversations about it over the last few weeks, he actually sent me a detailed and lovely email as to why he made the decision to resign this weekend.
The main reason was John Weldon. It escalated with Weldon’s coup with the illegal bylaws he and his cohort passed. John Weldon is a horrible chair that cannot run a meeting, doesn’t understand Robert’s Rules of Order, or at least pretends not to, does not understand the Freedom of Information Act, nor the CT state statutes that govern public schools. The only thing Weldon cares about is exercising power.
The second reason was Dr. Johnson and her complete capitulation to Weldon and his cohort.
The machinations with the cancellation of yet another regular meeting that occurred on Friday was the final straw.
There were some personal issues as well that I will not share here.
Please don’t post about why Ben Walker resigned because you wouldn’t know unless Ben shared that with you personally.
I feel sorry for you. You love to not except the fact that in 2017-2019 I run without help from the same people you dislike. Ron you live in the 131st district you can’t vote for me. If i was you i would stay a miserable person like you are. Remember if it wasn’t for OIB you would not have a life. Please let me make this as clear as I can. I don’t give a rats ass what you think Ron all you can do is talk about what you did 30 years ago. Many of those individuals are either Retired or Dead and the few you are still alive cant stand you.
Ernie, you are a legend in your own mind. I’m still waiting for your list of accomplishments to compare with Maria in fact with other council members seeing that you are looking for a pad on the back.
Maybe if you came to a few City Council Meeting or some committee meeting you would know. So since you like researching things just maybe you should call the City Clerk office and ask for Mike Boyer. To give you some help on what i’ve done going on two years! No Ron you need the pad on the back. On the things you did 30-40 years ago. Its just sad that the firebird have no respect for at all. so you are the legend in YOUR ON MIND!
Ernie, most people in Bridgeport should know more about your positive accomplishment instead of negative, your accomplishments should just roll off of your lips like a song, I see where there are negative things about your life but neither you or anybody else is posting anything positive about you. I’m your that you have higher political ambition in fact you have mention that you would like to be mayor, ok, well what have you done for voters City wide vote for you, oh that’s right they should call the City Clerk office and ask for Mike Boyer to find out.
I’m hearing that our Superintendent may Resign. I truly hope not. I know she not only has to deal with Money Problems, but a Board that has been dysfunctional for God know how long. I sure it spans Maria’s tenure. I plan on calling her to find out. Dr. Johnson has tried to be a professional while dealing with people who cant work together for the betterment of our children. Its always been about who’s RIGHT!
You’re absolutely correct Ernie if indeed Superintendent Dr. Johnson is contemplating resigning from the BBOE. From all I’ve read about Dr. Johnson she had impeccable credentials, a keen vision of direction she hoped to implement for the good of children of Bridgeport and a work ethic that was needed to move forward the education of our children.
If she is in fact resigning then it’s a damn shame that she didn’t get opportunity to fulfill that vision. I’m sure the dysfunction of the BBOE board played a big part in her supposed resignation and I’m equally sure that the game of Bridgeport politics played a big part as well. The good Doctor just wanted to come to Bridgeport and change the culture of Bridgeport’s failing schools and substandard education, but what she got in return is was dysfunctional city government and boards, top to bottom, that made her vision for the Bridgeport children impossible to achieve. There are absolutely no winners if indeed the Superintendent is planning to resign and the biggest losers, for all of you that profess to care about the children’s education, is the CHILDREN of Bridgeport that you profess to care about.
THAT’S A DAMN SHAME!
You do not know Dr. Johnson and what drives her decisions on a personal level. I have had many conversation with her over the last 20 months.
Dr. Johnson is an intelligent, pragmatic, realist who has been unhappy for sometime. As I stated before, she loathes John Weldon. That is a fact. It is not opinion. I have urged her not to resign on several occasions over the last 18 months.
It has become too much for her, and even I can see it. This position is not a good match for her. There are personal factors at play here as well.
Let her have peace.
I gave Dr. Johnson some advise and yes Maria i know Dr. Johnson as a friend and a sister. I told her when she got here stay out of the politics and once you don’t agree with Maria She will turn on you. I spoke with the Superintendent as today she is not resigning and wants to finishes her work. I told her i’m sorry that she has had to deal with a Bd of Education that has done nothing in the last 10 years but fight one another. Maria always likes to talk about people saying this and that about Us. People who call me or i see in the streets all have said WHO IS THAT CRAZY WOMAN MARIA! My responds has been OIB lol
I thought you weren’t going to respond to me, Day, Mackey or Alicea, yet here you are responding once again.
So the Board of Education has done “nothing” for the last ten year but fight. You really do behave like a teenager lashing out.
You consistently write “advise.” It is “advice.” The entire paragraph is a mess.
I am sure people in the “streets” and those that “call” you are very focused on me. You are so infantile. Interestingly, no one has ever approached me in the “streets” to discuss you.
Dr. Johnson is never going to disclose her true intentions to someone of your character or morals.
There you go Maria, just like 45 you are quick to criticize and have a penchant, again like 45, to change what was said to put you in the best light. I never said, insinuated nor intimated that I knew what drives Dr. Johnson’s decisions on a personal level. I preference my remarks by saying, and I quote, “From all I’ve read about Dr. Johnson.” From all I’ve read, knucklehead. Please! If you think you bear NO Responsibility for Dr. Johnson wanting to resign then you are more delusional than Ernie says you are or that I thought you were.
Why are you getting so defensive? I did not attack you. Why are you calling me a “knucklehead?” You are out of line.
No one defended and fought for Aresta more than Ben and I. We both gave up on her for specific reasons.
Dr. Johnson wanted to withdraw from the Superintendant search at one point. I convinced her not to do it.
She has previously considered resigning and Ben and I, on different occasions, convinced her to hang in there.
At some point, you have to come to a realization that it is not a good fit. It doesn’t mean Dr. Johnson is not a good person, or incompetent, unqualified, or more. This is simply not a good fit for her.
I would write a letter of reference for her today. Dr. Johnson is a person of quality.
Then you stabbed her in the Back because she stood up to you. You call for her Resignation. Maria you really need to take your MED”S I told Dr. Johnson that you would turn on her. I was so right.
You keep stating you will not be responding to me, Day, Mackey and Alicea, and then you regularly respond.
Is there any commitment you make that you actually keep?
The more you try to connect yourself to Dr. Johnson as an ally or confidant the more you hurt her and her reputation.
At lease Maria
I didn’t Stab The Superintendent in the back because she didn’t bow down to me.
Like i said before i warned Dr. Johnson about you Maria and everything i told her you have proven me RIGHT! I told her as long as you bow down to Maria and make her feel important and stroke her EGO. but once she ask to do do something and you don’t see it her way. She would turn on you. Ms Back Stabber!
Ernie, you have absolutely no idea what has transpired between Aresta and myself. The only two people that can possibly have an informed perspective on that is us. Aresta and I have had many differences of opinion on policies and initiatives. That is not why I have made a decision not to support her renewal. Nor is it why I have encouraged and urged her to resign.
Please don’t ever post about anyone else having an ego. Just don’t do it because you have absolutely no credibility talking about anyone else’s ego.
No one stabbed Aresta in the back. I had a private conversation with her on February 6th to let her know my position on her employment with the Board of Education. I have not encouraged or lobbied any of my colleagues to take the same position. They have to make their decisions on this matter, and I have to make mine. We must formally vote on her contract extension by June 30th and I have made it clear I will be voting no on that extension.
I didn’t “back stab” her, nor did I attempt to blindside her. I let her know well in advance that I would not support her renewal and why. I also encouraged and urged her to resign based on those very same reasons.
less than a week ago:
On Friday, Pereira posted the following remarks in the OIB comments section:
I was just informed by CT Post reporter, Linda Lambeck, that John Weldon sent her an email at 3:30 PM informing her that Monday’s regular meeting was being canceled.
I am an elected school board member and Dr. Johnson’s staff did not send us notice of the cancellation until 4:32 PM on a late Friday afternoon.
Dr. Johnson and her staff are 100% involved in this treacherous, deceitful and unethical behavior.
Dr. Johnson has completely capitulated to the corrupt Democratic Machine. She is 100% in Mayor Ganim’s, Mario Testa’s, and King John Weldon’s back pocket.
She has turned her back on our 20,400 students, our 30,000 parents, and 2,700 staff members.
For the reasons identified above, she must submit her resignation. She must go.
Back stabber MARIA!
Ernie, you sound like a child on the playground.
I’ll be a child but i don’t stab my friends in the BACK! The only thing i’m sorry for is that Dr. Johnson found out the hard way!
That’s one of the many differences between you and I. I am not going to vote for someone because they are my “friend.” I will vote for a Superintendent, which is the highest paid position in Bridgeport earning over $240,000 annually, based on performance, accomplishments, vision, qualifications, measureable data, ability to govern, and more.
You should never vote for someone or something because it involves your “friend.”
And exactly what is your point, coward?
I wrote the post and I stand by it.
People are you friend until they stop kissing where the sun don’t shine. All you have to do is look at your record. You have turned on everyone you started out with. Only because you didn’t agree with them. One thing for sure. all you have to do is go back to everyone you had nice things to say about. Starting out with and you Turned on each and everyone of them. The different between you and I is i don’t people to agree with me a 100% of the time like you do. You are truly a sick person and your action speak for themselves. Thank God i don’t need you to justify who i’m nor do i give a damn what you think about Ernie Newton. Just remember what goes around comes around and Maria your Day is COMING!
Exactly when is it that you are going to stop responding to me? Can you post a firm date? 🙂
A lot of nonsense comments here. That’s ok. We all get emotional.. Losing Ben Walker on the BBOE is a deep wound. I really liked Ben and we needed more “Ben’s” on the BBOE and less Weldons and Taylors. This is simply bad news.