On the night city voters will select four new school board candidates in a special election, a forum will take place regarding November’s charter revision question asking electors to vote up or down on a mayoral-appointed Board of Education. See notice below from Jeff Kohut, 2011 mayoral candidate:
There will be an extremely important public meeting/informational forum at the North End Branch library from 6:00-7:30 PM on Tuesday, September 4–the same day as the special election for Bridgeport Board of Education.
The meeting/forum is being presented by the North End Community Council (NECC) as a public service designed to educate Bridgeporters on the implications of the Charter Revision referendum item that will appear on the Bridgeport election ballot in the November 6 elections (just over two months from tomorrow’s special BOE election).
The aforementioned charter-revision referendum item is a deceptively-worded ballot choice intentionally designed to mislead voters concerning the granting of new powers to the mayor and the city council. Specifically, the question seeks to avoid the direct mention of the loss of voting rights by Bridgeporters (in regard to the loss of their right to democratically elect the members of the Bridgeport Board of Education–the body responsible for the education of our children and the spending of our tax dollars in our public school system). [But the loss of voting rights by Bridgeport voters is really only the "tip of the iceberg" in regard to the full implications of the omnibus Charter-change item on the November 6 ballot. This deceptively worded ballot item seeks to camouflage a blatant, unprecedented power grab by City Hall that will result in changes to the city charter that are illegal, running contrary to state statute, that could result in even worse dysfunction of Bridgeport city government in addition to unwinnable, financially crippling lawsuits.]
To clarify this situation: A “Yes” vote for the referendum item on the November 6 ballot will give the mayor the power to appoint all members of the Bridgeport Board of Education, whereas we now have the right, as voters/”electors” of the City of Bridgeport, to democratically choose those who will sit on that critically important board. This omnibus referendum item–which covers several areas of critical importance to Bridgeporters (in education, public safety, and municipal governance) (see links, below, for more complete discussion)–reads simply, as follows: “Shall the City of Bridgeport approve and adopt the charter changes as recommended by the Charter Revision Commission and approved by the City Council, including education governance reforms?”
Obviously, a voter who isn’t familiar with the (many) sections of the referendum item will be likely to believe they are simply approving some minor tinkering with the city charter, designed by the Charter Revision Commission to make the charter a “better” document. Voters are likely to either vote “Yes,” or not vote on the item at all, thus ensuring its approval, if even by only a tiny number of votes.
That is why it is extremely important to come to the meeting on Tuesday, September 4, 6-7:30 PM, at the North End Library, where presentations by retired judge Carmen Lopez, budget watchdog John Marshal Lee, and others, will shed some light on the Charter Change deception-initiative (and more). [Also, see the attachment, below--an op-ed piece by Judge Carmen Lopez--that delineates the City Hall machinations leading up to the illegal dissolution of the Bridgeport Board of Education on July 5, 2011 and which presents background germane to the present Charter Change controversy--"Removing the Mask from Education Reformers," Connecticut Post, July 18, 2012.]
Don’t forget to vote for your choices for the Board of Education on September 4–before you come to the meeting (it may be your last chance to vote for the membership of this board–if City Hall has its way).