City Student: Don’t Take Our Vote Away

Jose Lopez, a junior at Central Magnet High School, cannot vote in Tuesday’s election. But if he could, he says, he would vote no to the charter question.

Bridgeport voters, why do you want to take my vote away? My name is Jose Lopez; I’ve been a Bridgeport Resident for all sixteen of my years. I have two older brothers and two older sisters. Our mom works and regularly votes. I also have seven nieces and nephews. I attended Roosevelt School K-8 and just entered my junior year in Central Magnet H.S. I am an active volunteer through RYASAP, student council, Kids Care Club and the Lighthouse Program among others. For the past 10 months I have proudly represented Central High School at the Board of Education meetings and attended all the meetings during the school session where I report on Central H.S. activities.

I expect to be the second member of my family to earn a high school diploma. More significantly I intend to be the first in my family to attend and graduate from a four year institution of higher learning. At this time I intend to prepare for a career in education with a secondary attention to child psychology. Currently I participate in “Today’s Students Tomorrow’s Teachers” through which I am receiving career development training.

Last year I saw the State appointed Bridgeport Board of Education at work. For the most part I saw them attend and work hard on the issues they faced. My teachers have instructed me to become informed and to respect my future voting responsibility regarding those who would represent my citizen interests. I can state that more than one of this group could have been easily replaced because of absenteeism or tardiness, if I were voting today. Leave nine representatives on the BOE accountable for their action rather than one Mayor who needs to be accountable on multiple issues and gets only one report card every four years.

But I do not have a vote today. I have to wait two more years for my right to vote. I want to pursue my duty to be informed about City issues, to register to vote and to regularly vote for all candidates or questions on the ballot. Please don’t let me or my fellow students down, Bridgeport Voters–Vote No on the Nov. 6 Charter Question. Preserve my “right to vote” for accountable BOE representation towards good education in Bridgeport in future years.



  1. Please understand Mayor Finch and the supporters of the Charter Revision have your best interests in mind. When you are able to vote you may not vote for individuals who share the same views as other members of the Board of Education. This could create what they consider to be unproductive discourse. In a democracy it is best to avoid divergent opinions because the leader’s opinions are the right ones.

    You may have learned about democracy in school and about all the individuals through the hundreds of years who have fought and died for the right to vote to directly elect representatives of the people. What Mayor Finch and the supporters of the Charter Revision need you to understand is the right to directly elect your representatives is a foolish cause to have fought and died for. Especially because like other citizens of Bridgeport, we are too imbecilic to vote for the correct individuals.

    In the view of Mayor Finch and supporters of the Charter Revision, fascism works much better (especially if we have the citizens believe it is really just another form of democracy). The Charter Revision that Mayor Finch supports is a small step towards a governmental system led by a dictator having complete power, forcibly suppressing opposition and criticism. That would seem to render Mayor Finch and supporters of the present Charter Revision as fascists.

    Fascists in World War II were supporters of the Axis Powers. Today, the term fascist is used commonly to refer to governments based on a form of dictatorship that acts in an arbitrary, high-handed manner.

    While, fortunately or unfortunately, the State and Federal Constitutions appear to protect us from a fascist state, the Charter Revision, in consolidating powers in the Mayor and removing from the public the right to directly elect members to the Board of Education is but one step in that direction. Perhaps as a project you and other classmates, with the help of teachers, could conduct a study of how residents of more affluent and less racially diverse localities would react to the notion their elected officials would remove their direct voice from decisions as to who sits on their respective Boards of Education. Let us know the response from such surrounding communities as Trumbull, Fairfield or Westport.

    I hope your right to directly elect your representatives will be preserved until you are of age to vote; that you will come of age in a democracy and not under the encroaching shadow of fascism as promoted by Mayor Finch and the Charter Revisionists.

    Aaron M. Woskoff, Esq.

    1. Thank you; it is just by chance I chose this OIB Handle a few months ago with this name. I look forward to what the future has to hold but I am glad you stand with me now in the present. I look at the people I have been able to meet and I cannot believe that at such a young age I am surrounded by adults of such large community influence. I thank you guys for being so ready to talk to me and to listen to my words as many other people in Bridgeport may have written me off.

    1. Ron,
      Jose will appreciate your comment I am sure. His essay was submitted to the CT Post ten days ago. They chose not to publish it. That is their call, certainly but it is curious at best in this particular situation.
      As a Bridgeporter by birth he is a lifetime observer of what is going on around him. He is naturally curious, and shows a rare maturity in looking at adults and the way we handle community affairs and gaining a fair perspective.
      Time will tell.

      1. John,
        It’s Jose, thank you for speaking so kind of me, everyone too. My thoughts and efforts tomorrow are going to be committed to making sure our fellow Bridgeporters are well informed on the decision in which they will be making. I plan on being at Cesar Batalla School tomorrow, I hope some other Vote NO supporters will be there with me to help fight this necessary cause. I also hope the opposition is there as well, I love seeing democracy at it’s best John, and thanks to that I am able to stand here today and say I must defend what is entitled to me. As for everyone, thanks for the comments this has been an amazing opportunity and honor to have my paper here to be viewed by my fellow citizens. We must not let the decisions of the few dictate the future for the many.


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