If you think screaming at a public hearing doesn’t matter, the recent machinations involving the Board of Education will set you straight. A few weeks ago it was a lock. Roosevelt School in the South End and Dunbar School in the East End, among the worst performing schools in the state according to state and BOE officials, were slated for closure. It was done, no turning back, a lock. Well, someone picked the lock to reopen the schools. Come September, they’ll be open. The reversal is a study in how governmental reform collides with pragmatic politics.
A few weeks ago a noisy gathering of parents showed up at a Board of Education meeting with signs, with lungs, with rhetorical glare suggesting institutional racism was behind the school closures. What about Black Rock School with all those fancy pants?
Underneath the sheets politics come into play. Example: The South End where District Leader Mitch Robles holds court. Bridgeport politics is divided into 10 districts with 10 individual leaders. Robles, arguably, has the tightest turnout operation. The candidates Mitch supports have a habit of winning. That’s because Mitch has schmoozed a loyal following of voters he can count on. When he needs them they’re there. When they need him, he steps up. That’s how it works. Well, Mitch heard the call–don’t close our friggin’ school–and did the switch. Mitch ran for cover, Mayor Bill Finch ran for cover, and as a result some BOE officials did the same. “This is not the time to piss off voters. We need them in the gubernatorial primary, and we need them in the mayoral primary next year.” So now, when Mitch needs their votes to deliver his candidates he can say to his peeps when they wanted to close the school I said no. The school remains open.
BOE bean counters must look at other areas to cover the savings they thought they had with Roosevelt and Dunbar shut down. Today is July 1, a new budget year. Layoff notices will go out to some teachers, teachers aides, etc. So it goes.
From State Elections Enforcement Commission:
STATE ELECTIONS ENFORCEMENT COMMISSION AWARDS FIRST GRANT TO CANDIDATE FOR LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR
HARTFORD, CT—June 30, 2010 – Today the State Elections Enforcement Commission awarded the first grant to a publicly financed candidate for Lieutenant Governor.
Meeting in a regular session to review 7 grant applications, the Commission unanimously voted that Nancy Wyman’s candidate committee had satisfied the legal requirements to qualify for a grant of $375,000 for the primary election.
Wyman is Malloy’s running mate for the 2010 elections, and on June 3rd Malloy also qualified for a grant from the Citizens’ Election Program.
The 2010 elections are the first regular elections in which public campaign financing is available to candidates for statewide office as well as general assembly candidates. To date, one State Senate candidate and thirty-two candidates for State Representative have received grants for the 2010 elections.
To qualify for public campaign financing, candidates must demonstrate they have adequate support from the public. Candidates may accomplish this by meeting a two-part threshold that sets requirements for the aggregate amount of money which must be raised and the minimum number of individuals who must have contributed between $5 and $100 to the candidate. Participating candidates may not take funds from lobbyists, state contractors or PACs.
Candidates in the August 10th primary have until July 16th to opt “in” or “out” of the Program and to apply for a primary grant.
Hey, this is cool stuff and you should check it out. Downtown Thursday concerts kick off tonight starting at 5 at McLevy Green. The Special O Band includes Bridgeport Police Lieutenant Ron Bailey, former vice squad cop extraordinaire who’s now trying to reel in sick time (talk about rhythm and blues). These guys are good.
You are invited to the first Downtown Thursdays concert on McLevy Green, this Thursday, July 1! This week’s concert features the sounds of The Special O Band.
The Special O Band is a funk/groove/R&B band made up of: Ed Fraser (keyboards), Pat Williams (guitar/vocals), Keith Bass (guitar), Matt Jones (vocals/percussions) and Bridgeport P.D.’s own Lieutenant Ron Bailey on drums and vocals. As part a special kickoff to Downtown Thursdays, Chief Joseph Guadett will be taking the stage with the band! They’ve played D.C., N.Y.C. and all over CT. They’ve opened for Blue Magic, the Delfonics, Escorts, Chi Lites, Persuaders and Kool & the Gang. They play their own originals as well as covers of Earth, Wind & Fire, Michael Jackson, Kool & the Gang, James Brown and many more funktackular bands. In other words, they’re just what the Doctor ordered for winding down after a busy Thursday at the Office!
Downtown Thursdays is a weekly after-work concert series, taking place on McLevy Green after work (5-7) on Thursdays in July* and August. A new band will play each week. Tiago’s Restaurant will serve drinks every week. Join us after work as we celebrate summer—and the end of the work day! You’ll enjoy the sound of great live outdoor music and the taste of cold refreshing drinks. Bring your friends and family downtown with you and stick around for dinner. Visit infobridgeport.com to find out more about downtown’s array of exciting restaurants, cafes and delis.
As part of Bridgeport’s recovery from last Thursday’s tornado, the American Red Cross will be fundraising at this week’s event. Please extend your neighborly support to their ongoing relief efforts.
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