Examining The Library Question, And Say Hello To Nate Snow

Shall a one mil tax be levied to establish and maintain a free public library and reading room?

In two weeks that question will be the most compelling oval to fill in on election day.

City Council and Board of Education seats are up for grabs as well, but (with a few exceptions) the races are foregone conclusions. That’s what happens with a Democratic-dominated electorate and a once-competitive Republican Party finding small victories in fielding candidates, let alone winning races.

The BOE race, however, features an interesting twist. Can incumbent Sauda Baraka, who was dumped by the Republican Party for what they claim is lack of effort for the task, win reelection running on the Working Families line? The BOE is guaranteed seats under state-mandated minority-party representation. And GOP BOE candidate Nate Snow has written to OIB to provide some perspective on his race.

First, the library question. Basically, one mil in the current city budget represents roughly $6.9 million. Library Board President Jim O’Donnell says current library costs, soup to nuts, including salaries, books, fringe benefits, maintenance, utilities, debt, all the expenses cover to cover are roughly $6 million.

This is the first time this question will appear on the ballot. And so far voter outreach has been quiet. That’s not to say it will not kick up in the final two weeks. Library supporters are challenged to persuade voters that the library expenditure represents a community investment and not a tax increase.

Many city pols I’ve spoken to about this say they don’t want anyone dictating city budget policy (except them, of course). What ever happened to … let the voters decide? Sylvester Salcedo, a library board member, has been prodding OIB readers for their positions on the vote. As a result some uneasy alliances have emerged. Yahooy and City Councilman Bob Troll Walsh, not exactly buds, say blowtorch the vote.

Big Mojo Ralph Mojica, former council member, supports the measure, as well as Anna and The Bridgeport Kid.

The last municipal election, in November 2007, featured a mayoral matchup to drive turnout. But that turnout was roughly a pathetic 25 percent. This election turnout looms lower, and that would be problematic for library supporters if, in fact, city pols work against the question. The party, if fairly united, can still produce a base vote of a few thousand votes.

But if they’re not engaged, library supporters could slip in under the radar by galvanizing enough voters to fill in yes on the question. And what if it passes? That’s when the hard part really begins.

From Nate Snow, Republican BOE candidate:

Dear Only In Bridgeport readers,

My name is Nate Snow, and I am a candidate for the Bridgeport Board of Education. Lennie is generous enough to let me post a quick note about who I am and what I believe.

After graduating from college, I moved to Connecticut to teach 7th and 8th grade English in Bridgeport Public Schools. My wife and I moved to Black Rock this summer after two years in the renovated City Trust building downtown. I am running for a seat on the Board of Education because my experiences teaching in Bridgeport schools showed me that ALL students have the potential to learn and to achieve amazing success in the classroom and in life.

In two weeks, Bridgeport voters will be deciding the future of their school district. It isn’t news to anyone that the district is currently failing to educate all of its students to high levels of academic achievement, nor is it a secret that the current board is not providing the leadership the district needs to be successful. But on November 3rd, we can begin to take the first steps in a new direction.

If elected, I will have the responsibility to work with the other members of the board to create a vision for reform and to set the priorities that will guide the entire district. To achieve a vision of yearly academic improvement, the board must reinterpret its role and begin making proactive decisions instead of merely reacting to everyday problems. In addition to its fiduciary responsibility, the Board’s key functions should be to establish a clear vision, to set key priorities, to hold the administration accountable to real results, and to build community support around a meaningful agenda of reform.

Bridgeport’s much-needed revitalization begins with a rebirth of its school district. For instance, we have learned in recent weeks that Bridgeport’s child poverty rate is now nearly 28%. One of the key weapons in the fight against poverty is education. Not education in name only, but education that literally places all Bridgeport students on an equal playing field with students from surrounding communities and with students from around the world. Currently in the state of Connecticut, only 1 in 10 students from low income communities will go on to graduate from college. Clearly, our failing system is not preparing students for life in a world that demands, and rewards, a quality education.

On Tuesday, November 3, 2009, we can begin to change that.

Please feel free to contact me at nate.snowforboe@gmail.com with any questions, suggestions, or thoughts.


Nate Snow

Speaking of Sly Salcedo, he’ll like this item from AP:

WASHINGTON – Federal drug agents won’t pursue pot-smoking patients or their sanctioned suppliers in states that allow medical marijuana, under new legal guidelines to be issued Monday by the Obama administration.

Two Justice Department officials described the new policy to The Associated Press, saying prosecutors will be told it is not a good use of their time to arrest people who use or provide medical marijuana in strict compliance with state law.

The guidelines to be issued by the department do, however, make it clear that agents will go after people whose marijuana distribution goes beyond what is permitted under state law or use medical marijuana as a cover for other crimes, the officials said.

The new policy is a significant departure from the Bush administration, which insisted it would continue to enforce federal anti-pot laws regardless of state codes.

Fourteen states allow some use of marijuana for medical purposes: Alaska, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington.

Barnum’s Children

The One and Only Barnum: The Tremendous, Stupendous Life of Showman P.T. Barnum

Get the first look in the area at this new biography written for children!

Author Candace Fleming will be discussing her new book, The One and Only Barnum: The Tremendous, Stupendous Life of Showman P.T. Barnum on Sunday, October 25 at 2:00 p.m. at The Barnum Museum in Bridgeport. This brand new biography about Phineas Taylor Barnum was written for the enjoyment of children of all ages, but is especially geared for readers age 8 to 12. The book may be purchased and autographed at the event. This is a presentation by the Bridgeport Public Library Children’s Department and Historical Collection.

In her book, Ms. Fleming presents the larger-than-life biography of showman P. T. Barnum with vivid details. Known far and wide for his jumbo elephants, midgets, and three-ring circuses, the book is a complete and captivating look at the man behind the Greatest Show on Earth. Readers can visit Barnum’s American Museum; meet Tom Thumb, the miniature man (only 39 inches tall) and his tinier bride (32 inches); experience the thrill Barnum must have felt when, at age 60, he joined the circus; and discover Barnum’s legacy to the 19th century and beyond. Drawing on old circus posters, photographs, etchings, ticket stubs—and with incredible decorative art by Ray Fenwick—this book presents history as it’s never been experienced before—a show-stopping event. Ms. Fleming perfectly captures the spirit of an era, the spirit of the circus, and the spirit of P. T. Barnum himself.

Ms. Fleming is the award-winning author of The Lincolns: A Scrapbook Look at Abraham and Mary, Our Eleanor, and Ben Franklin’s Almanac.

The Barnum Museum has three floors of absolutely fascinating exhibits that illustrate the extraordinary life of Phineas Taylor Barnum. P. T. Barnum, one-term mayor of Bridgeport and four-term member of the Connecticut General Assembly, was born July 5, 1810 in Bethel and died April 7, 1891 in Bridgeport. The original museum building, owned by the City of Bridgeport is listed in the National Register of Historic Places and is handicapped accessible.

What: Book Discussion by Candace Fleming: The One and Only Barnum: The Tremendous, Stupendous Life of Showman P.T. Barnum

When: Sunday, October 25 at 2:00 p.m.

Where: The Barnum Museum, 820 Main Street, Bridgeport, CT

Cost: The program is Free with General Museum Admission

Adults $7, seniors and college students $5, children 4-17 $4 and children under 4 free.

For questions call 203-331-1104 x102 Jaime Knoedler or visit barnum-museum.org



  1. Late college night. Interesting to hair about Snow. I was planning on voting for Sauda at my home precinct Black Rock School on the Working Families Line. Snow seems good too, will do my research on him. I’m voting Republican this year except for city sheriff where I will vote Dem. Vote yes to the library question. Vote John Weldon and John Slater for City council. www .voteweldon.com. I will be taking the metro north to Bpt to vote!!! Vote early vote often I’m getting people out to the polls.

    1. yahooy–Leave donj alone. He must be having a bad hair day. I see that 333 State Street has been flipped to another entity. Just another Bridgeport snow job.

    1. I did a little homework on this–Snow also failed to mention that he QUIT teaching in Bridgeport schools after only 2 years.

      Nate Snow gave up on teaching 20 students–why would he be able to teach over 20,000? He has lived in Bridgeport for about 15 minutes, and has not much more than ambition to recommend him.

  2. So now they flipped 303 State St. That makes at least 3 buildings that we don’t know the buyer or the amount. Included with State St. is the old bank building on Main & State and the former Art Center in Black Rock. I wonder how many went to favored developers for cheap prices.

    1. As long as Joe “Snake Oil, Anyone?” Celli is no longer (unlawfully) occupying the former bank building at 2838 Fairfield Avenue in Black Rock, who cares? Who cares who managed to kiss ass and bribe their way to favored-nation status? As long as the taxes are paid. The city needs the money. Now, if Mayor Finch and his majordomo Adam “Pecker” Wood cut some deals that permit the new owners of said properties to pay lower than expected taxes, or avoid paying them at all, well … That could be a problem come election time.

      1. Speaking of Joe “Snake Oil, Anyone?” Celli, he’s taken to visiting my place of employment in order to harass me. In a fit of desperation (he hasn’t been able to get much more than “Take off!” from me) Mr. Celli has resorted to ethnic slurs, insulting my Dutch ancestry. Disappointing but not surprising.

  3. *** Comes under the city’s economic development real-estate ordinance called “surprise grab-bag” deals! *** Or like the military’s, “don’t ask, don’t tell” rule of which Yahooy, B/K or C.H.S. may be more familiar with if ever in the military? Which I doubt but they seem to fit the bill! ***

  4. I have no idea who this Nate Snow kid is, but I’ll be voting for Working Families candidates Maria Pereira and Sauda Baraka. We don’t need more ambitious politicians, we need real parents with something at stake in our schools on the Board.

  5. LIBERATE LIBRARIES: E-Day minus 14 … the Latino and African-American community leadership count remains as before plus what Lennie posted in yesterday’s two-week reminder on what is at stake on the library question/issue … let the Bridgeport voters decide …
    Lennie: Thanks for the posting the Fed’s/Obama’s new position on Medical Marijuana … time will tell how, and if, Bridgeport missed the opportunity to be a leader on “Drug Tolerance” in the 130th State Rep District and in getting ahead of the curve on ending the War on Drugs, locally, statewide and internationally … for now, I’ve become enthralled by the arts … I’m going into show business, OIB fans.
    My wife and I went to see “Avenue Q” at the Palace Theater in Waterbury this past Saturday … I was very impressed! What a gem Waterbury has in the Palace Theater … I never knew that. Then we went house hunting in the dark through Cheshire, Wallingford, North Haven, Woodbridge and Orange on the way home to see if those communities are as quiet as for sleeping as the East Side.
    After the library vote, I will change my focus to the theater. Politics is theater, no?

    1. On November 3, 2009, the City of Bridgeport election will include a referendum question that, if passed, would require the City to allocate one mil or approximately $6.9 million to fund library operations and capital improvements. Over the past ten years, funding of Bridgeport libraries has been less than flat after adjusting for inflation–approximately $3.5 million for labor, books/publications and computer and computer services in fiscal 1999/2000 and the same amount in fiscal 2009/2010. Based upon amounts supplied by the City’s Office of Policy and Management, the total cost of Library operations (including utilities and fringe benefits) and debt service is currently $4.8 million–if passed the referendum is intended to increase operational funding by $1.1 million and debt service funds of $1 million to provide improved library facilities on the East Side and East End.

      Passage of this referendum is not a tax increase–passage would be telling City leadership that Library services available to all are a priority of its citizens and should be adequately funded. If passed, the library would be funded at a level of $50 per resident of Bridgeport–which can all be fully realized by a taxpayer by borrowing books, DVD’s, CD’s, magazines, computer access, specialized databases and access to professional library staff for complex research. Further, the library staff will be able to develop programs for children and teens, to which we provide vital and timely services.

      I ask that you see this referendum for what it is–a demand of City leaders to recognize the importance of libraries to our community and that they are adequately funded. Please vote “yes” on November 3rd.


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