Here we go again, another election storm hit the Park City, this time over candidates for the Board of Education. The state has taken control of city schools, so we think. But what triggers state control? The state education commissioner appointing a five-member panel to oversee schools, per state statute? Does anyone in the state of Connecticut have an answer? Still waiting for an answer. A court hearing challenging state control is set for August 8.
Meanwhile Secretary of the State Denise Merrill punted when Democratic Registrar of Voters Sandi Ayala requested direction on issuing petition papers for Board of Education candidates seeking ballot access. “Ayala can do what she wants,” they say. Really? Wait a minute, the state created this situation and now the state office that supervises elections in Connecticut is saying “duh, do what you want.” How is Merrill any better than Susan Bysiewicz’s performance during the ballot snafu last year? Knock, knock, Merrill, anyone home? Thursday afternoon, Ayala issued the petition papers to the Foster campaign that includes a full slate of citywide candidates including BOE, saying the state offered no guidance to do otherwise.
Here’s the direction Ayala has received from the state:
We never received your original message; however, we are sending this message in response to other inquiries we have received. According to the State Board of Education, the Bridgeport Board of Education has been or will be dissolved. This dissolution falls under Title 10 and we are unable to provide you with any assistance under this statutory title. We suggest that you contact the State Board of Education with any questions you may have. If the Board of Education is dissolved, no endorsement or primary petitions would be issued as the State Board of Education would appoint members to such Board.
Theodore E. Bromley
Legislation and Elections Administration Division
Office of the Secretary of the State
From Democratic mayoral candidate Mary-Jane Foster:
Democratic candidate for mayor of Bridgeport Mary-Jane Foster filed the paperwork today to run a slate of citywide candidates in the upcoming Democratic primary. Her slate includes candidates for the Bridgeport Board of Education, Town Clerk, City Clerk, and Town Sheriffs. Charles Coviello has withdrawn his candidacy for mayor and has joined Foster’s slate as a candidate for the Board of Education. Democratic Registrar of Voters Santa Ayala has requested a legal opinion from the Secretary of the State regarding whether to issue petitions for the Bridgeport Board of Education.
Joining Foster’s slate are:
• Marilyn Moore – City Clerk
• Alberto “Tito” Ayala – Town Clerk
• Charles Coviello – Board of Education
• Bob Walsh – Board of Education
• George E. Pipkin, III – Board of Education
• Pertrinea Cash Deedon – Board of Education
• Dwayne McBride – Sheriff
• Andy Fardy – Sheriff
• Joel Gonzalez – Sheriff
“When it comes to educating our children, the mayor showed his true colors and punted his responsibility. He had an opportunity to lead but chose to throw up his hands and turn the keys over to the State,” Foster charged. “I believe we should have a locally controlled Board of Education and that’s why I’ve asked these individuals to join me on the ballot. The quality of these candidates demonstrates that we have the talent in Bridgeport to address the challenges we face.”
About Foster’s slate:
Marilyn Moore – Moore is a political force in her own right. She has championed women’s health issues and fought for civil rights for more than 30 years and currently serves as the executive director of The Witness Project. In 2008, Moore challenged State Senator Anthony Musto and came within striking distance.
Bob Walsh – Walsh has been a strong voice of dissent on the City Council for 16 years. An accountant by training, he brings strong financial and analytic experience to the Board of Education.
George E. Pipkin, III – Pipkin holds a Masters degree in counseling and human services from the University of Bridgeport and is a Community Support Programmer at the Continuum of Care in New Haven. He is the son of the late George E. Pipkin, Jr., former executive director of Hall Neighborhood House.
Pertrinea Cash Deedon – Deedon is an 18-year employee of the State of Connecticut, and currently works in juvenile residential services with the judicial branch’s Court Support Services Division. She served as a PTSO volunteer on the New England Association of Schools and Colleges accreditation team for Central High School, is a graduate of United Way’s Project Blueprint for volunteer diversity, and has served on the boards of St. John’s Family Center, Alpha Community Services, and FSW.
Dwayne McBride – McBride works for the State of Connecticut Department of Education in security and is a retired detective from the Bridgeport police department, where he served for 15 years. A lifelong Bridgeport resident and single father of two young children, he has worked in the community as a board member of New Connections, a former mentor for Champions and Big Brother/Big Sister. He attended Southern Connecticut State University and Albertus Magnus College.
Andy Fardy – Fardy is retired from the Bridgeport Fire Department, where he served as an arson inspector. A graduate of Harding High, he also previously served on the Bridgeport Parks Commission.
Joel Gonzalez – He is the father of two and is a former Bridgeport City Council member.
“On Tuesday night, the Bridgeport Democratic Town Committee told voters that they should once again accept an incompetent, business as usual, disrespectful, backroom dealing candidate for mayor,” stated Foster. “One Town Committee member went so far as to say, ‘We’ve got to reelect [Finch] because he’s got some things to finish.’
Well, that is the craziest thing I’ve heard. I don’t know about you, but when someone doesn’t do the job I hired him to do, I don’t hire him again. That’s the classic definition of insanity: doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.
Bridgeport cannot afford another four years of mismanagement and missed opportunities. I believe Bridgeport deserves better and that’s why I’m running for mayor with a slate of citywide candidates who are committed to progressive reform.
My campaign offers Bridgeport voters a real choice for the first time in over a decade. I bring a proven track record of accomplishment having founded the Bridgeport Bluefish and established the Arena at Harbor Yard to Bridgeport. The Bluefish and Arena have created more than 140 permanent jobs and generated nearly $40 million spent in Bridgeport, because we made buying locally a priority. Long before I ever considered a run for office I was working to help people become self-sufficient on such issues as domestic violence, financial literacy, homelessness, and creating job opportunities. I don’t talk about doing things. Unlike this mayor, I actually deliver on the things I promise.”
The Foster for Bridgeport team will kick off a petition drive to secure 2,109 signatures this afternoon. The signatures are required to be on the primary ballot on September 13th.