Foster Releases Slate, Coviello Drops Out Of Mayoral Race, Denise “Duh” Merrill Punts

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
Staff Attorney
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 Charles Coviello has withdrawn his candidacy for mayor and has joined Foster’s slate as a candidate for the Board of Education.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.



  1. So, with Coviello and Ayala on MJ’s ticket, does this mean Curcio money shall be flowing into campaign coffers??? Hey Follow the money, what say you???

    1. Charlie is a candidate for the Board of Education. He is a guy who has a passion for Bridgeport. He has been very articulate on educational matters and is a former teacher. Foster has been the strongest advocate against Adult Entertainment.
      She will not sleep or swim with the fishes. If you really follow the money you will see Finch took a boatload of tainted money in the ’07 primary. This will not be a Red Herring for Foster. Sounds like you had some sour cream today.

      1. So where did Charlie Coviello teach, what are his academic credentials and why does he look like a homeless person from the streets of New York? He’s never amounted to anything and thinks because he’s been around Bpt politics since the Mandanici administration he’s an expert like Professor Irwin Corey … the world’s foremost expert …

  2. Not sure MJ is really going outside the DTC with these picks. Guess there really isn’t going to be any change. A lot of these names are or were already involved with the DTC and city politics. And that being the case things are going to stay the same. Very sad. What a shame.

    1. I have to say I’m very disappointed to see Tito Ayala’s name on a ticket associated with “change.” It’s no secret he sells himself to the highest bidder, which is usually Mario. Guess in this case it was MJF. I really don’t understand what she has to gain by including him. The last time he ran his daughter for something, she lost so I’m not sure what exactly he brings to the table except for baggage.

  3. “You’re traveling through another dimension, a dimension not only of sight and sound but of mind; a journey into a wondrous land whose boundaries are that of imagination.”

  4. I think Denise Merrill’s response is shorthand for “Do whatever you want to do. That’s how things are done in Bridgeport.”

    BTW, the state’s average graduation rate is 78%. New Haven falls below that at 60%, which is seven percentage points higher than last year. If the Elm City, one of the more violent places to live in Connecticut, can accomplish that, what does that say about Bridgeport?

    Article here: www,0,3437594.story

    1. Phil Smith must be getting ready to serve on another Charter Revision. Where you been for 20 years? Oh yeah! I forgot, you’ve been in Hartford.

  5. I believe the position is determined by when the signatures are returned (time stamped) and then certified. If I bring my slate petitions before yours and then they are certified as being the correct amount and proper then my slate gets the next open position, which would be Line B. If I want Line C, I wait until the opposition brings their slate petitions in, getting assigned Line B and then I bring in mine for Line C. As best as I remember.

  6. MJF’s people can get the word out same as Mario Testa’s ward heelers.

    Before anyone starts muttering into their wine glass about “business as usual,” think about what a new mayor has to deal with. Ms. Foster told me herself she is going to pursue a consensus with the city Council, not a divisive strategy. That has worked for Bill Finch, along with baffling people with large amounts of bullshit, instead of dazzling them with brilliance.

    I’m adopting a wait-and-see attitude. No one here has any mystical gifts that allow them to see into the future. Change is not going to happen overnight. If Bill Finch is re-elected change will not be happening at all. John Gomes is trailing in all significant polls. Some of his early supporters have jumped ship, including one-time campaign manager Marilyn Moore. Look at the facts. One Term Bill is ahead of the pack as the primary approaches but his lead is diminishing. He’s running scared. The man has never held a real job in his entire adult life.

  7. People make mistakes, they pay for their mistakes and hopefully move on to become better people. That’s life. Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.

    Again I ask, where is Gomes’ slate?

    1. Once Jesus came upon an angry mob chastising a harlot. He then reproached them saying, “Let the one among you without sin cast the first stone.”
      Moments later a stone came and smashed the harlots’ skull open. Jesus turned to the crowd looking around and said, “Mom, that joke is getting old!”

  8. You vote for an individual, not a slate. No more party levers. So vote for Foster and whoever else you want. Don’t vote for someone you don’t want. Ms. Foster has shown her willingness to build a big tent which is a hell of a lot more than Finch has done. The people she has running with her have long represented voices against the establishment. Coviello has shown the courage of his convictions; he wants to be part of change and joined forces to get that. Walsh, a long-time critic of Finch, also has shown his belief Foster represents intelligent, viable change. Marilyn Moore has done the same commendable action. These powerful voices of the diverse people of Bridgeport have come together to say, “We’re mad as hell and we are NOT going to take it anymore!” Go Foster and team, Foster, leadership for a change.

    1. Coviello wants his foot in the door to get a job. He’s a weasel and a wannabe. See my above comment. He’s done nothing for Bridgeport and done nothing for himself in 40 years. He’s just a hanger-on with the appearance of a homeless person.

  9. *** It’s as clear as a bell, no? Pass the buck, state’s taking over the BOE so it’s your thing Bpt, “do what you want to do!” Hopefully it’s on record Ms. Ayala, however they may try and blame you should things change in this fall’s election. *** BEWARE! ***

    1. anna, weren’t you expecting these OIB newbies? You’re a long-time OIB reader and poster, right around this time of year some feel it’s good to join OIB and entertain us.

      It’s still very early in the race. Anyone wishing to enter the race can do so now. It’s time to step up or shut up. We’ve all read and posted on OIB for years now and when it comes time to step up to the plate, absent! If you don’t want to out yourself by putting your real name (no handle) as a candidate, then put your money–donate–or some volunteer time. Walk the Walk, don’t just blog it!

      1. Don’t worry, Sheriff. I probably won’t be home. I’ll be knocking on everybody else’s door telling them what a jerk you are.

        Joel, seriously, Sheriff? Sheriffs carry weapons. That’s something I don’t think you should be allowed to do.

        Is Dog Catcher an elected position?

  10. Anyway, it has been a heck of a few days. Things happened so fast I wasn’t even aware of all the names of the candidates. Coviello dropped out? Lennie knew more of what was going on than I did. All in all, a good slate with some tough incumbents to beat. Moore vs. Hudson. Doesn’t that sound like a heavyweight fight? The worst thing that can happen to me on the campaign trail is to knock on the first door and find out later it was yahooy who slammed the door in my face.

  11. Sheriffs serve papers for lawsuits. They don’t carry guns. Please I’d rather have Joel serving papers than Mitch Robles.

    More people on the slate = more money, more manpower, more resources, more votes.

    The writing is on the wall for Gomes. It is hard to gain any support when the tide has turned the other way. Gomes, show you are politically savvy as well as a smart guy. Are you that sure you can make it? Your whole purpose is frustrated if you lose and if you are dead last in a three-way race, bye bye politics. MJ has a real chance, join her and you win. If you join her and she doesn’t win, you still do, because 1) you won’t be a spoiler, and 2) you don’t have to deal with a loss on your record. Not that I think MJ will lose, but just thinking about what is to your benefit. MJ will be the focal point from here on out, no fault of yours, that is just the facts. Come join everybody else under the Foster tent, there is a lot of room for all.

    1. What is your obsession with Gomes? He is a successful businessman so he doesn’t need a job. If he wants to bankrupt himself to make a point, that’s his preogative. Besides, if MJ is all you say she is, she doesn’t need him.

      By the way, MJ is the “focal point” on OIB for sure. But in the papers, Gomes gets equal time.

  12. Hey anna,
    How is Rick’s candidacy “business as usual.” Has he ever been elected? If the people of Bridgeport keep doing what they are doing (electing the same party), then we will keep getting what we are getting, FAILURE!

    1. Rick stood up four years ago for Chris Caruso. It cost him within the Republican Party who eventually put up some guy on the nearby bar stool against the incompetent Finch and Finch ran him over with a steamroller. There is no one of substance within the Republican Party in Bridgeport save Rick Torres and he stands shoulders above all but MJF, his equal. Read his curriculum vitae … and see what he’s really like.

  13. Corrupt, you are right. It is just that I have respect for Gomes, I think I understand his distaste for Finch. I’d hate to see him robbed of his vindication and lose money. But to your point. I will not speak of that subject again. You are right MJF and her abilities will speak for themselves.

  14. According to highly placed sources within the MJF campaign, putting Fardy on the ballot was a no-brainer. They are delighted he has availed himself of the opportunity (even though I am thoroughly pissed off at his complete lack of perspicacity as evidenced by his remaining mute at the DTC endorsement orgy, I too am comfortable with a man of his caliber in that office).

    However, when they looked around for people to fill the other slot, nobody else wanted it.

  15. I have been asked many times why I am opposed to Chopalong Gonzalez as a candidate for the new sheriff in town. You know, I just can’t put my finger on it. Come to think of it, neither can he.


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