Gearing Up For City Council And School Board Races

Next month Democratic Town Committee members from 10 City Council districts will endorse candidates for the city’s legislative body. Bridgeport has 10 council districts with two representatives in each. All 20 members are Democrats. It’s been quiet out there so far about potential September challenges. You hearing anything? One district we can count for sure for a good fight is in the East Side 137th District where Lydia Martinez, the city’s queen of absentee ballots, and Manny Ayala, hold court.

Look for a battle from town committee members Maria Valle, a former council member, and Aidee Nieves. Valle and Nieves last year were part of a slate with political veterans Tito Ayala, Gil Hernandez and Juan Hernandez that wrested control of the district from Martinez. They control a slim 5-4 split. Who will emerge as the endorsed candidates? Either way, expect a September primary. These factions have been going at it for years, swinging back and forth for district control and council control.

Lydia is sure to fire up her magical absentee ballot operation. Lydia knows her peeps and takes care of them as co-chair of the council committee that parcels out development fund goodies to the various city districts. The opposition knows they must win on the machines–as they did last year winning district control–to take out Lydia who’s been fined twice by the state in recent years for campaign irregularities.

In addition to council seats, five Board of Education seats are on the line currently occupied by Working Families Party members Maria Pereira and Sauda Baraka and Democrats Tom Mulligan, Leticia Colon and Bobby Simmons who generally votes in a bloc with the WFP. Dems control a 5-4 margin. Simmons, if he seeks reelection, is not likely to be endorsed by the Democratic Town Committee because of his alliance with the WFP.

The city’s beleaguered Republican Party will try to win back the two minority-party representation slots it lost to the WFP four years ago in the general election.

The school board seats figure to be highly competitive races with an infusion of campaign cash from a variety of political groups and education advocates.



  1. Sorry Lennie, I am the first to post on a very off topic: I wanted to acknowledge the amazing reception that was hosted by Barnum Festival ringleader John Stafstrom and his husband. The City Light Gallery in all of the years I have attended an opening has never been so well attended by artists and celebrities from the area and New York. All of the artwork was tasteful. Bare restaurant also hosted. Leave it to the hosts to supply top-shelf wine and alcohol. The “sameSex” exhibit had some pretty exquisite works. I guess after three years the Stafstrom exhibit has brought an audience that could have initiated Bridgeport’s renaissance 20 years ago. The subject matter was done with great taste and not offensive. I would also mention next door the Star of Istanbul Restaurant has an amazing menu with wonderful food. Considering the rainy weather I was shocked when I had shown up at 7 pm, The City Lights Gallery was mobbed. It was nice to see some old familiar faces from the City Newspapers but not surprised by the lack of support from the dullards running the city. The energy of the overflow crowd of creative entities was a welcome change from the norm. I just wanted to acknowledge John Stafstrom for bringing such a quality exhibit and generosity. I think everyone had a great time!!!

  2. Lennie, hop to! Besides the 137th, the North End, East End and Black Rock are organizing. City Council, Board of Ed seats are up for grabs. This will not be your usual off-year election cycle. I can hardly wait!

    1. Earth to BlackRockGuy … Vallas was in Chicago, then Philadelphia (what years?) and then onto New Orleans (post Katrina) and along with some Chile and Haiti consulting has been in Bridgeport since January of 2012. And you are linking a $400 Million prison and closing 23 public schools with Vallas??? Even the articles do not mention former Superintendent Vallas.

      What loco weed are you using? It is clear whom you do not care for, but you do a favor to those you critique when your comments are untimely, without fact or use poor connections. Can’t you see how inept this post is? That’s OK, enough others will and they won’t bother to respond.

      I keep looking for those who will stand up for the fact our local school leadership was not open, accountable, or practicing transparent governance through 2011. For all the criticisms leveled at the system today (in the midst of major changes) there is more info shared, issues discussed and a balanced budget in spite of Finch administration “non-accountability.” Remember his big claim to the Charter Review group??? I am accountable. Where is he for this budget year when his proposed budget of $5 Million more for education approved by the City Council has shrunk to $3.9 Million? And where is the 2014 minimum budget requirement? Mayor Finch, when will you be accountable? Time will tell.

      1. Why the need to defend Vallas all the time, is he your new edubuddy? Does he owe you? Check out the latest Pelto. You may want a drink first.

        Vallas is skewered, especially this comment.

        Face the facts … all disasters can be traced back to his “reforms,” the unsustainable kind and the future of BPS.

        Pelto comment and full link for your reading pleasure:
        A note to all potential 093 candidates. Don’t waste your money. Take the Vallas route … travel through the country causing mayhem and destruction. Hang out will other edufrauds pretending to “reform” while making a name for yourself.

        Remember the key slogans: every child deserves a great teacher; this is the civil rights movement of our time, we can’t accept the status quo, and a favorite: our schools are failing our children. This is a national security issue as declared by Condoleezza and Joel.

        And follow the Vallas model as laid out below. One note, your methods will not be sustainable and as you move from place to place the cities will become smaller and smaller. You will divide the community, but it is easy to pit parents against each other. Be sure to always throw the teachers under the bus, especially the ones who belong to a union … that always works! You can also count on the teach for a whilers to fill in in a pinch.

        Save your money and follow this playbook:

        “Reform” Chicago so it needs to be reformed by Duncan and then by Emanuel which leads to school closures, uprooting the neediest and poorest students.

        See here:

        CHICAGO (Reuters) – The Chicago Board of Education is due to vote on Wednesday on a controversial proposal to close 54 schools in the country’s third-largest public school district in what would be the largest mass school closing in the nation.

        Reform Philly, leave it bankrupt, which leads to school closures and dividing a community and uprooting children in poor neighborhoods

        See here:


        Close schools to save money, spend $400 million to build prisons


        Take over a city school system after a natural disaster, shock doctrine techniques … charterize the entire city and voila you have today’s NOLA fiasco, rated 69 out of 70 school districts.

        See here:

        New Orleans: don’t you believe it

        Get busy and skip the traditional route.

  3. I am ready to walk door to door to door with any candidate who is not a city employee. I am pretty good at door-to-door and I have a pretty big database of people ready to do the same.

  4. Beware, each time I support the positive activities of the Bridgeport public school system in the recent 18 months, you take time out from your professional activities to attack Paul Vallas and because of my comments, me.

    In the run-up to events that brought Paul Vallas to this community, proponents of youth in the classroom were all about reform to benefit the kids in the classroom. Facts that come from testing results, financial records and trends over time, like dropout rates or teacher absences were difficult to determine. My support for the Vallas team is they are providing businesses, taxpayers, parents, educational professionals and anyone else who is interested in information about the system. The info is regular. It is comprehensive. It provides detail. It ties into a longer-term plan. And the budget numbers are balanced. What a new concept for municipal governance in Bridgeport!!!

    And you, Beware, do not comment on this change I salute. Why not? What is it about keeping track of information that causes you to ignore this major turnaround? As a taxpaying citizen I have spoken to the City Council and Budget & Appropriations about the City contributions to education and keeping them at a budgeted 2013-$3.9 MILLION THAT IS LESS THAN THE $5 MILLION BUDGET or expected (2014 CT MBR calls for added $3.3 Million from City). It is about the kids. It is about what happens in the classroom, year after year, in a system that has classrooms, resources, and motivated and trained persons in the classrooms. And it calls for children who are supported both from home and the community at large, with encouragement and expectations the free public school education will produce a responsible and informed group of adults in the coming generations, who are prepared to work in the jobs available. Time will tell.


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