The Nov. 6 ballot question is not about improving schools, but a power grab to control education funds, charges Democratic State Rep. Jack Hennessy who represents the city’s North End in Connecticut’s State House. In a statement to OIB, Hennessy isn’t bashful, bashing the party establishment he’s been at odds with for a decade.
“Only in Bridgeport” pretty much sums it up. No other municipality would put up with the shenanigans that go on here. Only this time it’s out in the open, couched in flowery terms, trying to fool the unwary with an inundation of glossy flyers that disguise the real intent–an underhanded power grab to control hundreds of millions of dollars of a school board budget where there will be no oversight or accountability. Nothing new here. This is the same old crony machine where appointments will be made, not based on ability, but on loyalty to politicians.
Every parent and taxpayer has a right to cast their vote on who’s running our school system.
OIB has asked the camps of several candidates to share their opinion on the ballot question. A yes vote means Mayor Bill Finch, who’s actively pushing the ballot question, would be empowered to appoint members to the Board of Education. Several organizations, Democratic Party pols and campaign operatives are trying to persuade electors to vote yes. A coalition of forces is also working against the measure.
Look for election day to be a wild ride with operatives in front of polling places urging vote yes and vote no. Yes supporters, backed by hundreds of thousands of dollars, say the question has a decent shot at passage. No supporters say the question, as printed on the ballot, is misleading.
On Nov. 6 city voters will decide this ballot question:
“Shall the City of Bridgeport approve and adopt the Charter changes as recommended by the Charter Revision Commission and approved by the City Council, including education governance reforms?”
No supporters say African American voters, in particular, loathe to give up their vote following the effort that led to the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Could a backlash take place against politicians supporting a yes vote? A number of candidates for office don’t want to get in the middle of this argument, not exactly a profile in courage stance.
What say you? Would you be more or less inclined to decide your vote based on a candidate’s position on this issue?