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Is John Bagley A School Board Puppet For The Working Families Party?

February 12th, 2014 · 7 Comments · Analysis and Comment, Development and Zoning, Education, News and Events

Megan DeSombre, who publishes the Education Bridgeport website, shares her take and video from Tuesday night’s meeting about a much-needed new high school that the Working Families Party-controlled school board turned into a political snowball fight. Will the power-hungry WFP demagogues prevail?

Last night’s Board of Education Facilities Committee Meeting was “open to the public.” Unfortunately, the broader community was never sent the memo. Apparently, this trifling concern didn’t stop Facilities Committee chair and Working Families Party puppet John Bagley from ceding the floor to his buddies, who used the opportunity to tug on some serious heart strings. Carmen Lopez, retired judge-turned-activist and not a member of the board, opened the meeting for Bagley. (Just in case you were wondering who’s calling the shots.)

The meeting then went on to an extended public session, where former board member and current Working Families Party leader Maria Pereira plus outspoken anti-Finch activist Clyde Nicholson made outlandish claims about the proposed Harding High School site.

The Working Families Party contingent claims the Boston Ave. former GE site is far too contaminated and dangerous to house a school. Reminding the audience, repeatedly, that children’s lives are at stake.

Interestingly, they came to this conclusion before looking at any of the site reports, or hearing from the city’s environmental consultant or state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) who were all present at the meeting.

All the experts, however, were not allowed to speak until the “public” could voice their wild speculations.

According to the city’s environmental consultant and the two representatives from the DEEP, you know, the people who actually know what they’re talking about, GE must submit remediation plans to the state. The state must approve these plans and will come in and test the site before it’s approved for residential use. This has to happen before a high school is built.

While it’s completely understandable to be concerned about the prospect of building a high school on a brownfield site, it was clear from the beginning that the Working Families Party aim was to fan the fires of discontentment.

They came in, scripts in hand, ready to put on a show.

Sadly, the Working Families Party’s political maneuvering might cost East End and East Side students a school.

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7 Comments so far ↓

  • Andrew C Fardy

    I understand the need for a new High School, what I don’t understand is the rush to use the GE property for the site. I know 37 acres of vacant land is tempting but we really don’t know all of the contaminants that are buried there. I do know 30-plus years ago test wells were drilled all around the property. I don’t know why and I don’t know what was found.
    I have never seen what contaminants are on the GE site. I do not trust the state environmental people and their findings. Their findings on the power station in Milford led to many construction workers getting sick and in some cases permanently disabled.
    When work began the site was cleared by the state and was said to be environmentally safe. After work began more tests were conducted and contamination was found. My son and his crew were exposed to a wide variety of toxic material. Some of his friends developed cancer, one killed himself and my son started getting seizures. The state said they did not have the manpower or the funds to do a proper study before construction began.
    My son was exposed to trichloroethylene, which was found in his system. There is not enough information available about this product to offer any long-term solution to my son’s condition. The point is let’s not totally trust what the state says and why hasn’t the types of contamination been listed for public knowledge?

    • Jimfox

      I can’t trust Finch or GE?

      Case status: NOAA and its co-trustees from USFWS and CT addressed public comments and released a Final Amendment to the Housatonic River Basin Restoration Plan. This Amendment highlights aquatic restoration because the original 2009 Restoration Plan primarily focused on Recreational and Riparian Restoration. The Trustees are preparing to implement the aquatic restoration projects outlined in this final amendment.

      Overview: The General Electric (GE) Housatonic River Site is located in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, extending along the river from the GE facility in Pittsfield into Connecticut. The cleanup site consists of waste sources at the GE facility in Pittsfield and other areas in Pittsfield where PCB wastes from the GE facility have been disposed, as well as sediment and water contaminated by the migration of PCBs via the Housatonic River. The presence of PCB contamination in river sediments, soils and groundwater has been documented through a series of investigations, spanning two decades, conducted by GE, the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MA DEP), and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

      In 1982, the MA DEP ordered the Housatonic River closed to all but catch and release fishing from Dalton to the Connecticut border as a result of PCB contamination in river sediments and fish tissues. PCBs may have reached anadromous fish and estuarine species well downstream of the cleanup site. In addition, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health investigated concerns expressed by local residents regarding possible health effects resulting from exposure to PCB contamination. The Connecticut Department of Health has fish consumption advisories along the entire Housatonic River in CT due to body residue PCBs.

  • Mojo

    *** It’s a thankless job being on the Bpt BOE due to the past problems, politics and ignorance of members to research and ask the right questions at the right times. Seems the city goes from one group of hackers to another in its quest for positive change only to achieve if possible, a worse scenario! Lord knows if the site cleanup report is not quite up to standards for board members, then spend the money and get another expert opinion to compare while in the meantime looking for another site for the school! It does not hurt to be prepared nor ask questions, however it is not in the city’s best interest or the educational system to totally ignore all site reports without sound reason due to personal agendas. And once again this entire board needs a crash course on Robert’s Rules of Order, no? ***

  • invincible

    Bagley does not live in Bridgeport. In one of the campaign trails, a resident stated what is Bagley doing running for office, he doesn’t live in Bridgeport. When will the SEEC office look into these matters? Andres Ayala does not live in the Hollow, and the list goes on and on.

    • Godiva2011

      How is it candidates from Bridgeport don’t actually live in Bridgeport? Maybe it’s time for background checks on potential candidates prior to endorsing them.

    • David Moore

      invincible, you base this charge on what? And if you are so concerned maybe you should complain that several members of the Robles family who are involved in politics list their address at a travel agency they own on State Street.

  • Andrew C Fardy

    Neither the past board or the present board looked at other sites once the GE buildings were torn down. Finch made a cozy deal with Bridgeport Hospital to buy the Harding property no matter where the kids end up going to school. I have a message for Bridgeport Hospital, build on other properties you own surrounding the hospital. Please don’t tell me about the jobs it will bring to Bridgeport because that’s bullshit. If there are jobs they are custodial.
    Time should have been taken to look at alternate sites such as UB. If the kids from Harding have to take a bus to UB, so be it. We put grade school kids on buses every day.

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