Mayoral Forum To Focus On Education–Finch In, Ganim And Foster Out

UPDATE: A mayoral forum hosted by the faith-based group FaithActs for Education featuring supporters of charter schools and several local clergy members will focus on education issues tonight (Thursday) 6:30 p.m. at Cathedral of Praise, 45 Gregory Street in the South End. Register here. All candidates running in the November general election have been invited to attend. Joe Ganim and Mary-Jane Foster have opted out of the debate citing scheduling conflicts. Mayor Bill Finch will attend.

Republican Enrique Torres and petitioning candidates Tony Barr and David Daniels, all of whom will appear on the November ballot, have committed to attend. The forum will be moderated by Jason Newton of WTNH and Frank Recchia of News 12 Connecticut.

The organization’s Executive Director Jamilah Prince-Stewart had worked at the Connecticut Coalition for Achievement Now, the education reform group focused on closing Connecticut’s achievement gap. ConnCAN has been a high-profile public education advocate pushing policies to further more school choice such as charter schools and classroom accountability. Finch is a proponent of charter schools that receive public money but operate independently of traditional school districts.

“FaithActs is proud to host this important forum, where each candidate will be able to explain how he or she would improve education for Bridgeport’s 23,000 children,” said Bishop Derek Calhoun, Senior Pastor of New Vision International Ministries and FaithActs’ board chair, in a statement. “Voters need the candidates to be clear and specific because our children’s education is too important to be treated otherwise.”

“Bridgeport citizens need to feel a tremendous sense of urgency from the people who want to be our next mayor,” said FaithActs founder Pastor William McCullough of Russell Temple CME Church. “Our parents and children cannot wait for another 5-year plan. They need real hope and real solutions.”

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38 comments

  1. Joe Ganim and Mary-Jane Foster have opted out citing “scheduling conflicts” and Bill Finch hasn’t committed. Isn’t that just … speshull. Figures the mayor would wimp out; education is one of the issues he is weakest on. He’s a gutless coward.

    I’m surprised and disappointed Ganim and Foster are staying home. All three are avoiding a contentious issue.

      1. What do you know about the sponsor? Is this about public school education and funding it correctly or is this about charter schools and funding? What about public funding for parochial schools, Jewish schools and Muslim schools, why not, if we are taking public tax money away from public schools to fund charter schools then why not these other school systems?

        1. Ron,
          Parochial schools were demolished because of the charter school movement. B.C. (before charter), the Bridgeport diocese had six or seven elementary schools. Now it’s down to Cathedral Academy (K-4 @ St. Augustine’s; 5-8 @ St. Raphael) and St. Ann’s.

      2. Steve,
        Just about every pastor who is a part of FaithActs just took a picture with Finch in support of him.

        This organization’s leader came from ConnCAN. I’m sure both orgs have similar agendas.

        At least two of the pastors in the Finch pic wants to open their own school a la Love Christian Academy.

        1. Eric Alicea,
          What? Finch has clergy supporting him? Are they black clergy? Omg, how exciting. I was planning on going to this event. Channel 12 is moderating. I think Foster and Ganim are weak for not attending and I think most non-political people will agree. Foster and Ganim do not support Charter schools, but better opportunity to make news than be there and make your view clear. I think it was a mistake and I think you do also.

  2. Finch claims his school construction has created over 3,000 jobs. What kind of jobs? Are the people with these jobs on the city payroll? Are these construction jobs that mostly went to out-of-towners and out-of-state companies? More BS.

  3. Why is this debate inclusive of all the General Election candidates? Is it not a primary cycle? What is this really about, an opportunity to showcase Finch? I assure you that won’t work because every single candidate who has registered and committed is smarter than Finch. He will be blowing a gasket before the halfway point. I can’t wait to hear about what Torres and Daniels do to him.

    1. This is an opportunity to showcase Finch? Nice. This also was an opportunity for Joe, Mary-Jane and Charlie to state their case. Just a missed two-hour opportunity.

      1. What is there to discuss? We all know Mayor Finch has underfunded public school funding, so what is he going to say about that? With public education you need the other party involved, the Bridgeport Board of Education candidates, they run the school system.

        1. Ron, I suppose this would have been an opportunity for your to give some face. This is how it works. Personally, I think Mayor Finch should not go to any of the other debates. Just put a baseball cap on an empty seat. Let Mary-Jane Foster and Ganim debate each other. We can see what the mayor has accomplished. He is the incumbent. He can pick and choose. He can make a major announcement of a five-star hotel the same evening, and Ganim and Foster can talk about Benghazi, I mean the $600 rebate.

          1. Oh, that’s just a little one, there are two hotels and a convention center, no? Bob, you cannot handle any of Steelpointe, just months ago nothing was going there. Now you are not happy with anything going there. Vote Foster, no development, no charter schools no hope for tomorrow. Stevie will accept all opportunities for jobs, expansion and life to the peninsula. Bob, get on the bus or get out of the way! Pick up a glove and get in the game. Do you imagine one Foster supporter is not excited about Steelpointe? Think again!

  4. This cop gave the city of Bridgeport an education. OIB.

    Cop suspended for being out of work

    By Daniel Tepfer Published 4:13 pm, Wednesday, September

    BRIDGEPORT – A city police officer has been suspended without pay for claiming he had worked 50 days when he was not on the job.

    The Board of Police Commissioners approved a settlement suspending officer Brian Pisanelli for 24 working days and deducting 48 holidays from the officer.

    Police Union President Charles Paris declined comment on the board’s action.

    Pisanelli has been a member of the executive board of the police union since Nov. 2009. Sources said he claimed he was doing union business on the days he did not come to work but claimed he had worked.

    No criminal charges were brought against him and police officials would not comment.

  5. Bridgeport needs a Thai, Mexican and Puerto Rican restaurant downtown.

    We need to put some energy into developing Pleasure Beach. Gerat playground and concession stand. What else? Is there room for a Go Kart track? Skate Board Track?

    Now we should be planning a shuttle from the train station to Steelpointe making it attractive to commuters from Port Jefferson. How about a Trolly from Steelpointe to East Main Street? That would really enhance the East Main Street corridor.

    There are so many great opportunities for the Mayor to enhance these new projects.

    Mayor Finch, the only Choice for Bridgeport’s Future.

      1. No Hector, what I said was no developer will do anything in the city of Bridgeport unless Ganim’s pal Al Lenoci can resurrect himself. The North End is still looking at the Ganim nightmare on Madison Avenue. The empty Stop & Shop Ganim pushed for Lenoci that has been vacant for 10 years. I really miss that beautiful Dewhirst dairy pond that disappeared.

        Hector, is the Hampton Inn beneath you? Could it pave the way for the huge Hotel Convention center to be built following 1200 units of housing? Are all these great Steelpointe announcements too much for Ganim to handle? According to the latest numbers it would appear so. You want Ganim, you get no development. That is a sad vision, Hector. How does that compare to new sidewalks as a highlight to Ganim’s Development plan? I appreciate your support for Ganim, but I think even you will vote for Finch. 🙂

        1. Lol Steve, I’ve said if our current mayor ran unopposed, I’d exercise my right and write in your name. Steve, Hampton Inn is not beneath me. I’ve stayed at some on my way somewhere. THAT’S WHAT THEY ARE, “PLACES TO STAY ON YOUR WAY SOMEWHERE.” My point is I was under the impression we were building a DESTINATION!

  6. I understand the set-up argument, however if a candidate has a strong position on issues, go forth and debate. Educate those of us who are listening and make your position known.

    1. Jennifer, first you must understand the agenda of the organization that is sponsoring the debate. This debate is a pro-charter school debate so how do you convince people who want public tax dollars going to charters and still underfund Bridgeport public school children? That becomes a no-win debate, where’s the money coming from?

      1. Hello Ron, I completely understand who’s sponsoring and what their agenda is. If you are strongly pro-charter or anti-charter I truly believe, if you’re going to be an effective mayor, you go to the debate and you clearly state and try to win the argument as to why you are a pro one or the other. I understand no one wants to lose a vote, having open debates and exchanges of ideas only helps people understand clearly what you stand for, and how you plan to implement what you stand for. I have found there are very few voters who vote on one issue only. As far as I’m concerned, the more debates the better.

  7. Steve. I just read your “baseball cap on an empty seat” post; that could sum up Bill’s whole eight years in City Hall. Brilliant! (Joe thanks you for all your help!)

    1. Jeff Kohut, everyone knows I forgave Joe Ganim and like him and many of his ill-advised supporters. The sad part Jeff, and I mean this sincerely. When Joe Ganim loses the primary, he will not be thanking me. Should Mayor Finch announce a Dollar Store and Mary-Jane run out of money on Monday and Joe Ganim wins, then he may thank me. I will say you are welcome and Mario Testa will run our city. That isn’t going to happen. Jeff, you are welcome.

      Btw, for all the Ganim and Foster supporters who feel you made the right move by disrespecting the group hosting the debate believing it was a pro-Finch showcase, let me say you really fucked up! I had to use that word because no other word would do.

      Rick Torres was very impressive, I loved his preaching style. My mayor was very eloquent and did not disappoint.
      Tony Barr made it clear he wanted to be mayor and had a chip on his shoulder that was outrageous. David Daniels looked sharp and spoke well.

      The highlight of the evening was when one of Ganim’s supporters rudely got up in the church and started screaming Joe Ganim KKK and he was ushered out. All the predominately black audience heard was Joe Ganim KKK. The fact Joe Ganim’s supporter made that outrageous outburst was most ironic as Joe Ganim completely disrespected that community this evening as well as Foster by choosing to ignore this event. Instead Joe Ganim spent his evening meeting and greeting North End residents at Stop & Shop. That just added more insult to injury by avoiding a two-hour debate!

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