The education issue is not going away. When the state’s largest city proclaims we’re not competent to educate our kids–let the state do it–such a declaration will not fade. Several education advocates including retired Superior Court Judge Carmen Lopez and dethroned member of the Board of Education Maria Pereira are fanning the flames of folks upset the state blowtorched local education control at the request of city leaders.
Tuesday at 6 p.m. on the steps of City Hall a coalition of education advocates will decry state rule. When Lopez and Pereira latch on to an issue it’s like prying a piranha off your butt. While forces rally in support of local control of schools, Mayor Bill Finch will receive the endorsement from the Democratic Town Committee at Testo’s Restaurant for another four-year term.
What Finch forces thought would be a walk in the park to a primary win now requires their full attention to receive four more years of job security. Finch is still the odds-on favorite to win the primary given his spending advantage and party support, but Democratic voters are restless seven weeks before the primary. Wednesday morning primary opponents will begin the process to secure more than 2,000 certified signatures to win September ballot approval from local election officials.
Meanwhile, Democratic mayoral candidate Mary-Jane Foster shared her education platform in a speech Monday night (tonight) at Gallery 305 on Knowlton Street on the East Side. Foster has called for Superintendent of Schools John Ramos to resign considering he threw in the towel. She announced her own proposal for the future of education in Bridgeport.
“The current mayor and superintendent have given up on fixing education in Bridgeport,” says Foster. “I have the vision and commitment needed to turn around our school system. If elected mayor you can hold me accountable for the education of our children.”
Democratic mayoral candidate John Gomes released his first radio ad last week he says outlines the central message of his campaign “which includes reforming City Hall and breaking the political machine that has blocked progress in Bridgeport for many years.”
“This is our first ad, but the fight is just beginning. This is a fight to take the power from the ruling few who have failed the city and return it to the people,” said Gomes campaign manager Lachlan McIntosh. “People in Bridgeport are tired of watching a small group prosper while everyone else suffers. The Gomes campaign is about bringing a new day to this city and that’s what this radio ad is about.”
The Gomes campaign says the fight is just beginning. Except Gomes has been a candidate for more than a year. It suggests he hasn’t been fighting until now. Where has he been?
The problem with Gomes’ radio spot (listen to it at johnmgomes.com/WP/) is it doesn’t introduce him to the electorate. He’s still largely unknown, and that’s because he’s money challenged. His campaign kicked out this spot claiming he’s the true reformer for the city. Well, what had voters previously heard from the campaign that would lead them to believe he’s a reformer? Based on what? Did the campaign air a prior radio spot that highlighted his credentials as head of the government-efficiency CitiStat program? Nope. Not a peep. All voters are hearing is he’s the one. This kind of message doesn’t work without a previous foundation.
In addition, the initial radio buy on WICC and WEBE 108 is too weak to make an impact. He’ll need a lot more thunder behind the media buy to make it stick.