Former City Councilman Joel “Speedy” Gonzalez will appear on the November ballot as a petitioning candidate for Connecticut’s 130th State House seat occupied by Democrat Ezequiel Santiago. Winning the long-shot seat is not his ultimate goal. He’s looking to create an insurgent political party presence on the Peace and Progress line, as he shares in this commentary:
Eleven months ago I envisioned a different political process than the one developed since the primary for Bridgeport BOE and City Council. There was once an opposition coalition that started to break up before the 2013 primary. By March 2014 I was sure there would not be a true coalition any longer. The BEA made it quite clear they were looking out for themselves and used many of us to get what they wanted, leaving some bold and key political operatives behind on the battle zone–they got their union raises. Maria Pereira handled a small group of DTC candidates who bit the hand that fed them or should I say led them.
Before the smoke cleared in the 2013 battle, a great leader named Maria Valle was left to fight with a small group of individuals of which I was one. The primary for City Council in the 137th District ended in a tie that was broken when one additional ballot surfaced during the recount in favor of Maria Valle’s opponent in a process handled in violation of established rules and procedures by the Registrar of Voters.
After the recount, I left with Maria Valle who cried after bearing such abuse. We took some time off and got together to discuss the next step. I wrote an SEEC complaint on her behalf, printed it and gave it to her to have it notarized and mailed. Maria Valle left on a vacation to Puerto Rico and after her return I noticed I had not received any letters from SEEC as I was a witness to the complaint. Maria Valle had given the complaint to a notary public who was supposed to mail it–it disappeared and we decided to leave it alone for the time being. I have copies and records saved. I returned to my research of Candidate Committee Reports determined to file all complaints necessary. In January 2014 I was having regrets and struggling with the decision to file or not to file a series of SEEC complaints with the potential of ending or crippling the political career of several elected officials.
Around January 2014, I received a call from personal friend Hector A. Diaz. Diaz informed me Danny Roach had cut him off the 130th Democratic Town Committee District and was poised to form his own slate to challenge Danny’s slate and offered me a spot on his slate–I accepted and let Hector handle the process.
After our slate qualified, I received the voters list and other documents. Upon inspecting the documents I learned State Senator Andres Ayala had changed his address–again–to 742 Hancock Avenue and his stepson Erick Amada was the candidate replacing Hector Diaz and living in the same house. For many years I heard Andres Ayala preach Hispanic unity, but in the matter of our slate of three Hispanics and two African Americans, the preaching didn’t apply. I called Andres and asked him if he really wanted to do this. He took this as kind of a threat and I stated my position–he is a hypocrite to say the least. He chose to proceed and about 15 minutes before the polls closed the night of the DTC primary Erick Amado decided to express and flex his new-found political muscle with the mouth at Longfellow School. That was the straw that broke the camel’s back and several months later I filed the SEEC complaints currently under investigation. Be careful what you wish for.
I’ve since contributed financially to several campaign committees both Democrats and Republicans. The coalition never called a meeting to discuss the next step. Working Family Party doesn’t get involved in DTC races. They have no problem getting involved in Democratic Party campaigns. Members of the coalition are now in bed together with the very groups we all felt must be challenged and defeated.
Every one of us is supposed to forget all that was done by the status quo and come under the same Democratic tent–it’s the only tent I see. I’ve been cold and wet before, thank you, I think I’ll pass this time again. The majority of those involved in Bridgeport politics act and most are even convinced they know what they are doing. The majority only think of what they can get.
I hate politics. Politicians and political activists are expected to serve the party’s interest alone. I believe in Publictics–to serve the public that elects you. I’m on the ballot in the 130th District and Angel Reyes is running in the 128th for State Representative under Peace and Progress, a party we are trying to put together. The mayoral election cycle begins after November 4, 2014. Just about everyone wants to run for mayor of Bridgeport.
If Peace and Progress is able to obtain a percentage number of votes, it will become an official party that can play a critical role in 2015. The Democratic Party tent is not big enough for everybody. Here is an opportunity for some to secure an opportunity to have a better shot at becoming mayor in 2015. VOTE Peace and Progress. If you burn our tent, we shall burn your tent.
I have other options and I’m waiting to hear from the Foley camp and others. Time is running out for them. The Bridgeport Republican Party seems to be in neutral. Republican Party Chairmen John Slater seems to be more preoccupied going to the gym, football games, baseball games and watching WWE than doing what the Bridgeport Republican party needs to do. The campaign trail can serve as a gym.
It’s crunch time! What say you?