An organization calling itself the Coalition to Protect Our Voting Rights consisting of education advocates, clergy and political operatives will kickoff a “Vote No” campaign Saturday, 1 p.m. at 1242 Stratford Avenue to work against the Nov. 6 ballot question that if approved by voters will empower Mayor Bill Finch to appoint members to the Board of Education. The rally comes as the mayor’s political organization has stepped up voter outreach in support of the ballot question.
In a media alert the coalition claims “Citizens will rally inside the campaign office to hear community leaders speak out against the ballot question that threatens the civil rights of Bridgeport residents. Community members and activists will then take to the streets with clipboards and the phone-lines with our message that we must VOTE NO to protect our civil rights.”
Former Board of Education President Max Medina is serving as chairman of the organization. Connecticut’s Working Families Party, Bridgeport Child Advocacy Coalition and Bridgeport Education Association, representing unionized teachers, are among opponents to the ballot question.
The ballot question has taken center stage locally with less than four weeks to election day in a presidential cycle. Mayor Bill Finch’s well-funded campaign organization has begun a voter outreach urging voters to reform city schools by allowing him to select board members to bring schools to a new level of progress after decades of despair. Mail pieces and phone calls are flooding city voters.
The mayor is aided by Excel Bridgeport, an education reform group formed last year in the aftermath of state control of schools, overturned by the Connecticut Supreme Court, claiming the old way of doing things doesn’t work, citing cities such as Hartford and New Haven as mayoral-appointed models that work better than an elected body in the state’s largest city.