Lots of twists and turns in recent days as Democratic candidates position for seats on the Board of Education.
Two slots are available on the Democratic side this cycle, and there could be a few more twists before the Democratic Town Committee meets Wednesday night to endorse candidates for BOE.
Democratic Town Chair Mario Testa is telling candidates nothing is cast in stone. He plans to call a meeting of the 10 district leaders to size up BOE candidates before the 90-member DTC endorsement session. Once candidates are endorsed opposition candidates could run a primary, but BOE primaries are rare. It’s a big pain in the butt to run a citywide primary for the no-pay BOE. Still they’re important seats. The BOE makes up roughly one third or so of the overall city budget. It’s also a place where city pols can exert influence over jobs and construction work for financial contributors.
Who are these people? Some you know, some you don’t but all of them are in play for a slot on the Bridgeport Board of Education.
Patrick Crossin served on the City Council from 1991-2001. For the majority of his time on the council he served with Bill Finch and they forged a friendship that continues today. Pat was also chairman of the council’s Budget and Appropriations committee. He serves on the board of the Water Pollution Control Authority. Look for the mayor to push for Pat, someone who’ll work with the mayor. Crossin’s close party associations include State Rep. Auden Grogins and Black Rock District Leader Dan Roach.
Carmen Lopez, a retired Superior Court judge, was actively involved in city politics in the 1980s when the late John Guman was Democratic town chairman. John’s wife Dottie is vice chair of the party, the pol Testa relies on most to move party business, settle disputes and organize meetings. Finch does not want Lopez on the BOE. He fears that he’ll knock heads with her the same way he knocked heads with outgoing BOE President Max Medina. Dottie, Finch’s political godmother, wants Lopez on the board.
Keith Cougar Rodgerson served on the City Council from 2003-2007. His family has a long history in city politics. Cougar, like Crossin, had an opportunity to examine the BOE budget while serving on the city’s legislative body. As a boy growing up in Bridgeport he became friends with his neighbor John Mayer, a kid who’s done pretty good playing the guitar and singing homemade songs. Cougar’s family eventually moved to Easton, he attended Harvard and then he moved back into the city to get involved politically. He was a candidate for mayor in 2007 on the Bridgeport First line.
Leticia Colon, a member of the City Council, is a disciple of Mitch Robles, leader of the District 131 which takes in the South End, downtown and West End. Robles has emerged as a serious player in city politics by virtue of his vote-producing ability on behalf of candidates he supports such as Finch. What Mitch wants Mitch usually gets, and he is offering Colon as a candidate in place of Carmen Lopez.
Joe Giaquinto, a retired educator in the Bridgeport and Danbury school systems, waged a close primary in 2007 against City Council incumbents Bob Curwen and Rich Paoletto in the 138th District. His family has deep roots in the city, and he has decided to get involved to bring an educator’s viewpoint to the BOE. Curwen has been pushing his candidacy.
Where are the Republicans in all of this? Well, by virtue of minority-party representation they have a presence on the BOE. Former State Senator Rob Russo is expected to take one of the Republican spots.
Poise The Tomatoes!
Local Celebrities to Guest Star on the Connecticut Free Shakespeare Stage
Area dignitaries show their acting chops in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”
BRIDGEPORT, Conn. – July 15, 2009 – Connecticut Free Shakespeare is pleased to announce that special performances of its 10th anniversary production of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” will include local dignitaries and celebrities in guest starring roles.
Guest Star Schedule:
Friday, July 17
Dr. Bert Garskof
CFS Executive Producer
Professor, Quinnipiac University
Saturday, July 18 (rain date July 19)
Mayor Bill Finch
Mayor, City of Bridgeport
Thursday, July 23
Bruce McDonald, MD
Chief Medical Officer
Friday, July 24
Executive Director & Curator
The Barnum Museum
Sunday, July 26
Associate Vice President, University Relations
University of Bridgeport
Wednesday, July 29
Small Business Institute Director
Community Economic Development Fund
Friday, July 31
In addition to the special guest stars, this year’s cast includes many of the fan favorites who return to CFS each summer. Thirteen actors from across the country are members of the Actor’s Equity Association, the union of professional actors and stage managers in the United States. The show is produced by Bertram Garskof and adapted and directed by Ellen Lieberman, founders of Connecticut Free Shakespeare.
All performances are free and open to the public at Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo. Performances begin at 8:00 pm, with the Zoo opening for picnics at 6:30 pm.
All performances are as follows:
Friday, July 17 through Sunday, July 18
Wednesday, July 22 through Sunday, July 26
Wednesday, July 29 through Saturday, August 1
Parking at Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo is free for these performances. Blankets, chairs and picnics are welcome and encouraged. Performances are cancelled in the event of inclement weather.
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About Connecticut Free Shakespeare (CFS): Founded in 1999, Connecticut Free Shakespeare is a professional educational theater project committed to producing understandable and entertaining performances of Shakespeare’s plays that are accessible to a broad range of audience members. Now in its 10th season, CFS currently produces one major production per summer, performed free of charge at Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo and on Guilford’s historic green. In addition, CFS is committed to nurturing the creativity of local teenagers and developing their classical theater skills through comprehensive internship programs. Actors and Stage Managers are members of Actors’ Equity Association, the union of professional actors and stage managers in the United States. Visit www.connecticutfreeshakespeare.org for more information.