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Who Are These People!

July 16th, 2009 · 41 Comments · City Politics, Education, News and Events

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
Bridgeport Hospital

Friday, July 24
Kathy Maher
Executive Director & Curator
The Barnum Museum

Sunday, July 26
Mary-Jane Foster
Associate Vice President, University Relations
University of Bridgeport

Wednesday, July 29
Rina Bakalar
Small Business Institute Director
Community Economic Development Fund

Friday, July 31
David D’Addario
D’Addario Industires

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.
# # #

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.

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41 Comments so far ↓

  • city hall smoker

    I’m not a Testacrat, but Mario is a smart political strategist. So he has to be thinking two things … which candidate can they best control? Which candidate is the biggest threat? If they don’t back Judge Lopez for BOE, will she run for mayor and is that a bigger problem? Are they better off giving her the BOE seat to get her out of the way? HMMM

  • donj

    OK so you mean to tell me Leticia Colon might get the endorsement over Carmen Lopez and if so there is really no chance Carmen Lopez runs a primary? I was looking forward to casting a vote for her but as usual Finch always finds a way to get around it.

  • donj

    city hall smoker do you think Lopez is bold enough to primary anyone if she is not endorsed because right now it’s looking like she will not be endorsed.

  • Grin Ripper

    I thought Finch would be starring in “Much Ado About Nothing”.

  • city hall smoker

    I don’t think Carmen will primary for the BOE seat but I think she is starting to think about a run for mayor. That’s where she can pose a serious threat and upset the DTC. Many Bridgeporters are begging for a change and several have approached Carmen. The politics is killing this city. We need someone who will do the right thing for the employees and the taxpayers. Carmen may just be that person.

  • GrandmaMoses

    Thanks for this breakdown on the candidates Lennie. I was recently forced into a discussion with a local, overly political, bore and I was much better informed on the issues at hand. I realized it was from reading this blog and the back and forth between these fresh boys and girls here! THANKS, for getting into all the nooks and crannies here in the Port, but for goodness sake all of you be nice! What would Grandma say? I’m sure Anna is a lovely girl.

  • Up On Bridgeport

    Hey Grandma

    Are you the Grandma Moses of your people?
    I think you meant to say “crooks and grannies”.

    They are changing the title of the play when Bill performs to “A Midsummer Night’s Wet Dream”.

    I can see the critics’ headlines already. “Finch Fails Nocturnal Emissions Test!”

  • The Bridgeport Kid

    “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.”

    What’s wrong with the passage quoted above? Why is this man, this Don Calamari, allowed to determine who is a candidate and who is allowed to run for public office in this town?

  • The Bridgeport Kid

    The Bridgeport Democratic Town Committee only provides insurance to Don Mario Calamari that Bridgeport politics will continue to be FUBAR.

  • donj

    Oh Lord, The Bridgeport Kid, the same guy from last summer who Up On Bridgeport discovered was the paid blog guy from the Banshee. You have no credibility to say anything about others. I rarely even read any of your posts at all.

    • The Bridgeport Kid

      That’s okay because I don’t post anything for the benefit of poorly informed, small-minded toads like you. A PAID blogger? I worked on Auden Grogins’ campaign, but I was entering and collating data. No one gets “paid” to blog.

      Stop smoking crack.

    • The Bridgeport Kid

      BTW,
      Your spelling and punctuation pretty much suck. Did you miss the bus to grammar school?

  • enlightened

    Who are these people, indeed.

    You have a retired superior court judge who came up through the city, knows the problems of the city and the challenges facing children here, and city Democrats brush her off like bait-fish from Union Square Dock.

    Carmen Lopez has never been anybody’s fool. She can be a noisy, independent, brash sort; perhaps a little idealistic, heaven forbid. Certainly honest, smart and caring.

    Cutting her off is a stunt worthy of the old Mandanici machine, seeking the lowest common denominator to squawk back the administration’s line like monk parrots. (“The schools are getting better! The schools are getting better!” How do we know? “We said so! We said so!”)

    If the Democratic mayor is suffering from pangs of remorse for his days of opposition to the machine, perhaps the Republicans can help him find a candidate who is not a parrot for the administration, and nominate Lopez to one of their positions on the ballot.

    • city hall smoker

      It does make you sick, doesn’t it? Carmen spoke her mind, Finch got insulted and now the two little men (Mario and Adam) think they can exclude her. Well I don’t think that sits too well with the judge. I hope she says “fuck you and your BOE seat, I’m running for mayor.”

      A female coworker reminded me of a pattern with this administration. They do not like smart, outspoken women. They got rid of Rina and Nancy and there’s talk about replacing Dr. Evans. The only one they allow to hang on is Alanna because she kisses their asses and yeses them to death.

      Funny too how Finch had no use for Mario before. Then Mario raises big bucks and now they’re best buds Politics sure makes strange bedfellows.

  • The Bridgeport Kid

    As I noted a day or two earlier, my roomate’s niece received a report card from Bassick High, a school she never attended. She actually passed her English class with a B. It wasn’t magic or bilocation, it was a poorly managed school district. Some time ago school administrators were asked by a reporter for the Connecticut Post to respond to the well-known fact that Bridgeport has one of the highest high school dropout rates east of the Mississippi, somewhere between 48% and 70%. School administrators blamed it on the students that move from one school to another without informing the registrar of the change of address.

    If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck …

  • Joel Gonzalez

    Who are the current BOE members and what have they done for Bridgeport’s children, is the question that needs to be asked.

    Maximo Medina Jr., President
    Barbara Bellinger, Vice President
    Alice B. Nealon, Secretary
    Thomas B. Cunningham, member
    John W. Olson, member
    Dolores Fuller, member
    Bobby Simmons, member

    I’m not happy with the job done by the current board members especially the Republicans. I particularly expect better from my fellow Republicans. In a prior posting, I mentioned a City Council resolution presented by Councilmen Daniel Martinez in which the Parent Center project was saved when the City Council approved the above-mentioned resolution. The resolution passed after it was amended with wording that required the BOE to pay back the $650,000 in 10 years at $65,000 a year.
    Was this legal? Considering that the BOE seems to have paid the first yearly installment, I take it as a yes. This sets a dangerous and conflicting precedent–the City Council can make financial decisions that the BOE should be making and voting on. I/we heard nothing about this from the BOE. Why is a separate elected body making financial decisions that another elected body is empowered to make? Can the BOE make decisions that the City Council is empowered to make?
    We have all probably heard that the BOE is willing to give back or refund any BOE surplus to the City. I assure you all that the BOE owes the City at least $585,000 for the Parent Center project funding approved by the City Council. Why is the BOE making a commitment to refund money when they have outstanding debts? It would be wise for the BOE to pay off the Parent Center debt to the City with surplus money and refund the remaining surplus money to the city. This clearly demonstrates that the current BOE members are NOT paying the attention required of them. Who are they to ask students to pay attention in class? Class dismissed!

  • Mojo

    *** Colon will be one of the candidates picked ’cause lets face it, when has the party really gone with the best picks for the city as a whole? *** (C.H.S.) should have a pretty good idea on what’s been cooking since she’s always into everybody’s business @ City Hall and McLevy Hall. *** After it’s all said & done, it will still be about 3/4 of the same old shit! *** No light @ the end of the Park City Tunnel that’s for sure. ***

    • city hall smoker

      I can’t remember saying anything about the employees in McLevy. But anyway, you are right that Leticia is not the best candidate, in fact she may be the worst. She doesn’t have 1/2 the smarts and ethics that Carmen has. Didn’t she misuse her council position to close the school clinics and steer the money to her employer? Major conflict of interest. I’m sorry but I don’t want anyone like that holding ANY elected position in my city. My kids go to parochial schools but many kids in my neighborhood utilized those clinics and now they are virtually closed, only providing the most minimal of services. Plus a 100-year-old dental hygiene program that cost the city NOTHING was closed leaving thousands of kids with no preventative dental care. Thank you Leticia for looking out for our kids. Yeah you belong on the BOE–my ass!

    • city hall smoker

      See, MoJo, you violated the blog rules and now you’ve been censored. Oh–so have I! Except that everyone knows who Mojo is and my identify remains a secret. Thank you, webmaster.

  • Joel Gonzalez

    I purposely left out the name of Nereyda Robles off the BOE members list. Does the last name sound familiar?
    Nereyda Robles is the sister-in-law of Mitch (the switch) Robles. Now Mitch wants to place another of his clan members on the BOE.
    I wonder if the rest of the Democratic Town Committee members realize that if they allow the switch to successfully place Leticia Colon on the BOE, the switch will control 1/3 of the Democrats on the BOE. I hope they are able to see just how greedy and power-hungry this character is.
    Years ago, there was a BOE meeting in which a Bridgeport Post reporter was present. The BOE took a roll-call vote on a matter that they were attending to. Nereyda Robles voted one way–not the way Mitch wanted her to–when Mitch Robles approached her pulled her to the side and intimidated her to “switch” her vote. Nereyda Robles did as Mitch told her to and “switched” her vote. Is this the kind of person that the Democratic Town Committee as a whole wants in selecting future BOE members?

    • city hall smoker

      Joel, explain something to me. Who is Mitch, where did he come from and who gave him all this power?

      • Joel Gonzalez

        The power was inherited when the late Domingo Robles passed away. Mitch was at the right place at the right time when Americo Santiago, myself and others moved out of the 131st district.

  • city hall smoker

    So BF, what’s up with you? Did you see the news tonight? Supposedly a cop ran over a suspect on Hancock Ave. today in front of several witnesses. They say he ran over him and then backed up and ran over him again. But then the guy got up and ran away. Something is strange about this story.

    • Bpts Finest

      Actually he jumped out of a stolen vehicle into the way of the cruiser … remember … believe none of what you hear and half of what you see.

      • city hall smoker

        I didn’t believe it. How do you get run over by a police cruiser not once, but twice and then you get up and run away? Didn’t make sense. I hope the witnesses aren’t going to lie and put the cops through hell.

    • Joel Gonzalez

      CHS I live around the corner from the location of the alleged incident. It was a High Speedy Gonzalez chase that ended near my house. Someone was hit and other suspects may have gotten away. The rumor that one guy ran so fast he looked like Speedy Gonzalez and he ran into my house is not true. I was at work and can prove it.

  • donj

    Bpts Finest, because the majority of the people never agree with you doesn’t mean you have to be a big baby now. Poor thing, do you need a tissue? Thanks Up On Bridgeport for making us know the real true Bridgeport Kid who just appeared last year (in the summer of all times) to promote. You must be city hall smoker.

  • Mojo

    *** No, K.S. is the real city hall smoker, used to work for Ganim years ago! ***

  • Bpts Finest

    LOL … you are 0 for 2 donj … someone wrongly outed CHS and we now know it’s Miss CHS … again, it was wrong to out her … and you dumbly think people get paid to blog on here … like I said, NO BRAIN.

  • RedWhiteandBlue

    CHS is not KS Mojo. It really is not good to try to “out” people. CHS is not even the same gender as you suggest. You are just guessing and can get people that have nothing to do with CHS’s posts in trouble. Not good, not right.

    • Mojo

      *** Well K.S. could be anyone? Why the panic & concern on your part there R.W. & B? If the shoe fits, it’s academic due to all the B/S written! After all opinions or disagreements can be blogged without personal mean-spirited name-calling & everything else that’s been written. I would love to “out” all the guilty disrespectful OIB bloggers that hide behind website handles only to make spiteful comments & unwarranted rumors about people in general! I say nasty things back in response to these idiots that should be censored after say, two warnings? To protect their true I.D. is merely endorsing this crude behavior to continue. They deserve whatever they get from their peers, work or on the street! What goes around comes around, sooner or later. ***

  • donj

    Enough of Bpts Ugliest and City Hall Smoker, two inside people who are the same. Bpts Ugliest you always got owned by Up On Bridgeport and now you’re getting owned by me, poor baby you need a tissue. We give Finch too much heat sometimes, he has tried. I was loyal to Finch during the primary and will continue to support him.

    • Mojo

      *** donj, if you’ve made a commitment to be loyal to Finch and see no problems with his overall job performance still at this time and continue to support him, then you’re a person who keeps his word as his bond and there’s nothing wrong with that! I can respect that! ***

  • The Bridgeport Kid

    And you must be a socially challenged asshole with too much time on your hands.

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