Is He Bridge Builder Bradley Or Despotic Dennis?

Dennis Bradley
Dennis Bradley

If school board chair Dennis Bradley campaigned for election on the promise he’d boycott meetings, do ya think he’d have been elected? Imagine the campaign message, “Boycott Meetings … Vote Bradley.”

The ambitious young lawyer with modelish good looks who won a school board seat in 2015, then lost a 2016 August primary to incumbent State Senator Ed Gomes, has lost his composure, as have a number of politically active, cratering to the insurrection of urban warrior Maria Pereira who has a gifted ability to melt down the sensibilities among those who claim “they’re doing it for the kids.”

Bradley looks good and sounds good, respectful and earnest at first blush; as some commenters on OIB have pointed out, he even comes across “too put together.” But lately he’s been more like despotic Dennis than a bridge builder, all because he’s allowed Pereira to strip him down to her sometimes caustic level. That is his response to Pereira whom he describes as a bully and obstructionist. Seems like Bradley is taking the bait.

Pereira, one person on a nine-member board, has caused:

— Bradley and other school board members to boycott meetings.

— Acting school chief Fran Rabinowitz to resign in bewildering frustration.

— Parents opposed to Pereira to stage a protest demanding her resignation.

— Chaos in the school district of Connecticut’s most populous city.

They have gifted Pereira extraordinary power. Granted, Pereira can be a gigantic toothache; noisy, annoying and brash. But she also does her homework and makes strong arguments on behalf of her education positions such as yes to magnet schools, no to charter schools that operate independent of traditional school districts.

Several weeks ago Bradley said he’d not attend another school board meeting until Pereira resigns. Recently however he reversed himself, choosing to craft special meetings with smaller agendas that allow him stronger control. Education advocates are being whiplashed by a deep split for control of school board policy: the Bradley faction willing its own narrow set of meetings, Pereira and company pushing for full board meetings to move along education business. Bradley even notified four opposition board members they could be arrested for entering school buildings without permission to conduct school business. It caused cerebral board member Howard Gardner to respond to Bradley in an email “You are out of your freaking mind. Have you completely lost it?!”

One silent public voice in this process is Mayor Joe Ganim who’s not exactly waving pom poms over Bradley’s misplaced strategy, yet has no love for Pereira, choosing to cite state statute to fill appointments if the school board fails to fill a vacancy in 30 days. Pereira is challenging Ganim in court.

The mayor finds it fine to fill school board vacancies but thus far no public pronouncement for Bradley and others to end the boycott. So he’s filling school board seats so they can boycott? Oxymoron? In the past few months Ganim has appointed two new members to fill vacancies and could appoint another with the recent resignation of Republican Kevin McSpirit.

Bradley and Pereira ran with and supported Ganim during his comeback victory last year. It did not take long for Pereira to have a falling-out with Ganim and Bradley.

If there is a long-term method to Bradley’s madness, it’s unclear. For instance, create chaos for a state takeover of schools? City Hall insiders and close advisers to Governor Dan Malloy say there’s no appetite for a state takeover, following the surreptitious 2011 upheaval overturned by the Connecticut Supreme Court.

Even if the state decided to step in -on what basis is unclear–is there any doubt Pereira will march into court?

Yes. Bradley, Rabinowitz and others have allowed it to become all this because of one person.



  1. Is He Bridge Builder Bradley Or Despotic Dennis? Bradley is not a builder and in fact whomever his advisors are, well they have set him up for failure especially if he wants to run for any higher office. He’s a failure now, maybe he needs to put the mirror down and start doing the job he was elected to do.

  2. This is orchestrated chaos by Testa, Ganim, Rabinowitz, Bradley and Larcheveque, with Fonseca and Negron as pawns.

    This chaos is not accidental. The goal is to create as much negative press as possible to convince the state to take over the BOE/BPS.

    Both Chris Rosario and Steve Stafstrom are on an email thread I saw trying to garner support for another illegal takeover. Both are charter school supporters and Chris Rosario will be trying to run to be Ed Gomes’ senate replacement in two years.

    Chris Rosario, Bradley lost his senate bid because of me. In every school where both he and myself were on the ballot, I garnered more votes than he did. Bradley lost to Ed by 130 votes. At Thomas Hooker School, Ed beat Dennis by 133 votes. In addition, out of all the schools in Ed’s district, Thomas Hooker had the largest voter turnout.

  3. Right after Ganim won the November election, he held a meeting at his headquarters. Bradley, Walker and Bradley were seated together. In front of the entire room Ganim announced “I have no interest in taking over the Board of Education.” I remember thinking why did he need to say that just days after winning in November.

    On April 7, 2016, Dave Hennessey sent a whiny and pathetic email to Commissioner Wentzel pleading for her help because of Sauda Baraka and myself with much of the focus on me.

    On May 16, 2016, Rabinowitz orchestrated a secret meeting at the offices of the CT Association of Boards of Education. Let’s take a look at whom was present.




    Commissioner of Education Wentzel

    SDOE Legal Counsel

    SBOE Chair Allen Taylor (involved in last illegal takeover)

    SBOE Vice-Chair Theresa Hopkins

    Mark Anastasi

    Shipman & Goodwin, our private law firm that billed us 16 hours for “meeting preparation” and “attendance”

    Rob Rader, the Director of CABE and their legal counsel

    Director of the CT Association of Public School Superintendents

    CAPSS Legal Counsel

    Rabinowitz, Anastasi, Mooney, Bradley and Larcheveque were there requesting support for another state takeover. If they wouldn’t support a state takeover, Rabinowitz wanted to be appointed as a “Special Master” which makes the Board just a figurehead and she would have complete power over the BOE and the BPS.

    Nine days later Dave Hennessey resigned, which informs me the state had decided not to intervene, therefore Hennessey threw in the towel.

    Testa, Ganim, Rabinowitz, Bradley, Larcheveque, etc., know once his board members are removed from the board they will lose complete control over the $247,000,000 budget and the board.

    Therefore they would rather blow up the school board, make every effort to block the critical work of the board, damn 21,000 public school children rather than allow that to happen.

    In 2011, we subpoenaed all the records of the illegal takeover. There were handwritten notes of a conference call that included Malloy high-level staff, Adam Wood, etc. The notes simple stated “worried they will lose control of school board in November.”

    The takeover was NEVER about the children. It was that Finch and his cronies knew we were going to take the school board in November 2011. This attempt is no different.

    1. If any member of the Greater Bridgeport Young Democrats are following this debacle, please note this is what you don’t want to happen as all of you become more involved in Bridgeport issues and public office. Watch, listen, learn. This current situation with the BOE was the most avoidable scene in our challenges today. This speaks to an outdated DTC, an apathetic Mayor, Council members who have no interest in standing up and taking action as elected officials, and a perfect example, Dennis Bradley, who received the nomination from uninformed, lazy TC members, Citywide, who went along with hastily supporting inexperienced, selfish people to hold public office. As this organization grows and becomes more involved with elections, do as we did when we succeeded. All of you, roll up your sleeves, get rid of the useless, use your intelligence and youth to save this City. Just a side note relevant to the Mayor’s appointments to the BOE, we have dozens of openings on Boards and Commissions, not to mentioned some old appointees who are serving expired terms for a decade, why hasn’t the Mayor addressed these appointments that the Charter clearly authorizes him to. Instead he’s rolling the dice with the BOE, using legal resources to defend his actions while again we foot the bill.

      1. Lisa, including Danny Roach whose term on the Police Commission expired in 2005, yet he still serves on the Police Commission today while serving as Mayor Ganim’s Chief of Staff.

        Can anyone say MAJOR Conflict of Interest?

          1. Well, when I checked two weeks ago he was still listed as a member of the police commission on the city’s website.

          2. Current Board and Commission listing shows Dan Roach with a 2005 term expiry still is present on what is meant to be a seven-member board, but currently has only five members listed. If Angel DePara, who is listed as contact person, were to review the various Boards and Commissions, would he discover the Police Commission listing, with only one member identified serving an unexpired term is “usual business?” Conflicts of interest surely. What is it about the public safety services in the City that keeps matters hidden, public budgets exploding and attention to racial matters well delayed? Time will tell.

        1. Constance, please reach out to me. I’m no longer a “young” Dem, but I will devote any and all time you and the group require to share my long involvement in Bridgeport politics, first as a Young Democrat, TC since 1980, City Council 20 years, Council President 10 years, don’t let more than half my life of experience in Bridgeport politics go to the grave with me. In addition, I’m humbly proud I never accepted a City job, or sold out to any Mayor or Town Chair, and I’m still around and active. Thank you for your comment.

      2. Lisa, thank you, in so few words you have summarized the major problems Bridgeport has that go unsolved and it goes way past the Bridgeport Board of Education. Voter apathy is our main problem, sad but true.

  4. To be a bridge-builder one has to be able to put one’s personal agenda aside to bring opposing sides together. Dennis’ despotic attitude is divisive. He creates opposition. He pushes people away and causes division. A bridge-builder has to have a vision that is bigger than himself and has to be able to realistically see his place in that vision. Dennis has never been part of anything bigger than himself, including the BOE. So Dennis, a bridge builder? Never.

    I’ve known Dennis for a while now. Unfortunately for Dennis, he has only a loose relationship with the truth and he would be lost without someone doing research for him. His lack of preparation, his inability to follow through, and his poor attendance rate as a BOE member speak to his laziness. He makes decisions based on sound bites and snippets and what is in it for him.

    Sadly, I don’t think Dennis has an endgame with this boycott. He was given the idea to boycott by Kevin McSpirit who promptly abandoned ship. I can’t see any way for this to end that could have any positive result for Dennis. He has effectively slit the wrists of his political career. He has shown himself to be a petulant child instead of a leader. If Ganim/Rosario/Stafstrom et al. succeed in convincing the state to take over, where will Dennis find himself? He can’t be trusted to follow Ganim’s instructions so I can’t see Dennis remaining on the BOE. If this drags out longer we will come to a time where the BOE will reorganize and I don’t even think his BOE minions would want to have him remain chair.

    But he is pretty. Bless his heart.

    1. First off, there must be a reason to build a bridge. A bridge to nowhere gets you nowhere.
      Who is going to benefit from a bridge?
      Will this bridge benefit others upon completion?
      Will the bridge be genuine and authentic or just a showpiece for the books?
      Does the “builder” and his helpers really want to build a functional bridge or is it just an idea that sounds good???

      To be a bridge builder one must have the time and drive to succeed.
      Must have a toolbox to organize his own tools.
      Must have his own tools to do the work and they must be in working condition.
      Must have the knowledge on how to use those tools.
      Must have the oh so very important design plan to guide you.
      Must have the material to build the bridge.
      A true bridge builder would not use just any material. A true bridge builder does his own research, gets his own material and never uses old or used material.

      Mr. Bradley, you are a hole digger, not a bridge builder. Your vision is downward, not across or over. You are not equipped or qualified to build bridges in The “Bridge”port. Stay in the holes you have dug so a qualified and equipped bridge builder can build over the holes you have dug.

      1. So Wrong. In this regard both are culpable with no equivocation. Dennis doesn’t like to be bullied and Maria “is” a Bully. Hence, Blown-up Bridge. This whole issue starting over semantics of rules of order. Which are needed and probably should have been dealt with as a sidebar by Maria and not to embarrass Dennis. But as usual, Maria had to shove it down everyone’s mouth. And look where it got the BOE and why we are here! Hmmm? Effective? Why don’t you ask the kids for your “real” answer? Not!
        Can you say School year 2017-2018? Because this is a total loss, isn’t it, Maria? They do say one has to go backwards in order to go forwards. How many years was your plan, Maria?

  5. I was out knocking on doors about 12 hours between Saturday and Sunday and feel incredibly supported.

    As soon as one voter opened the door, he said “when can we vote to get rid of Dennis?”

    Several people asked we what was happening with the BOE. I explained the chaos was purposeful and orchestrated by those I referenced above. People were really really supportive and one told me “I know if you’re out causing trouble it’s because trouble is needed.” 🙂

    Thank you to all those who gave me encouragement this weekend. It is greatly appreciated.

  6. Please join us for a Special Meeting, Monday, October 17, 2016 at 6:00pm in Room 305 at 45 Lyon Terrace.

    Looks like Meyer/Anastasi helped craft an agenda to vote to suspend the requirement that McSpirit’s vacancy be filled at a special meeting instead of a regular meeting. All this effort to avoid a Regular BOE Meeting because all BOE members are allowed to submit agenda items for a Regular BOE Meeting.

    1. Maria, Maria, are there items other than what King Bradley wants to discuss that board members would and should be discussing on an agenda for a regular BOE meeting? Also are there items the board should be discussing that are immediately and/or directly affecting the teachers’ and students’ progression?

      I ask because I was at a diner over the weekend and had a lengthy discussion with a teacher who teaches at a grammar school in Bridgeport. To sum up the conversation he/she said the school is a freaking mess. The teachers are being pushed and pulled in so many directions from all levels of the administration they don’t know where to start or where to stop. The district requirements are not even close to being on par. The things that are burning a hole in my heart are all the numbers are being manipulated to favor the district’s standings/ratings.

      God please help these children.

      1. Mr. Tobin,
        It’s not just the Regular BOE meetings that are problematic. I just posted an 11-item agenda for the Teaching & Learning Committee that has been rendered totally ineffective because the Interim Superintendent has refused to staff the committee meetings. This affects finance, personnel, governance, facilities, student safety and on. By removing the staff from these meetings all work is halted.

        As for the boycott of Regular BOE Meetings, public input is silenced. Student reports aren’t presented. The public is totally locked out of the process.

  7. Off topic: why is the Bridgeport Democratic Party-nominated Mayor publicly cross-endorsing a Republican for Congress? How does that happen, publicly, I mean?

    1. Is this news? Real? I am on the Democratic Town Committee. I heard no such thing. But then again, when Hillary Clinton becomes President she will have no reason to support Bridgeport Mayor Ganim as Bridgeport has had no concerted effort to help her get elected. I find that more shocking and embarrassing. But then again, not so shocked. Most of the membership are lame and that is unfortunately the truth. Not so proud to be part of a lame group but I know things change. People change and the makeup of districts change. Hillary? Had to go to Westport on Saturday where Clinton has visibility. Bridgeport, not so much. Calling the New York Office and asking why Bridgeport Democratic Party is sleeping!

  8. Steve, C’MON MAN! Bridgeport will vote for Hillary Clinton in numbers, not as big as Obama but they will vote for her and unfortunately Hillary will have to spend little or no money to get out the vote and for voter registration.


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