School Board Approves High School Location To Replace Harding, Baker’s Vote Breaks From Working Families Party Opposition

General Electric property
Site for new school to replace Harding.

Talk about a long night’s journey into the next morning. The Board of Education Tuesday morning, by a 5-4 vote, approved the site plan for a new school to replace Harding High on property owned by General Electric that once housed a munitions factory on Boston Avenue.

Linda Conner Lambeck of the CT Post covered the eight-hour meeting:

The 5-to-4 vote came during a marathon eight-hour meeting and was approved with the proviso that the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection deem a extensive Remedial Action Plan for the site–delivered to the city and board on Monday–be approved. Board member Andre Baker along with Hernan Illingworth, Jacqueline Kelleher, Kenneth Moales and Joe Larcheveque decided to sidestep sending the matter back to the Facilities Committee where its fate remained uncertain.

More from Lambeck here.

Artist rendering of proposed Harding
Rendering of new high school.

The key vote here is former City Councilman Andre Baker who represented the East End neighborhood that Harding serves. The 80-year-old structure next to Bridgeport Hospital has fallen on hard times physically. Mayor Bill Finch proposed building a new school to replace Harding on the site of an old munitions factory owned by General Electric on Boston Avenue. The new school would also make land available to Bridgeport Hospital to address expansion needs. Finch opponents on the school board such as Working Families Party members Sauda Baraka, the chair, and John Bagley, who chairs the committee where the high school construction vote remained in limbo, argued against the site due to environmental concerns. Finch supporters argue Baraka and Bagley vote against any idea hatched by the mayor.

The Department of Energy and Environmental Protection has a prepared plan for the site that addresses a remedial process. Rather than the site plan approval continue to languish in the Facilities Committee chaired by Bagley, a basketball star at Harding in the late 1970s, Baker pushed for a vote among the entire school board as the city faces the expiration of funding sources for the new school construction.

Baker’s vote represents a large break from a coalition that has a 5-4 vote on most matters. Baker ran on both the Democratic and Working Families Party lines last November. Baker was a frequent Finch critic when he served on the City Council. Many residents who make up Baker’s East End voter base had urged him to support construction of a new school to replace Harding that represents a challenging learning environment.

There’s one more step in the process. The school board must approve the building plan for construction when it’s prepared.

Statement from Mayor Bill Finch:

“We congratulate the Board of Education for approving a critical step for this important project. As the father of two kids currently attending Bridgeport public schools, I know first-hand what children and families are dealing with every single day. And it’s unfortunate that the kids currently attending Harding High School are stuck with inadequate facilities that are not providing them with the world-class learning environment they deserve.

“But we can change this by building a new Harding High School. The new school will be equipped with state-of-the-art facilities that provide kids in the East Side and East End with the high-quality learning environment they need to thrive. In turn, it will help ensure more Bridgeport kids are prepared for college and to compete for 21st century jobs.”

During the marathon meeting the board also approved by a 5-4 vote a resolution to board members’ concerns about the city not meeting the state Minimum Budget Required for school funding. The city will kick in an additional $500,000 for the budget year starting July 1 contingent upon City Council approval. Baker, Larcheveque, Hennessey, Illingworth and Moales voted to approve.

The school board also voted to approve spending $5,000 to explore a lawsuit to block two new charter schools approved by the state Board of Education. The money will be used to retain education attorney Thomas Mooney, from Shipman & Goodwin of Hartford, to conduct research.



  1. Baker, be careful. Maria has already put the target on you, along with the targets she has on Malloy, Finch, Rabinowitz, Larcheveque … LOL.

    Taken from CT Post:
    “Fran Rabinowitz, Andre Baker, Hernan Illingworth and Joe Larcheveque are publicly supporting this ILLEGAL deal that serves to hurt over 20,000 public school students and their families. In-kind services cannot be counted towards the Minimum Budget Requirement. The law is quite clear that only CASH may be counted towards meeting the MBR. I am not shocked by Hernan Illingworth or Joe Larcheveque, after all they are Finch puppets. Fran Rabinowitz needs to replaced as quickly as possible and a permanent superintendent with a back bone needs to be hired asap. Andre Baker is an absolute disgrace who has difficulty understanding and comprehending the most basic information. He WILL be removed in his next election.”

    1. Not yet–if I read it correctly–the remediation plan was just delivered in the last few days. The DEEP has to review and approve. If not approved, then its a no-go.

  2. There is no doubt the state DEEP will approve the remediation plan. The state has approved other remediation plans such as the land where the new Milford power plant was built. The problem with that is a number of construction workers became ill with cancer from the material that was later found buried at the site. There is a large court battle going on because of the illnesses incurred by these workers.
    My suggestion to the board is HIRE YOUR OWN EXPERT to review and follow up on the remediation plan submitted by GE.
    Remediation reports in many instances are pure bullshit written to favor the client. If anyone doesn’t think this happens every day, I have a bridge for sale.
    Where will the remediation reports be kept?
    Will this site really be cleaned up or will it be constructed like Knowlton Park with no trace of a remediation report or payment? Time will Tell.

  3. Lifelong, if I were Andre Baker, Joe Larcheveque or Hernan Illingworth, I would have real concerns regarding Maria Pereira’s dissatisfaction with their voting records.

    Maria Pereira has become a strong force in local politics in a short five years. She certainly has a very strong following in Thomas Hooker, as she has so clearly proven. She has a loyal following and she is effective. She single-handedly raised more money for all 5 BOE candidates she supported, than all five of them did COMBINED. Andre Baker raised less than $1,000 for his own campaign. Yet this is a guy who has made statements about running for mayor???

    Andre Baker wouldn’t be an elected BOE member if it weren’t for people like Maria, who donated hundreds of hours to get him elected. He has angered many and he will have great difficulty gaining support for re-election. Andre was never effective on the council and is now doing the bidding of Mayor Finch. As a matter of fact, Adam Wood repeatedly called Andre out of last night’s meeting to speak with him, Ruben Felipe, Allen Wallach (O & G) and Mark Anastasi in the hallway. As a matter of fact, the motion Andre read into the record regarding Harding High School was crafted by Mark Anastasi. So Andre Baker, who had a reputation for working against the corrupt Mayor Finch, is now his puppet.
    None of us know what will happen if Andre seeks re-election in 2017, but he should not count on the support of MANY grassroots workers, community members and parents who worked tirelessly to get him elected. They want nothing to do with him.

    Hernan Illingworth sits there like marionette and just does what he is told; no backbone at all and Joe Larcheveque is another GOP member who complains about the Finch machine but is in fact allied with Mayor Finch and his agenda. As a matter fact, his wife Ann Larcheveque was just elected to the Democratic Town Committee, which is still dominated by the machine.

    1. What kind of power can Pereira wield with no Party behind her? The same old story keeps repeating itself with her. She talks a good game until you have a differing opinion and then she sticks her talons into your back, and the backs of anyone she has ever seen you talk to.

      She has alienated herself from the WFP and the Democrats. She was never aligned with the Republicans, and I would think they are not interested either. What can she do? Form her own party? If she does, she can name it the Pity Party because like at all Pity Parties, not many will attend.

      There is a certain amount of decorum necessary when trying to spread a message through a diversified cross-section of the populace. Spite, vendettas, narcissism, public humiliation, attacking and bad-mouthing are generally not the tools used too develop and RETAIN a loyal following.

      It may work once or twice but eventually her pattern will repeat and then poof, history is repeating itself.

          1. That’s right, Andy. It is called free speech. You can call someone and ask them not to vote for someone.

          1. Dave, it’s nice to be a smart ass, Maria knows who I am and spent a lot of time at my dining room table doing campaign work. So what’s next?
            Are you saying calling people and telling them not to vote for a candidate you recruited is phone canvassing? Really? You need to pay attention to what’s going on.

      1. I’m with you, Bond Girl. On two occasions I watched Maria spew fire and brimstone from her bully pulpit. She is indeed a tyrant, nothing admirable about her performances and behavior. If anyone dares to have an opinion that doesn’t coincide with hers (and heaven help them if they verbalize it), this woman turns into a vicious shrew. There is nothing admirable about her behavior. Why people continue to pay homage to her and her antics is beyond me. She has no platform other than to be anti-establishment and a self-centered sociopath. This behavior cannot be condoned; don’t keep this woman in the limelight. If she’s ignored long enough, maybe she’ll just go away. She has the audacity to state some people allow their opinions to be swayed by intimidation? No one can top her act when it comes to intimidation, or perhaps I should say terrorization. She’s only a force to be contended with if you allow her to be. Enough said.

    2. David, simply because Baker votes for something Finch supports, he’s a puppet? I agree, Maria Pereira in a short time has become a viable campaign operative. If Baraka and Bagley support something Maria Pereira wants, does that make them puppets? When Maria whispers into the ears of Baraka and Bagley, does that make them puppets?

      1. Lennie, Maria doesn’t have to “whisper” into Baraka or Bagley’s ears because they are already on the same side of every major issue. They are all on the side of Bridgeport Public School students and their families and not Mayor Finch or his machine.
        Andre repeatedly leaving a BBOE meeting because Adam Wood summons him is a little different than just voting for a Finch initiative. During the meeting, Andre repeatedly left his seat to have conversations with Adam Wood, Ruben Felipe, the new communications director, the O & G representative and Mark Anastasi. Mark Anastasi then wrote the motion for Andre and handed it to him. Andre read the motion verbatim. Are you honestly going to portray this as Andre just “voting for something Finch supports?”

        1. And Carmen Lopez, a retired Superior Court judge who’s experienced in crafting legal arguments, doesn’t advise Sauda Baraka and John Bagley about procedural protocol? Carmen Lopez doesn’t arm Maria Pereira with the legal language Maria barks out during meetings whether as a former school board member or now as an involved spectator? Who’s zoomin’ whom?

          1. Lennie, Maria is intelligent and resourceful. She also recently enrolled in college and selected Criminal Justice as her major. I am confident Maria can look up and review a CT General Statute all on her own. And if she does need assistance locating legal precedents or statutes to counteract those who have an entire City Attorney department working on their behalf; I think that is pretty reasonable. Maria writes all her own public statements she reads during public comment or public hearings.

        2. David Moore, sounds like you were at the BOE meeting last night. (Very interesting scenes were playing out, but I could not last for the entire performance.)
          “They are all on the side of Bridgeport Public School students and their families and not Mayor Finch or his machine.”
          If you were looking at all the red-shirted members of the public, especially those who had signs, then you probably noticed not all families or students present are on the same side. You did notice that, didn’t you?
          And you probably heard some 1,000 families of students are seeking alternatives to current school situations while waiting on a list. It may turn out the way to help all students is going to take more time to develop, more funds to use to target for academic results, more teachers to set their ideas for school success down in writing in an organized white paper that embraces continuing enhancements to their individual abilities and improvements in their practices as full-time professionals across the board as well as more people from the community at large to become part of a Bridgeport solution. Probably more, too. Lots of ideas circulating. Start with where we are today academically and where we can be next year with all on board.
          Frankly I find it reassuring not everyone can be counted upon to vote a certain way. Independent thinking is kind of a tender shoot to be showing up on our BOE, isn’t it? Rather than threaten Andre with what Maria may have in store for him, why not ask what he sees possible? Time will tell.

  4. Dave–she was WFP chair when the teacher’s union donated the $150K for the BOE election. Will the teacher’s union give her $150K as a single political operative? She is allowed to raise hell at the meetings (speaking from the crowd, etc) and is unchecked by Sauda. Bagley turned a meeting over to her and Judge Lopez, but they are not puppets? Baker voted based on what those in his old district wanted.
    She talks a good game, she is all for you, until she finds fault with you. How many SMART candidates are going to want her support after seeing what she did to part of the 138th slate, and now turning on Baker because he does not vote with her interests in mind?
    There are those of us who see through her actions who are not as impressed as you are.

    1. Maria has NEVER asked the Democratic Machine for their support nor has she asked for their “permission” to support or take a position on any issue. They cannot “alienate” her because she has never been aligned with the machine or asked to join the club. Maria resigned from the WFP, not the other way around. They needed her in Bridgeport, not the other way around.

      Maria single-handedly defeated Pat Fardy and Ann Barney in the Democratic Town Committee races. She had lived in the neighborhood for a little over a year, while Anne & Pat had lived in the neighborhood for quite a few years and they are politically active. The WFP had absolutely nothing to do with that effort. They didn’t make a single contribution to that effort. So how do you explain that? She accomplished that with “no Party.”

      Maria got over 100 Bridgeport residents to each Charter School Public Hearing. How many people in Bridgeport can say they have accomplished that? She is well-versed on a variety of topics, but especially on education issues. She is passionate, principled and articulate. I honestly believe she cannot be bought off and she doesn’t compromise her integrity. That is why voters in her community listen to her.

      Maybe she should form her own party. Maybe it should be called the Pummel Party, because that is exactly what she will do to you if you are not for public school children and their families. She holds elected officials accountable for their actions. We need more accountability, not less. She doesn’t just complain about issues, she gets off her sofa and does something about it.

      Don’t get upset because she has a base and is effective. Get off your sofa and form your own base and become effective, too.

      1. Dave–its evident by your statements you know so much, yet so little about your heroine … that’s fine. She has a passionate supporter in you … that’s fine. I am not in the minority when I speak about her harsh actions towards others. You dislike Finch, she dislikes Finch–you are perfect allies.

        I’m not concerned with “building my own base.” I’m not, nor will ever be, in politics.
        I can also say my children will never attend a BPT public school these clowns are in charge of … ever.

        Your defense “they are on the same side,” “they are aligned”–those are fine in your book when it applies to those you support. But when you apply it to the other side … they are puppets … unreal.

      2. Really? Maria Pereira and the WFP ARE NOTHING without a coalition with Democrats. They can win NOTHING on their own. They can spoil elections but they can’t win without a coalition vote. Alienate the Democrats and you LOSE, WFP.

        Pereira may be okay to get the vote out and be a campaign operative, but a leader? Not so much.

      3. Dave, whoever you are, the one thing she did that took votes away from Pat and Ann was call all the people who received absentee ballots and told them not to vote for Pat and Anne. Isn’t that illegal? It is ironic Maria P went after the two minority candidates on the ticket. Could it be racism? Dave, do you happen to live on Nutmeg Rd.?

        1. There is nothing illegal about calling people who have received absentee ballots and trying to convince them to vote for or against someone. The list of people who receive absentee ballots is a matter of public record.

        2. Andy, I was not asking you if Maria knew you. That question was for Jennifer Buchanan. Just like you can choose to support or not support candidates, so can Maria. I believe it was Ann who stated those are the principles our country was founded on and that included Freedom of Speech. The gate swings both ways.

      4. Dave, MP may have helped defeat Pat Fardy and Ann Barney or they may have lost anyway. The thing is, why. She did not turn on them for a policy stance she disagreed with. Maria did not turn on them because she thought they would do a bad job. To the contrary, Maria asked both to run and believed they would do a good job. Maria turned on them because she was angry with Pat’s husband. This is the petty and juvenile behavior you idolize? You think this is better or different than Finch and his crew? Way to keep it about the issues. Check your hem, your Tea Party is showing again.

          1. The Democrats also support charter schools. Along with at least the 1000 BPT residents on the waiting list, Republicans, several non-profit groups, education advocates and students.

    2. The teachers union did not give $150,000 to the WFP. They formed an Independent Expenditure to campaign for the Democrats, not the WFP candidates.

      I was told John Bagley recognized every single member of the public who wished to speak, including Ruben Felipe, James Holloway and Borres who all supported the Harding project. To portray John Bagley as someone who plays favorites or recognizes some and not others is patently false.

      Let’s be honest here, Andre voted based on what the Mayor wanted. Do I believe parents and community members approached Andre about getting a new Harding built? I do. Do I believe parents and community members approached Andre about building a new Harding on the contaminated GE site? No, I do not. People just want a new Harding. There is no question in my mind it could be built in its current location. As a matter of fact, when the application was first filed in 2006, the application was to build it on its current site. However, we all know Bridgeport Hospital MUST have that land. So screw the health and well-being of the thousands of students who will spend four years in that new Harding and screw the staff who will work in that building for five, 10, 25 years of their lives.

      I do not know about the three Democratic Town Committee members Maria did not support, but I am sure it is safe to say the six who won are pretty pleased.

      Actually, since the Democratic Town Committee races and since Maria’s resignation from the WFP, she had been contacted by three different candidates who will be on the ballot this September or November. She has also been contacted by a candidate who plans to run in 2015. And just this week, one of her neighbors told her they would be “proud and honored” to run with her for City Council in 2015. I believe that makes it a total of five candidates who have approached her for her support.

  5. Maria P did not get away with what she did in the 138th on election day. The secretary of state is investigating. The problems with Maria P started when I made a critical statement about her and Carmen Lopez. I made the comment, not my wife and not Ann Barney, both of whom she went after. Maria P and the WFP had their run in the sun, now it’s over.

    1. Bond Girl, you are inaccurate in your statements. Maria and Sauda won their BBOE seats in 2009 without any coalition with Democrats. John won his seat in 2012 without any coalition with Democrats.

      Maria has shown nothing but leadership. She does extensive research and makes informed decisions. She is principled and takes a stand when many others will not. She has constantly advocated for children and their families. She has been fearless in her opposition to the corrupt Democratic machine. She has not been afraid to stand up to people like Finch and his flunkies like Mark Anastasi. Leaders are able to attract followers and supporters, something she clearly has. Maria doesn’t make empty promises and her word means everything to her. Her word is her bond. If you keep your commitment and/or promises to her, she will keep hers. If Maria tells you she is going to do something, it gets done.

      Andy, your remarks were inappropriate considering Maria was volunteering in 18-degree weather, to help elect your wife and Ann. One would think a little gratitude would be in order.

      Let me refresh your memory. You, Pat and Ann ALL wrote disparaging remarks about Maria. You got what you deserved. Live with it and move on.

      1. David, where did you get your information? Maria was at the polls, as was myself and Anne B. in the cold, ’til closing.
        Maria Xed our names and faces from the flyers and told anyone she could get a hold of to NOT vote for us.

        1. Andy, calling and speaking with voters and asking them to support or not support specific candidates is perfectly legal. It is called POLITICS.

          Are you implying Maria, who is of European descent and considers herself to be white, targeted Pat and Ann because they are white? That is just ridiculous. If you had any credibility on this blog, you just lost it.

        2. Pat, Maria worked in 18-degree weather, to gather petition signatures to help both you and Ann qualify onto the ballot. She didn’t do it because she was a candidate or because she was being paid, she did it because she was asked to help. In fact, she gathered more petition signatures for your candidacy than you and Ann did combined. She worked in front of Thomas Hooker from 6:00 AM until 8:00 PM, asking voters to support your six running mates. She actually worked side-by-side with two of your running mates. You are not being truthful. I suggest you review your postings on OIB before the March election. Both you and Ann were posting insulting and derogatory remarks about Maria well before the election.

      2. Dave, you are a liar of the first order plus you have no idea what you are talking about. Maria was not the only one out in 18 degree weather. Maria was out with our campaign literature DTC candidates with Pat and Ann’s names crossed out and she was flat-out telling people to not vote for Pat and Ann and she never mentioned voting for the other candidates on the ticket.
        Let me refresh your memory, I was the only one who wrote a unfavorable comment about Maria and Carmen Lopez and what they said at a BOE meeting. My wife and Ann never wrote a comment about Maria until after the election. It seems the Secretary of the State feels there is enough there to investigate. The complaint passed the initial screening process.

      3. Let me put it to you this way. There are NO registered WFP voters. NONE, NADA. WFP cannot win a dang thing without the Democratic vote. WFP is nothing without Democrats. They alienate Democrats, they don’t exist. And there you have it. There is no semantic argument for that, Mr. Arizona.

      4. Maria hasn’t ever really proposed any ideas. She simply opposes Finch. That is not a stance as much as being oppositional. She takes the stance many people take. She takes the exact same stance Lopez and Baraka take. Like a puppet. I did not see the WFP begging her to stay. She really has no research to support her stance. She has no proof the new Harding will be contaminated. Both the DEEP guy and the city environmentalist said it would be cleaned and cleaned to a residential standard. She has no research or proof they are lying. No proof they have ever lied. No proof the old Harding site is clean or would be cleaner than this one. She mostly advocates for the teachers union and if that is good for the kids as well, good. If not, too bad. Jim Jones attracted a lot of followers. He must have been a good leader.

        1. Excellent comparison. I certainly hope the faithful followers of Maria know when to call it quits before she starts giving away free lemonade to the unsuspecting lot of them.

          1. Godiva, I think you are pretty entertaining. Every time you attack and rant about Maria, you demonstrate how relevant she is. If she weren’t relevant or effective, you wouldn’t bother to attack her.

          2. Dave, if that is true then you must think the tea party, Charter schools and Bill Finch are relevant and effective.

  6. A C Fardy, you’re one dumb fluck! You’re kicking Maria’s ass on OIB while she was working hard to get your wife on the DTC! Did you tell that to the Secretary of the State yet?
    Keep up the good work Maria, we need more people like you. The 138th should be proud to have her as a NEW NEIGHBOR. Somebody go over to Andy’s house and step on his oxygen hose.

    1. Pat can hardly be held accountable for the actions of her husband. What are we, eight? This is the exact thing that makes bad governance. It is not about the issues or the competency of a candidate. It is about ‘you poked me in the eye and now I don’t like you.’ In this case ‘your husband poked me in the eye.’ It is not like Andy was a Republican. He just stated his opinion and opinions are like backsides. Everyone has one and they all stink. If this is the reason Pat lost, does that make BPT a better place?

  7. Jim, why don’t you bring you ass over to my house? You’ve got no balls. Easy to say stuff on the blog. She worked hard to defeat her and Ann, you dumb shit. The report we filed has been given a case number and assigned an investigator. Again I say to you punk, come on over, I am waiting.

    1. Now Andy, why do you have to say those things about me? That’s it. I’m going to throw a Maria and hold my breath, stomp my feet and turn on your wife. Her political stance could save the world but I’m eight and you hurt my feelings so I’m going to get you back. 😛

      1. Listen Dave, read his post. Even you can’t be that dense. He wanted someone to come to my house and step on my oxygen line so I invited his to come to my house and do it himself. I make you the same offer.

    2. Andy, I came to your house last night and rang the doorbell, and some disgruntled lady with two kids opened the door, then handed me an envelope full of money and told me to wait in the park. There was a note in the envelope:
      AW seed deposit for the new PAC Hartford account, from (Line item 56180).
      PS pick up new ATM cards.
      Signed Pack-man

      1. Jim, I believe if you came to my door last night you met a disgruntled lady, but two kids, God forbid. How long did this lady have you wait in the park? Was it Knowlton St. park? If it was be careful, no remediation was done. Jim, do me a favor and talk to your apprentice Dave Moore. He doesn’t get it and keeps embarrassing himself on this blog.

  8. Jimfox, you are lower than anything I can think of to say the things you said.
    Maria is a sore loser and does not like to be reprimanded about anything that does not go her way, in actions or comments. Anne, Noel and myself lost by those absentee ballots she called, we won by the ballot vote at THS, it was the absentees that made us lose.

    1. Actually Pat, let me remind you I called you two-plus weeks before the election and offered help as I was supporting my friend Melanie Jackson. You made it clear you were all doing your own thing. Without teamwork it is an uphill climb. I am thrilled Melanie Jackson was the number-one vote-getter on the slate. NO surprise there. When I support someone I give it my all. It is no surprise Richie Paoletto and Mike Marella were up there also. Everyone knows I support them and I am hopeful about Scott Hughes, but not so quick to give up on Andre Ayala.

      The take-away Pat, is I offered and I think a team effort would have yielded a different result. You give Maria P. too much power. I do not even know who she is. Go figure!!!

    2. Pat, you stated “Maria is a sore loser.” I honestly think that statement better describes you. Maria didn’t lose, you did. Your six running mates she supported, won. Instead of accepting your loss graciously, you have called her names and attacked her on OIB. Maria has never attacked you, Andy or Ann on any media sites. I really do think you need to take a look in the mirror.
      Guess what, Pat … that is called an election. And people are allowed to call voters up. It is called canvassing.

      1. Dave, before you shoot your mouth off you should read the campaign and election laws. Your unintelligent and incorrect remarks are getting boring.

        1. I know a lot more than you do. And maybe you should stop shooting your mouth off, for instance the comment you made where you threatened Jim which is in this article. I forgot what unpleasant people you and Pat were.

          1. You sound like a little child “I know more than you do.” HA HA! Are you really serious? Again I will refer your dumbass to his article. It was he who said someone should come over and step on my oxygen hose. I invited him over. Is that threatening? I give you the same invitation, come on over and step on my oxygen hose. BTW you never met Pat or myself. We are unpleasant around stupid people and you qualify. Listen kid, go play in your sandbox and leave the other stuff to the grownups.

  9. I’d like to commend all the individuals who supported the 20,000 students and their families as well as Mayor Finch. New High School for Harding is long overdue. I am certain General Electric will deliver a clean parcel. Furthermore, the City needs to start addressing these toxic properties and cleaning them for development. These brownfields can be turned into tax-producing properties.
    As far as Maria P. targeting Andre Baker, get real. Andre Baker made the right decision. He will be remembered for that. As for the Working Families Party, they are not a force to be reckoned with. Andre Baker has shown leadership and is clearly not a weak-minded sycophant. So now we look forward to bigger and better things. Anyone who believes Maria Pereira has control over Andre Baker’s political destiny, think again.

  10. The thing about BPT, everything is so polarized. If you like the new Harding you are a Finch lackey or possibly even Ruben Felipe. It is not possible a new Harding is just a good idea. The old building is pretty bad. Heating it and making it habitable for even one more year will be a major expense. The lot is too close to the road, it has no parking, once a kid steps out of the building ‘he gone.’ Someone could easily pull a truck bomb right up to the front door. They would be on a public road. The building has been hit several times over the years by gunfire from across the street. The remediation problem is a non-issue. All you have to do is check. The BOE is more than willing to spend $1,000s? they don’t have to get their MBR but haven’t said anything about hiring an environmentalist for the new school construction. Or they could just look at the reports from the city environmentalist and the DEEP. If these two could be ‘bought off,’ the BOE’s guy could be ‘bought off’ as well. At some point it would be cheaper to just do the work. GE wouldn’t be concerned about the lawsuits because no one in BPT would sue them (not). The line would stretch to Hartford. The new school is also free. The state pays 80% and selling the old Harding to BPT hospital is most of, if not more than, the rest. It would be better if the old Harding lot became a property tax-producing place but let’s get real. It took 11? years to get Steele Point occupied and that lot was clear and cost how many millions to ‘prepare’ for Bass Pro? So we can sell the old place to the hospital today or we could invest millions and wait 11 years to have a Sonic Drive-In. Is anyone having a hard time with this choice?
    Hate can be very blinding and make people do foolish things. If our leaders are unwilling or unable to rise above these petty things they are not very good leaders.

    1. You hit the nail on the head–no one is ever 100% right all the time, and it is the my way or the highway, I am always right, you are with me or against me that is the biggest problem (for me) with both sides. A great national report (I cannot find the link, darn it) gave grades to each state for school funding. CT got a C+–the comment was, more equitable funding to all urban schools would improve our score. For years the BOE has told the city, give us more money, give us the required money, the city has said we do not have it, take the services instead, and has gone to the state for help. Say what you will about Vallas, the first thing he did was look at other city fundings and discovered inter-district Magnet schools was the answer to more state dollars into the city schools. And we now have started to bring those schools to the city. Yes, keep the pressure on the city to fund the schools, but also find out why we are underfunded and take steps to bridge the gap. So the state answers the more equitable school funding with new charter schools, 100% funded by the state, and those kids have to take the bus anyway to whatever schools they attend, and part of the BOE is up in arms because they have no control over any part of the school. Even Obama is in favor of public school choice and prefers Charter Schools over the voucher system. I do not know if charter schools are the answer; I do know they succeed in places and they fail in places. I do not know if the BOE and Bridgeport Schools would have improvement with more money. I do believe this city will never achieve growth without good schools. How about a compromise and give school choice a chance, pressure the city and state to equitably fund the schools we have, and work to have every school eligible become an inter-district magnet school so we get more funding.

  11. Regarding Maria P, let me be clear. My support of Andre Baker was not an attack on Maria P. I just realized I have in fact met her during the primary with Finch against Foster. I am not familiar with her Working Families Party.
    I also believe Pat Fardy and Ann Barney would have been an asset to the 138th. I cannot believe their campaign was sabotaged because of comments Andy Fardy made. It would be sad if true and I am glad there is an investigation going on.

    This blog is more interesting with Andy Fardy’s diatribes. He really cares about the City and like John Marshal Lee, he gives his time researching issues and contributing to what he believes to be the interests of the City.
    It is clear, Andy and Maria have fan clubs. Politics sucks, doesn’t it?

  12. Steve, thank you for the compliment. Let me assure you and other readers what my wife and I posted is 100% truthful. My wife and Ann Barney were recruited by Maria P. Maria P in the beginning worked hard for Pat and Ann and the entire slate of candidates. I made a comment a few weeks before the election about Maria and Carmen L and what took place at the BOE meeting. It wasn’t that bad but from that point on Maria was after Ann and Pat. I don’t know what the State investigation will result in but the complaint passed the first hurdle. Steve, all I can say Is I tell the truth when I blog here and I do try to research things before I blog. I particularly enjoy our back and forth.


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