Weldon New School Board Chair, Lopez: Don’t Mess With The Super

Weldon, Martinez
John Weldon, center, confers with board member Jessica Martinez. At left, Chris Taylor who nominated Weldon.

Republican John Weldon Monday night by a 5 to 3 vote was elected chairman of the Board of Education becoming the sixth leader in as many years. The organizational meeting at the Aquaculture School was chaired by Mayor Joe Ganim who appointed Weldon to the school board in November 2016 to fill a vacancy. Ben Walker received 3 votes.

Weldon was elected to a four-year term in November.

Republicans feature three members, Weldon, Chris Taylor and Joe Sokolovic who also ran on the Working Families Party line in November. Democrats: Dennis Bradley, Maria Pereira, Ben Walker, Sybil Allen, Jessica Martinez, Hernan Illingworth.

Bradley who arrived late did not attend the chair vote. Walker’s votes came from himself, Pereira and Sokolovic.

Prior to the vote, the public speaking portion of the meeting was punctuated by stern warnings about interference by political leaders to influence school board votes and calls not to mess with the work of Superintendent of Schools Aresta Johnson.

Former City Council President Lisa Parziale, addressing the new board, declared Democratic Town Chair Mario Testa had caused “chaos and division” in the past.

Retired Superior Court Judge Carmen Lopez shared that she wasn’t sure whether to offer “congratulations or condolences” to the new group of newcomers and veterans. One thing she was very clear about “Don’t mess with the superintendent … support her.”

There’s been speculation about the new board parting ways with Johnson who joined the district as school chief about a year ago, an expensive proposition to buy out her contract, if that were the case.

Prior to nominating Weldon, Taylor asked if Weldon harbored any reason to proffer a change of school leadership. The low-key Weldon responded no. Speculation had centered on Johnson’s attempt to replace the city-run Lighthouse after school and summer program with one developed in partnership with Yale University.

Johnson observed quietly as this all played out.

Weldon also promised not to engage in any boycotts of meetings as had been advanced when Bradley served as board chair, his failed play to force Pereira’s resignation following board disputes.

City Councilman Pete Spain during the speaking portion presented a passionate appeal for Walker as chair, calling the music teacher and father a “renaissance man” of many qualities. Sokolovic nominated Walker for chair.

Pereira voiced opposition to Weldon declaring the school body needed a bridge builder such as Walker to bring disparate parties together.

Once Weldon was selected as chair, Ganim ceded the organizational meeting over to him.

Illingworth was named vice chair and Martinez secretary.



    1. This is worthy of a re-post:

      Joel Gonzalez // Dec 9, 2017 at 6:41 pm

      By the end of 2007, it became clear to me that after over 14 years of volunteer service on the Democratic Party, I was going to be blocked in any attempt I made to serve the City of Bridgeport as a Democrat. I switched to the Republican Party and in the 2008 special election for the State Senate seat vacated by Bill Finch, I played a key role in supporting Republican Rob Russo and helping the Republicans briefly taking the Senate seat. That action in my part really pissed off the Democrats. I joined the RTC on the very same night that John Slater and John Weldon. They both showed a great degree of willingness to serve and the fact that almost ten (10) years later they are still active and have moved up in the Republican party is a testament to their long term commitment to serve the people of Bridgeport. Despite switching back to the Democratic Party around 2009, we’ve all kept a friendship based on mutual respect and our shared desire to serve the people of Bridgeport.

      John Weldon would be a great choice for BOE Chair. He knows the importance of working together and getting along. He has a great partner in his African American wife Geneva(peace talks)Weldon. I’m positive that as soon as Weldon is selected by his peers to lead the BOE, as a good welder would do, he will first start by ‘tac welding’ critical components together and then, with the help of colleagues, start the welding necessary to keep the BOE and our schools on a foundation strong as steel. Job wel don my friend. Good Luck.

      1. HO, HO, HO, HOLD ON FOLKS, I will not stand by and allow youfolks here deliver your deluded Christmas Presents here. Lets reverse this sled back to a few years. The situation in which Joe Ganim was put in a position to appoint Republicans on the BOE started with the selection/formation years ago of the Gardner, Hennesy, and Baker opposition team. It was supposed to be “about the children.” It didn’t take long to see that it was about themselves. Baker, used the BOE seat as a spring board to run for higher office and when he got what he wanted, he continued to hold on to his seat for as long as he was requested to. Gardner used it as a spring board to run for mayor. I advised him to reconsider running as he was even going to come close to wining the mayoral race and in doing so he will eliminate any chances of getting the party nomination for BOE. Hennesy is in my book the lowest form of a snake. It was Hennesy who opened the door for Joe Ganim to have the right and opportunity to appoint a Republican to the BOE. John Weldon is in fact the best choice Ganim had and selected accordingly. Maria Pereira herself, used and will continue to use her BOE seat as a Spring Board for higher office. This is not a new pattern and I bet that among the group of new council members, a few of them already have in mind some other position to run for in the future. Lets take Keeley and Newton for example. You think that they ran or are running just to be City Councilmen?. They both have higher political ambitions than simply being on the city council. Y’all need to get real and stop bull shitting people and pretending that you or your coalition are/is the best thing since apple pie.

        As for Maria Pereira, I personally tried talking to her about her ways and style of dealing in the public arena. Her response was, “I don’t give a fuck what anyone thinks of me…” On many of her OIB posts, Maria Pereira has stated that Judge Carmen Lopez and her husband were her mentors and trained her on Robert’s Rules of order, etc.
        I appeal to the Honorable Judge Carmen Lopez and her husband to have a serious talk with Maria Pereira. The general public tends to use the concept of guilty by association when forming opinions of other people. There’s also the saying, “You sleep with dogs, you catch fleas.”

        1. Joel, you chopped off your finger with a machete in the public arena, yet you think you should lecture me on how I conduct myself in a public setting.

          You have absolutely lost your marbles.

          1. Once again, you made an ass out of yourself. First of all, it wasn’t a “machete”. You’ve seen my fb photo, does that blade look like a machete you dumb fool? I was not an elected public official at the time. The chopping took place on the steps outside the State Capitol–only one other person witnessed the act and he was with me.

            I have 2 daughters ans several nieces in the Bridgeport School District. I don’t think I should lecture you, I know I must go beyond lecturing you on how to conduct yourself whenever dealing with matters pertaining to my and other people’s children.
            As for my “marbles”, I just checked and still have two of them.

  1. Dennis had committed to vote for Ben, but we all know his word means nothing.

    I am looking forward to the Senate race in my district. I caused his defeat in 2016 and look forward to contributing to his defeat once again.

    1. Maria Pereira, you’re ignorant in lots of ways. The Senate race or seat is not just for the benefit of you or your district. The Senatorial district ED Gomes represents or is supposed to represent includes other districts in Bridgeport and parts of the Town of Stratford. It doesn’t cover E. Windsor by the way.

      1. I know who is best for my district and am the only district leader that wrestled away a district from Mario and Ganim.

        You don’t even know what’s best for yourself.

  2. Weldon was sloppy right out of the gate. He didn’t know what he was doing and audience members were giggling at him.

    He literally had an “opinion” on what to do with several of my agenda items. I let him know where he could go with his opinion.


    1. Oh pshaw, Maria. If you don’t enjoy being treated as a pain in the ass there’s a simple solution: STOP BEING A PAIN IN THE ASS, period. End of story.

        1. I’m sure you will, Maria. But at some point you have to reassess if your tactics. If your stated purpose is  to be “John Weldon biggest pain in the ass” to the point where the board is unable to function the students suffer. This may play to your constituents in the district but remember:  it’s not your ball, not your court, not your rules. 

        1. it’s obvious you don’t give a flying rat’s behind about anyone or anything except what YOU perceive to be important. don’t worry Maria – I’ll remember the next time you/re running for the BOE and I will make sure that I will NOT vote for you – or for anyone you support.

  3. Chris Taylor loudly stated after the meeting that he wanted to fire Marlene Seigel and the entire finance team because his questions were not answered to his satisfaction.

    1. Maria – you obviously did not read my reply to you. Run all you want for what ever seats you want to run for. I won’t VOTE for you. if you put half as much energy into doing right by the students in the Bridgeport Public Schools as you do in being an obstructionist, you would be able to accomplish much.

  4. I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again, let’s not summarily dismiss what Maria says about John Weldon. Remember it was Joe Ganim that originally placed him on the BBOE and the Joe Ganim that most of us know doesn’t do anything that doesn’t benefit himself or his agenda, Anything.

  5. I attended last night’s BOE organizational meeting as I have for the last two years.There was calm and expediency. My long experience in these matters proved to be right. The choice of the new Chair was decided long before the meeting, however, I felt an obligation to attend, and briefly speak on behalf of Ben Walker. Absence at this meeting was the entourage that usually follows and surrounds the Mayor. He looked so lost and forlorn sitting among the Board members that I didn’t have the heart to say anything mean about him. He reminded me of a abused dog. As a matter of fact, I believe I addressed him with respect. There were four speakers, Pete Spain, Judge Lopez, Mrs. Martinez and me. Joey G. was the clock-watcher. I know he paid no attention to what was said, but he watched the dial on the clock to the second. We each had two minutes; he almost jumped out of his seat when the dial hit and stopped us mid-sentence to remind us that our two minutes were up, following with “I don’t make the rules.” No he doesn’t, but he has no compunction breaking them. He’s such a sad specimen. I can’t fathom how he survived seven years out of the free world. In closing, the midget and his sidekick, the “suspender” man were lurking outside the school, obviously afraid to come into the meeting; but I know the midget couldn’t resist being close to his handiwork. I believe that if the TC primaries end in the same result the Council primaries did, we’ll find him with his head in the pizza oven.

  6. Good Morning I was at Board of Education’s Meeting last night. I hope the Board will focus on the Children. I made it clear to the Board last night. It’s JOB is to set policy and not to run the school system that’s the Job of Our Superintendent, and if I get wind of anybody, the Board,Mayor, Mario or anyone else, is trying to get Our Superintendent Fired the battle is and popin.P.S Maria i understand after i left you called chris Taylor and myself Criminals.Please do me a favor stay in your lane.

    1. I said no such thing. That is an absolute lie.
      Ask yourself why the person(s) who told you that benefits from such a lie.

      However, to be clear, I do not support either you or Chris Taylor serving in elected positions.

        1. Really, Chris Taylor asked for my support for the BOE and I told him I would not support him because he has a poor work ethic and is LAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAZY!

          So much for what you know which apparently is little.

  7. Oh I hope that Mayor Ganim and DTC Chairman mess with Superintendent Johnson, please guys so that we all can watch both you men get your ass kicked by retired Superior Court Judge Carmen Lopez and former City Council President Lisa Parziale. Joe and Mario both have problems dealing with a strong smart women and especially a black woman like Superintendent of Schools Aresta Johnson.

    1. Huzzah huzzah. Mario had his suspenders snapped into place. Little Joe Ganim is using every petty tactic to maintain control over a school board that is tossing aside his bridle. Aresta Johnson has more than a few allies. Any attempt to remove her will be met with stiff resistance.

      Godspeed to Lisa Parziale. Remake the BDTC in the image of the people of the city of Bridgeport.

  8. No Maria I am a registered Democrat – please feel free to run to the Registrar of Voters to verify that information. and I am very blissful knowing that I am far from ignorant. keep throwing the venom at me – it does NOT make you look nice at all

  9. Lisa White, don’t pretend you are an innocent victim. Don’t start talking trash and expect me to remain silent. If you can dish it out you better be able to take it.

    1. keep dishing it out Maria.
      I AM a registered Democrat. please feel free to check with Ms Ayala. you misspoke when you asked if I am a registered Republican. I am correcting the record. you said I am ignorant – prove it!

      1. by the way Maria, if you think that twisting my words and posting your vile comments about and towards me will drive me from this blog – think again. I WILL stay and I WILL post.

  10. Joel, this is my reply to your post.
    Joel Gonzalez // Dec 12, 2017 at 2:00 pm

    Joel, I agree with your post and especially about Maria Pereira where you wrote, “As for Maria Pereira, I personally tried talking to her about her ways and style of dealing in the public arena. Her response was, “I don’t give a fuck what anyone thinks of me…”” Nice try Joel but it’s just what she told you is why Maria will never ever be a effective in politics because she can’t get along with people because it’s either her or the highway. Maria knows nothing about coalitions and negotiation, she has terrible people skills because Maria is a legend in her own mind.

    Joel, you also said, “On many of her OIB posts, Maria Pereira has stated that Judge Carmen Lopez and her husband were her mentors and trained her on Robert’s Rules of order, etc.” Joel, Maria has to keep on saying that because she has no friends and remember she’s saying, they trained her on Robert’s Rules of order, so that’s not saying that they support Maria. If Maria is elected to anything nobody will work with her, those voters will be throwing their vote away.

      1. Here we go with the bullying allegations. What are you, five?

        Bullying is for children not adults.

        Lisa, you took a shot at me and I responded appropriately. Don’t dish it out if you can’t take it. I think it’s obvious you can’t take it.

        Try and get a good nights rest because you just may need a burst of energy for OIB tomorrow.

        Nighty night.

        1. Actually, bullying is not for anyone, although observed in children. The Bridgeport Board of Education has a policy that runs three pages to outline the subject matter. When watching such behavior as a witness (non-combatant) it appears as if someone is using a supposed or actual power to enforce their will or desires on others, with no concern for the differences in actual or perceived power.
          If the subject comes up, the BOE policy, whether on paper for show or used in practice, offers some thoughts on the subject.

          BPT BOE: Bullying can be something which “substantially disrupts the education process or the orderly operation of a school.

          “Bullying shall include, but not be limited to, a written, verbal or electronic communication or
          physical act or gesture based on any actual or perceived differentiating characteristics, such
          as race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity
          and expression, socioeconomic status, academic status, physical appearance, or mental,
          physical, developmental or sensory disability, or by association with an individual or group
          who has or is perceived to have one or more of such characteristics.”
          Can we get along, all of us, for the sake of more than 21,000 youths who depend on the school system for their launch into the world? Time will tell.


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