Why I will not apply for a seat on the newly appointed Bridgeport Board of Education

Published on July 19, 2011 by

While I do not delude myself into thinking that the interim commissioner of the state Board of Education would ever appoint me to his soon-to-be created Bridgeport Board of Education, I believe that those of you who have encouraged me to submit my resume should be informed of the reasons why I will not do so.

First of all, I must express my deepest and most profound gratitude to the Bridgeport residents of substance, who have contacted me and encouraged me to apply for a seat on this new board. It is, and always has been, an honor and a privilege for me to have the support of “the everyday people” sly and the family stone use to sing about back in the day.

To me, this entire process is a sham.

In my view even by submitting an application I would be lending credibility to an assault on democracy, which has no credibility.

I will not help to legitimize that which is, at its core, illegitimate.

One of the arguments made by many sincere and well-intentioned individuals is that we should all participate in this new venture, even if we disagree with the clandestine coup and distrust the conspirators who brought it about. This philosophy, although well meaning and sincere, plays into the hands of the political manipulators and machine operatives. These political hatchet men and women want us to forget about their crime, as they ask us to “move forward for the children.”

I reject the Machiavellian gospel that “the ends justify the means.”

A second reason put forward by those who argue in favor of participation, is that if qualified individuals fail to apply, the interim commissioner will be able to say that “no qualified local applicants were available and therefore we had no alternative” but to appoint machine-selected candidates.

This argument assumes that the selection process, which will be conducted behind closed doors, is an authentic merit selection process. Nothing could be further from the truth.

The interim commissioner admitted at one of his many cameo appearance moments on the night of July 12, that he would not utilize or seek assistance from a local selection committee. He reminded everyone that the language of the statute gives him the power to reconstitute the board. He intends to use his power, and we the citizens and taxpayers of the city of Bridgeport, cannot veto any of his selections.

The next argument for seeking a seat on this soon-to-be appointed board, is that the community needs a local representative to be the voice of the Bridgeport people. This argument assumes that the selections are not already a “done deal” and that public participation is being sincerely solicited.

I wish I could believe that the result is not pre-determined and is not pre-ordained.

However, my review of all of the evidence that we currently have at our disposal prevents me from coming to that conclusion.

What is the evidence?

The evidence shows that the notice for a special Board of Education meeting on July 5, was filed on Friday July 1, eight minutes before the close of business for the holiday weekend.

The evidence shows that only selected board members and others were informed of the resolutions, which were designed to terminate the elected Bridgeport Board of Education. Those who might oppose the power grab were kept in the dark.

The evidence shows that at the July 5, special meeting, the board president admitted that discussions had been ongoing for months with the mayor, the superintendent and officials in Hartford, including the state Board of Education. Only certain board members, along with the people of Bridgeport, were out of the loop.

The evidence shows that the July 5 vote was done without benefit of public hearing or a committee process, because the six-member majority realized that a meeting of the state Board of Education was scheduled for the next day.

The evidence shows that the mayor, the board president and the only board member not elected by the people, Thomas Mulligan, testified at the state Board of Education that the three-member minority had rendered the board “dysfunctional.”

The evidence shows that the state Board of Education, which included many new members and an interim commissioner, voted 5-4 to reconstitute the Bridgeport Board of Education without any consideration or independent investigation.

The evidence shows that the interim commissioner has prioritized as his No. 1 criterion in appointing his new board, that those appointed “understand team dynamics.”

The evidence unambiguously shows that in Bridgeport, “team player” is code for someone who does what he or she is told and does not ask any questions.

To now ask us to accept as a given, that the selection process is fair and open, and that qualified, independent thinking Bridgeport residents are being sincerely considered, is a conclusion which is belied by all of the evidence before us.

In our legal system, any fact finder utilizes one of four standards of proof when evaluating evidence.

The most minimal standard is “probable cause,” followed by the standard in all civil cases, which is a “fair preponderance of the evidence;” in some civil cases “clear and convincing evidence” is the standard, while in a criminal case, the standard is “beyond a reasonable doubt.”

If all of this evidence were weighed on the scales of justice, those saying, “Trust us” would be weighed in the balance and found wanting. They could not even meet the minimum standard of probable cause.

The evidence before us leads me to conclude that this appointed board will not be independent. It will be subservient to the bureaucrats who appointed it and the political machine that will sustain it.

We already know the fate of independent thinking board members; those who conspired in favor of this takeover will not allow that to happen again.

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