Guest Editorial — Charter change debacle awakens sleeping giant

Published on November 11, 2012 by

The people of Bridgeport owe much to the allied proponents of education-reform and charter-revision that are responsible for the July 5, 2011 Board of Education “coup” and the follow-up, charter-revision initiative.

Those persons/entities particularly deserving of our thanks in this regard are: Mayor Bill Finch; Gov. Dannel Malloy; “education-reform” groups Excel Bridgeport and Students First; the plutocratic “education missionaries” (from the Connecticut Gold Coast, and beyond) that sent money and advisors to Bridgeport City Hall to assist in the aforementioned strategy/tactics to “rescue” the Bridgeport public school system from the Bridgeport public.

Indeed, those responsible for the orchestration and execution of the grand (now-failed) plot to usurp the democratic prerogative of the people of Bridgeport to govern their own public school system have succeeded in awakening the 100,000-strong Bridgeport electorate.

Nov. 6, 2012 was a seminal moment for the city of Bridgeport.

As it will be recalled, the plot was hatched during the Connecticut gubernatorial election of 2010 by Gold Coast hedge-fund-connected operatives with ties to Mayor Bill Finch and then-gubernatorial candidate Dannel Malloy of Stamford, who, together, conspired between Nov. 2010 and July 2011 to legally decommission the Bridgeport Board of Education and replace it with a state-appointed board, answerable to the governor and the Connecticut commissioner of education.

This part of the plot was accomplished in a July 5, 2011 “coup” following a flurry of clandestine City Hall-Hartford activity over the Fourth of July weekend. The completion of the plot was to have occurred on Nov. 6, when a deceitfully-presented charter-revision referendum item on the Bridgeport election ballot was to have passed, negating the right of the people of Bridgeport to elect the Board of Education, and instead giving Mayor Finch the right to appoint and control the Bridgeport school board and its $300 million budget.

However, as surely as there is a God who protects the people of Bridgeport from the kind of tyrants and oppressors from which so many of us and our parents and grandparents fled in coming to Bridgeport, the Connecticut Supreme Court ruled the July 5th coup illegal, and the charter-revision initiative was soundly defeated in the Nov. 6 election despite massive spending on propaganda and ground operations by the education “reformers” of the “education-industrial complex” that drove the effort from the inception (in an effort to secure a strategic, high-profile foot-hold in the highly lucrative, private-education-services market represented by struggling, urban public school systems…).

In deciphering an accurate context for consideration of the implications of this Bridgeport-based political drama, it must be appreciated that the bigger picture of what culminated in Bridgeport on Nov. 6 isn’t the incredible victory accomplished by the unlikely, unprecedented, unified effort of the disparate political factions of Bridgeport in the defeat of the big guns behind the charter-revision initiative, it is in the discovery by the people of Bridgeport that they have enormous power in numbers if they choose to wield it.

It is in this discovery that the sleeping giant of Connecticut politics — the Bridgeport electorate — has finally been aroused from its long dormancy. It is in this discovery that true prosperity will be able to return to Bridgeport in time to rescue the present generation of Bridgeport youth.

Now that we have all seen what can happen when Bridgeporters are driven to action by tyrannical measures, we can immediately begin to take the necessary steps to expose and address the ubiquitous tyranny and hegemony from within (and beyond) the Connecticut plutocracy that has caused Bridgeport to become and remain a poor, violent, hopeless city surrounded by idyllic comfort and affluence sustained by Bridgeport’s poverty.

It was “education” that was ostensibly pursued on Bridgeport’s behalf by the plutocrats and exploiters; now it will be an “educated” Bridgeport with which the plutocrats and exploiters will have to contend, as we demand – through our superior electoral numbers – the good jobs and high-value development needed to return justice to the long-exploited people of Bridgeport.

Gold Coast/Hartford, be on notice! The Sleeping Giant has been awakened!