If you live in Bridgeport, you’ve probably noticed the recent influx of campaign literature clogging your mailbox. With less than a week left until Election Day, the final push for votes is underway.
One mailer, in particular, caught my attention. This joint mailer urges voters to vote for both ROW B (unendorsed Democrats) and ROW C (Working Families Party). [PDF of the mailer]
Which points to more collaboration between the two campaigns.
The fact that the Working Families Party has given campaign contributions (at least $2,000) to the unendorsed Democrats should be enough to throw red flags up for Bridgeport voters. [Itemized Campaign Disclosure Statement, 9/3/2013]
According to State Law, Boards of Education must have minority party representation. At least two candidates elected this November MUST be from a minority party. This law was developed to avoid block voting and to make sure there was minority view points represented on the board. [Minority Representation Requirements, OLR Research Report, 10/28/1996]
The Working Families Party and the unendorsed Democrats have basically hijacked the system!
They seem to be working together in order to get like-minded candidates, who share the same goals on the board, in the interest of ousting the current majority party.
Working Families Party Members, including the current chairman Maria Pereira, have made public statements in support of the unendorsed Democrats and the Working Families Party even gave money to the unendorsed Democrat candidates. NOW there’s a joint mailer!
Are these guys for real? It’s clear they want to replace a majority bloc with another one and they are doing it by misleading voters into thinking these two slates are independent from the other.
The mailer itself was paid for by the Bridgeport Education Association (BEA), which represents Bridgeport teachers.
The BEA is the local surrogate for the Connecticut Education Association, whose political action committee has spent over $78,000 on independent Expenditures on behalf of Row B (the unendorsed Democratic Challengers), including this mailer. [Itemized Campaign Disclosure Statement, January 10th Filing; October 10thFiling; Primary Filing]
During the primary, there were accusations of collaboration between the BEA and unendorsed Democrats. [Education Bridgeport, 9/6/2013]
It’s against state election law to collaborate with any entity that incurs independent expenditures on the behalf of said candidates. In a previous article, I noted that Robert Traber, the BEA vice-president, was very much involved in the Democrats campaigns. [Municipal Candidate Guidebook, January 2013]
Oh, and it gets better!
The BEA also has close ties to the Working Families Party too. Currently, both groups are using the same consulting firm, Grassroots Strategies, Inc., which happens to be owned by at least one former Working Families Party operative. This same firm operates out of Working Families Party headquarters in Hartford.
In other words, The BEA paid Grassroots Strategies as an independent expenditure to work on the unendorsed Democrat’s campaign (ROW B), and the Working Families Party also uses the same firm to work on their campaign.
Clearly there is something going on… But why dupe voters?
One possibility: The BEA has a lot to gain if the right board is elected.
Remember, whoever‘s elected next week will also be voting on the next teacher’s contract in January. The union’s contract is currently under negotiation. While the current board is part of this process, the new board will most likely be tasked with approving the contract, since it’s unlikely the BEA and administration will agree on terms before December, and the Board of Education has final say on teacher’s contracts.
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