BRIDGEPORT— One of the co-chairs of the city’s Charter Revision Commission apparently left her cake out in the rain.
At least that is how Cathy Simpson painted last week’s defeat of the measure that would have transferred the naming rights of school board members from the electorate to the mayor.
In a piece she wrote for Lenny Grimaldi’s “Only In Bridgeport” blog, Simpson made reference to “MacArthur Park,” (a 1968 song first sung by actor Richard Harris) then expressed surprise, disappointment and heartbreak that the proposal fell flat with voters. Simpson said she had hoped they were going to vote for a recipe for change.
“I acknowledge that giving up the right to vote for the Board of Education is considered by many to be an affront to the democratic public participation in school governance,” Simpson wrote. “I was naive to think that citizens would embrace the position that with a mayoral appointed board, you can vote out a mayor if schools fail.”
Plus, Simpson pointed, Bridgeport city schools remain among the worst in the state.
“Although the opposition to a mayoral elected board won the battle on Nov. 6, 2012, the war against substandard schools for city children has yet to be won,” she wrote.
Simpson’s charter revision commission co-chair, George Estrada, said Monday he shares the sentiment.
Estrada said he was surprised the vote turned out the way it did, but respected the outcome.
“We were challenging an existing system that has demonstrated a continuing pattern of failure. Unfortunately, we did nothing to change it.”
Lindsay Farrell, Executive Director of the Working Families Party said she appreciates the work done by Simpson and the Charter Revision Commission and agrees that the schools in Bridgeport need to be improved.
“What we didn’t agree on was the Charter Revision Commission’s proposed fix,” said Farrell. “Disenfranchising voters wouldn’t have improved schools.”
Farrell said her party looks forward to its school board members — there are three Working Family Party members ont eh board — working with the mayor, and city hall, to improve Bridgeport’s schools.”
Maximino Medina Jr., a former school board chair who fought against a mayoral appointed board, declined to comment specifically on Simpson’s remarks.
But he did say that he knows people in both the yes and no camp, and that many more in the no camp have worked successfully for city schools and schoolchildren than the “yes camp.”
“It’s not even close,” he said.
“So now,” said Medina, “is the time for those who profess to be motivated by what’s in the best interests of the kids to prove it by actually working with people with whom they disagree. No more conspiracies. No more takeovers. No more canceled elections. No more money wasted on outside consultants.”
Here is a link to the full post of Simpson’s remarks: