by Jon Pelto from Wait, What
On Monday, the five members of the Bridgeport Board of Education aligned with Mayor Bill Finch voted to make Kenneth Moales the chairman of the Bridgeport Board of Education.
It was a banner day for Mayor Bill Finch, Acting Superintendent of Schools Paul Vallas, Connecticut’s Commissioner of Education Stefan Pryor and Governor Dannel Malloy.
Moales promptly used his authoritarian, dictatorial and bullying approach to highlight his complete inability to function in a democratic society. The so called “piece de resistance” came when he returned to the meeting after he had illegally adjourned it to threaten one of the board of education members who serves on the Board thanks to Connecticut’s minority representation laws, a statute designed to ensure that dissent is allowed and one party rule is prohibited in our state.
On Friday, former Judge Carmen Lopez summed up the situation perfectly in a column printed in the CT Post. Judge Lopez wrote,
“Kenneth Moales Jr.’s tradition of insulting and boorish behavior directed at citizens of Bridgeport, as well as to fellow board of education members, is well-documented.”
Lopez’ full commentary piece can be found at http://www.ctpost.com/opinion/article/Troubling-sign-of-city-s-future-4395547.php
But to provide the tone, here are is a portion of the column Carmen Lopez wrote;
“On March 25, board member Sauda Baraka, in the manner of the prophet Nathan, confronted Moales, with his pattern of disrespect, and arrogant refusal to broke any dissent. Moales’ response was to adjourn the meeting while a she held the floor, a violation of every known concept of civility and Robert’s Rules of Order.
He then felt secure enough to threaten Ms. Baraka in front of witnesses, including members of the press, telling her that she would regret speaking truth to power.
The antics of Moales, who has shown himself to be a bible-beating bully and a theocratic thug, are disturbing, and outrageous. But even more alarming is the fact that he personifies a philosophy which is on the ascendency in Bridgeport: a philosophy that refuses to tolerate dissent and holds that those who speak out must be disrespected and destroyed.
Mayor Finch recently told the board of education that soon its votes would be “unanimous,” as if the absence of dissent were a goal worth achieving.”
And Lopez concludes her observation about Moales and his allies in Bridgeport and Hartford by noting;
“His tomorrow does not view government as a marketplace of ideas, but rather as an echo chamber of the only one true point of view.
In his tomorrow, elected officials are not expected to exercise independent judgment but are expected to perform as a team of horses responding to a single whip.
His tomorrow will supplant a reverence for the free flow of information and ideas, with a golden calf of unanimity.
But don’t ever believe that his tomorrow will be ushered in by the ignorant and uneducated among us. The good smart people, lawyers, professors and the business elite will remain silent or will actively encourage this impending reign of terror.
These good, smart, and well-educated and credentialed people will say “we had to do it,” the 2013 equivalent of ‘I was only following orders.’ If this is tomorrow, I propose a toast to yesterday!”
Lopez provides both a warning and a rallying cry.
Beware Connecticut…what is happening in Bridgeport is not a bizarre outlier of reality; it is a window into the intent and patterns of far too many of our elected officials and their associates.
Resistance is not futile, but action is required.
So as we toast yesterday, let us also toast tomorrow, for the time has come to take back our government and our society from those who have lost their ability to conduct themselves by the principles that our nation was founded upon.