The millionaire candidate who won’t pay his taxes or debts…

On July 17, 2013, when faced with a set of foreclosure proceedings against his church, The Prayer Tabernacle Church of Love, totaling at least $8 million, the Reverend Kenneth Moales Jr., a key ally of Governor Dannel Malloy, Campaign Treasurer for Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch and Chairman of the Bridgeport Board of Education, blithely dismissed the information telling the Connecticut Post,,

“My dad left me a millionaire, I’m fine, we’re fine, we don’t have any financial problems…we are having a banking issue.”

Eighteen months later, Kenneth Moales, Jr is now running in a special election in Bridgeport to fill a vacant seat in the Connecticut State Senate and his financial problems have continued to grow.

The latest news arrived via the “Only in Bridgeport” blog which reported, “Moales’ Daycare Facility Owes $10,000 in Back Taxes.  [Also see: In the news again – Steve Perry’s point man in Bridgeport – The Reverend Kenneth Moales Jr.]

The day care centers owned by Moales’ family already owed back taxes in the summer of 2013, but the number has grown, despite the fact that the daycare centers have collected in excess of $5 million in taxpayer funds from the State of Connecticut.

In addition to the back taxes, various loans that Moales took out to build his church and renovate his mother’s house remain unpaid.  Foundation Capital Resources, a company that lends money primarily to churches is owed at least $7.3 million dollars and there is still the unpaid loan to the now defunct Community Bank of Bridgeport.  A number of vendors have also filed suit against Moales and his church claiming that they were not paid for work that they completed.

Kenneth Moales’ church owns 10 properties in Bridgeport including church buildings, some of which house his three daycare centers, and homes, including the house that Moales resides in.

When asked by the Connecticut Post in July 2013 about why Moales and the church had defaulted on their loans and failed to pay vendors, Moales retorted,

“Our church is very strong financially,” he said. “We have seen an increase in our membership (now more than 1,000) and a 40 percent increase in our revenue. I’m sure no other church in the city can say that.”

A defiant Moales told the Connecticut Post, “Our church will not lose a mailbox — never mind a piece of property in Bridgeport.”

And while families across Bridgeport and Connecticut continue to struggle financially with many losing their homes as a result of the Great Recession, Kenneth Moales Jr. seems to be blessed with the political cover to do as he likes.

And what Moales wants now is a seat in the Connecticut State Senate where he can continue his work on behalf of the charter school industry and the corporate education reform movement, all despite the fact that he sent his children to expensive private schools.

With the special election only twenty days away, be sure to check back for more about this “interesting” race for office.  You can also find more at the Only in Bridgeport Blog and the Connecticut Post.

Reverend Kenneth Moales Jr. – Mayor Bill Finch’s campaign treasurer is classless to the end

Tonight, the Bridgeport Board of Education has selected a new chairperson for the Bridgeport Board of Education.

Reverend Kenneth Moales, Jr., corporate education reform champion, Mayor Bill Finch campaign treasurer and Governor Malloy ally has proven yet again why he is incapable of serving as a representative of the people of Bridgeport.

As if to prove the point, Moales lashed out at the Connecticut Post in one last classless act of defiance.

The full story can be found in a Connecticut Post article written by Brian Lockhart.

In an article entitled, “Rev. Moales refuses Post’s ? until reporter who visited home says sorryLockhart writes;

“As the outgoing chairman of Bridgeport’s Board of Education, Kenneth Moales Jr. is a high-profile public official.

That means he should expect to be approached by members of the press by phone, email and, depending on the circumstances, perhaps at work or even at home. Newspaper editors demand it.

“Reporters knock on doors all the time,” said Richard Hanley, an associate professor of journalism and director of the graduate journalism program at Quinnipiac University.

Until recently Moales had an outstanding state police warrant hanging over his head.

Before publishing that late October story, Hearst Connecticut Newspapers/The Connecticut Post attempted to contact Moales by phone, with no success. A reporter did speak by phone to his wife and asked her to pass along a message to her husband.

Then later in the day reporters – in an effort to give Moales every opportunity to explain the warrant  – tried his office in the early evening and, finally, knocked on the front door of his home around 7 p.m.

From behind their closed front door Moales’ angry wife told a reporter to go away. The reporter calmly asked if her husband had received the message to contact the newspaper and she said he had. The reporter left without incident.

That was Oct. 21. Since then Moales – who because of a shift in power on the school board will chair his final meeting Dec. 9 – has refused to respond to any questions from Hearst until the newspaper provides him the identity of the journalist who visited his home and also an apology.

Moales is also Mayor Bill Finch’s campaign treasurer.

Here are a few of Moales’ emails to reporter Linda Lambeck, who covers education. They are copied below as sent, errors included, with any clarifications in parenthesis:

From Friday, Nov. 1: “I am still waiting for an apology from the CT Post for attacking my wife at the home!!!”and “You (Lambeck) are a very good reporter…and I am certain that you know who attacked my wife at our private residence!  Send me their name and contact information and have the CT Post send my wife and family an apology for such disrespectful behavior and harrassment at our place of residence!  Until then…NO COMMENT!!!

From Monday, Dec. 9: “I AM STILL WAITING FOR AN APOLOGY TO MY WIFE FROM THE IDIOT THAT RAIDED MY HOUSE AT NIGHT TO!!!

In response to the above email Lambeck wrote back: “If someone ‘raided’ your house you should have called the police. Someone knocked on your door after dark. Big difference.”

Moales responded: “If it is not such a big des (deal) how about you provide me with the man’s name and full address and I will make certain to send a stranger to his door!!!  And while you are at it, how about you give me your address as well I am certain there are a few people that would love to come knock at your door to ask you a few questions…since your colleague’s actions were so appropriate please forward me the aforementioned addresses!!!  YOU KNOW HE WAS WRONG & INAPPROPRIATE!”

“Wow,” said Hanley when read Moales’ emails. “As a public figure his level of immaturity is startling … Given the fact he’s an official representing that town, that invites public scrutiny, which is the role of the press. He ought to understand that and ought not to be playing what amounts to an email war against a news organization … The reporter’s action is to benefit him to give him an opportunity to comment on something, and he in turn has inflamed the situation.”

Hanley noted that Moales has every right to ask the press not to return to his home.

“It’s within the rights of public officials to tell people to get off their lawn, whether they’re media or not,” Hanley said. “And it’s perfectly within his right to do that. But it seems to have escalated beyond a simple request, and that’s what I find startling. Just a simple, ‘Please don’t come to my house ever again’ is sufficient. You don’t need to get into that sort of tirade in the email.”

Hanley added reporters generally don’t enjoy visiting someone’s residence unannounced.

“No journalist I know is interested in surprising someone at home, interrupting dinner or family time,” Hanley said. “But when you need a comment on a story of this kind (an arrest warrant for a public official), you need a comment.”

Moales, whose church and all its properties, including Moales’ home and automobiles, are presently facing final foreclosure proceedings.  He is a sad reminder of the sense of entitlement that surrounds some of those who hold political positions in the country today.

You can read the full CT Post article at: http://blog.ctnews.com/connecticutpostings/2013/12/09/rev-moales-refuses-posts-until-reporter-who-visited-home-says-sorry/

CT Post’ Hugh Bailey speaks “Truth To Power” again with latest piece on Vallas

Hugh Bailey’s latest commentary piece is called “School leader’s time is running short.”  The Connecticut Post editorial writer once again speaks truth to power.

The phrase “Truth to Power” was developed by the Quakers in the mid-1950s when it was used in a famous pamphlet that called for the United States to stand up against fascism and other forms of totalitarianism, especially here at home in the United States.

Over the years it has come to describe those who have the courage and conviction to stand up and speak out against arrogance, bullying and the unbridled power of the corporate and government elite.

Here in Connecticut, Hugh Bailey has become one of the most powerful “truth to power” voices in the state.

Here is his latest on the abusive nature of Paul Vallas and his backers.

“For anyone having trouble keeping track, there are now three separate clocks ticking on the tenure of Bridgeport Superintendent of Schools Paul Vallas.

The first is a case to be heard Monday before the state Supreme Court, which will decide in coming months whether he is legally qualified to hold his job. A Superior Court judge has already ruled against him; the Supreme Court could overturn that decision, or it could agree and send Vallas packing.

The second took shape in the Sept. 10 Democratic primary, which saw the easy win of three candidates who are dedicated skeptics of the superintendent’s work. There is still a November election to be held, but barring some unforeseen resurgence of local Republicans, who haven’t won citywide office in years, there will be a majority on the school board in favor of hiring someone new.

The third factor limiting his tenure is the superintendent himself, who has repeatedly said he doesn’t plan to be around long.

Of course, that depends on his audience. He told the Connecticut Post after the primary, “I have a three-year contract, and assuming the Supreme Court rules in my favor, I just will continue to work as long as I feel I am making progress.”

In July, though, he told reporters from Chicago and the New York Times that he was looking to stay in Bridgeport for another year or so. The Times story was about the rough political waters in Bridgeport, and saw the superintendent telling a reporter, apparently without irony, “There are some gigantic egos in this town.” This from someone who once compared himself to Michael Jordan.

Maybe since July he’s changed his mind, and is now in it for the long haul. It’s impossible to know. He did, though, insinuate that he would be headed back to Illinois, telling NBC Chicago, “Let’s just say I’m still registered to vote (there).” It was probably a coincidence that he gave a speech last week at an education conference at Elmhurst College, just outside Chicago.

Back in Bridgeport, which could really use a school leader who plans to be around a while, there have been two votes in recent months against the direction education policy has taken, but Vallas insists it’s not about him. In a way, he’s right.

It’s not personal. In fact, many Vallas opponents can come up with a few things he’s done that they support.

The votes against entrenched powers in the city were about much more than the superintendent. Still, the special treatment afforded him to get around certification laws makes an easy stand-in for the kind of cronyism voters are tired of.

The day Vallas leaves is the last day most Bridgeport residents will ever think about him, because the city will still have the same underfunded school district and social problems it had before he got here. That’s been the story with miracle-working school reformers from the beginning.

Vallas, meanwhile, will almost certainly find some other well-paying job. But he’d rather leave on his own terms than be fired or ruled ineligible.

His supporters know he’s leaving — or should, if they’re listening to him. And yet the city is spending tens of thousands of taxpayer dollars to defend him at the Supreme Court, all for the sake of what will likely amount to another few months on the job.

The more factors that mount against him, and the greater lengths to which the city goes in ensuring he exits on his own terms, the more it looks like it’s the pride and reputation of Paul Vallas on the line rather than the well-being of Bridgeport students.

The sooner he leaves, the sooner the city can get to work on finding someone committed, long term, to doing the job.”

Truth to power is the telling it like it is…something Hugh Bailey has done once again.

A weekend of interesting news and commentary posts about Bridgeport – in case you missed them….

Bridgeport Community Bank that Bridgeport’s BOE Chair Kenneth Moales Jr won’t pay back goes under (Saturday)

In an article entitled, “State Has First Bank Failure In A Decade, the Hartford Courant reported last night that, “The Community’s Bank, with its headquarters and one branch in Bridgeport, came under the receivership of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. late Friday afternoon amid mounting losses from commercial real estate loans.”

“Shocked and saddened” is what Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch said in a statement, adding “…It is not clear how the state could allow this to happen.”

Shocked?

Not clear how the state could allow this to happen?

What Mayor Finch failed to reveal and the Hartford Courant didn’t report is that The Community Bank is one of the mortgage holders that Finch campaign treasurer and Bridgeport Board of Education Chairman, Kenneth Moales Jr, has failed to repay.

Since April of this year, Wait, What? readers have been learning about the massive financial problems facing Moales his church.

Read it at: http://jonathanpelto.com/2013/09/14/bridgeport-community-bank-bridgeports-boe-chair-kenneth-moales-jr-wont-pay-back-goes/

“I am going to keep this job till someone says I can’t” (Paul Vallas 9-14-13) (Saturday)

Ah, Paul… A Connecticut Superior Court Judge said you aren’t qualified to hold the job of superintendent in the state of Connecticut.  In fact, she actually ordered you to leave the post immediately….and you refused.

Now you are using upward toward $100,000 in precious taxpayer funds to fight the fact that someone DID tell you that you can’t keep the job.

The next chapter in your embarrassing attempt to hold on to a job that isn’t yours will take place before the Connecticut Supreme Court on September 23, 2013.

A piece of advice.  When you make sh*t up, you should at least make an attempt to try and make it believable enough to not look like a fool.

Instead, according to a new story in the Connecticut Post, “Paul Vallas says he isn’t going anywhere.”

The article goes on to say, “Despite a primary last Tuesday that makes it likely school board control will shift to members who do not support him, Vallas said in an interview late last week that he is going to work in the district until he is told to stop.

Read it at: http://jonathanpelto.com/2013/09/14/going-keep-job-till-someone-says-cant-paul-vallas-9-14-13/

The Connecticut Post’s Tale of two cities(Sunday)

While one Connecticut Post article yesterday featured Bridgeport’s faux superintendent of schools, Paul Vallas saying “I am going to keep this job till someone says I can’t,” Hugh Bailey, an editorial writer at the paper was observing in another piece that, “At school reform’s center, a resounding ‘no’.”

As Hugh Bailey so clearly noted in his commentary piece, while Mayor Bill Finch says “I want to keep Paul Vallas…He’s going to stay as long as I can keep him here,” the people impacted by the policies being foisted upon them by Finch and Vallas are clearly saying NO!

Read it at: http://jonathanpelto.com/2013/09/15/connecticut-posts-tale-two-cities/

The Connecticut Post’s Tale of two cities

While one Connecticut Post article yesterday featured Bridgeport’s faux superintendent of schools, Paul Vallas saying “I am going to keep this job till someone says I can’t,” Hugh Bailey, an editorial writer at the paper was observing in another piece that, “At school reform’s center, a resounding ‘no’.”

As Hugh Bailey so clearly noted in his commentary piece, while Mayor Bill Finch says “I want to keep Paul Vallas…He’s going to stay as long as I can keep him here,” the people impacted by the policies being foisted upon them by Finch and Vallas are clearly saying NO!

Bailey highlights the fact that while Paul Vallas says he is “making progress,” a prime example of Bridgeport’s rejection of the Vallas/Finch education reform agenda could be seen at Bridgeport’s Dunbar School.

Earlier this year, in a deal between Paul Vallas and Stefan Pryor, Governor Malloy’s Commissioner of Education, the Bridgeport’s Dunbar elementary school was handed over to a charter school management company based in Hartford, Connecticut.  Jumoke Academy and its parent company, FUSE Inc., are now being paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to “turnaround” the Dunbar School.

For years, the State of Connecticut and the City of Bridgeport have failed to properly fund Dunbar and other schools in high poverty areas of the state.  However, instead of treating Dunbar and its students, parents and teachers fairly and providing the schools with the funds it needed, Vallas, Pryor and the other leaders of the education reform industry movement not only hired a well-connected company to run Dunbar, but then – and only then – provided millions of dollars in new funding for the school and its students.

None of those involved in this sham ever told Dunbar’s parents that the COO of Jumoke Academy/FUSE Inc., is a member of the State Board of Education.   And Finch, Vallas, Pryor and Malloy certainly never explained to the community that the state could easily have made the extra investment in Dunbar without having to turn management of the school over to a private entity.

But what is clear after reading Hugh Bailey’s commentary piece is that the voters of Bridgeport are not fooled by Vallas, Pryor, Finch and Malloy.

As Bailey writes, “There were six candidates running for school board last week. Three, endorsed by the city’s Democratic Party, were vocal supporters of the current superintendent and the changes his team has made. The three challengers were just as outspoken in opposition. At Dunbar, the three endorsed candidates received 67, 73 and 79 votes. The three challengers received 231, 216 and 212 votes.

The facts speak for themselves.  At the very school that serves as the symbol of the Vallas’ “progress” and his approach to public education, the candidates opposed to Vallas and the corporate education reformers did THREE TIMES BETTER than those endorsed by the Democratic Party establishment and who are committed to individuals and an agenda that is undermining public education in Connecticut.

Paul Vallas said, “”I am going to keep this job till someone says I can’t.”

Putting aside the fact that the Connecticut Superior Court has already ruled Vallas can’t keep his job; if public officials were looking for messages, the voters of Bridgeport sent a pretty clear one last Tuesday about who needs to be looking for new jobs…and at the top of that list was Paul Vallas, Bill Finch, Stefan Pryor and Dannel Malloy.

You can read Hugh Bailey’s piece at:http://www.ctpost.com/news/article/Hugh-Bailey-At-school-reform-s-center-a-4814723.php while you can read the piece about Vallas at:http://www.ctpost.com/local/article/Vallas-says-I-am-making-progress-4814988.php.

Connecticut Post editorial writers continue to pump out powerful pieces

“We must not confuse dissent with disloyalty. When the loyal opposition dies, I think the soul of America dies with it.” – Edward R. Murrow

 

I’ve used that quote before here at Wait, What? I believe it to be one of the most important political statements in American history.  It was uttered by the great journalist Edward R, Murrow.  As one of the greatest war correspondents, Murrow’s impact on the american people was profound.  But his greatest contribution was probably his willingness to stand up and speak the truth when it came to Senator Joseph McCarthy.  When Murrow and his team created a hard-hitting documentary on Joe McCarthy, CBS refused to pay for any publicity related to the piece or allow Murrow to use CBS’ logo.  So Murrow and colleagues purchased their own newspaper advertising.

Murrow understood that when the opposition is silenced, the demise of democracy is not far behind.

It is that very understanding that made yesterday’s Connecticut Post’s editorial entitled, “Opposition’s emergence benefits city” so noteworthy.

The Connecticut Post wrote;

“In a city like Bridgeport, where an entrenched political establishment seemingly gets its way on everything, days like Tuesday don’t come around very often.

Party-endorsed candidates lost across the city in Tuesday’s Democratic primary. The makeup of the City Council and school board will be dramatically different thanks to a combination of voter unrest and organized opposition of the sort that rarely makes a dent in city elections.

The Bridgeport electorate is overwhelmingly Democratic. Republicans seldom make any noise, and have been mostly surpassed by the Working Families Party as the Democrats’ main opposition. Still, whoever wins the Democratic nomination is considered a heavy favorite on the November ballot. That’s what made the primary vote so important.

The City Council has for years been all Democrats, but a number of longtime incumbents were beaten on Tuesday. Some of the winners look like they will be critical of the city’s entrenched powers, which would be a healthy sign. A council that agrees on everything is the cause of debacles like the $400,000 airport driveway for a connected developer, which was approved this year while the council slept.

The biggest change will be on the school board. With four incumbents not running, there would have been serious turnover anyway, but now it looks as though control of the board will shift away from party-endorsed members. If the general election goes as expected, a majority on the board will be staunch opponents of the mayor’s school-reform efforts, and dedicated skeptics of the work of Superintendent of Schools Paul Vallas.

Voter turnout was a disappointment. But the conventional wisdom that low turnout favors the party machine was turned on its head. In fact, it was a blowout in favor of the school board’s challenge slate, with the three Row B candidates racking up wins across the city, often by large margins.

It would be hard to view this as anything other than a rebuke to the city’s ongoing education reforms. The endorsed candidates had each pledged support for Vallas and the changes he has wrought, and the challengers all spoke against his work. The challengers won, and it wasn’t close. District leadership will have to respond to that message.

Most promising, even given the low turnout, is the appearance in the past year or two of a viable opposition. It took hold in the defeat of a charter revision plan last year that would have removed the public’s right to elect a school board, and the momentum continued Tuesday. Anyone who chalked up last year’s charter defeat to the simultaneous presidential election, which always attracts high turnout, must face the fact that a low-turnout election has now produced the same result.

Opposition is healthy. Change is good. The city will be better because of it.”

You can read the Connecticut Post’s editorial at: http://www.ctpost.com/news/article/Opposition-s-emergence-benefits-city-4806360.php

Achievement First Inc. pushing Finch/Vallas slate in Bridgeport Democratic Primary

Bridgeport’s Democratic Primary to select Board of Education candidates will be held tomorrow and campaign finance reports filed last week reveal that Achievement First Inc., the charter school management company co-founded by Commissioner of Education, Stefan Pryor, continues to play a dominant role in the effort to control Bridgeport’s public education system.

The latest effort in support of the candidates loyal to Mayor Bill Finch and Bridgeport’s faux superintendent of schools, Paul Vallas, is being directed by Andrew Boas, the founder and principal investment officer of the Carl Marks Management Company and its related entity, Carl Marks Strategic Investments LP.  Boas’ claimed expertise is making money from “distressed investment activities.”

When not picking clean the bones of people and projects that have fallen on hard times, Boas is a major player on behalf of the corporate education reform industry and one of Achievement First’s most important supporters.

Boas is a long-time member of the Achievement First Board of Trustees.  He presently presides as chairman of the Achievement First – Bridgeport Academy Board.  He also serves on the Charter Oak Challenge Foundation, one of the vehicles that the corporate reformers have used to funnel money to Vallas and Bridgeport privatization efforts.

Most recently, Boas has been rounding up money for the Finch endorsed slate of candidates.

In one email Boas wrote,

“We need your help. The landscape for education reform in Bridgeport will be forever altered by the Board of Education (BOE) elections slated for this November.  We have several hurdles to overcome, including an unexpected Democratic primary on September 10, 2013.”

“I need your help in getting Katie Bukovsky, Brandon Clark and Rev. Dr. Simon Castillo selected as the Democratic candidates in the upcoming primary election.  The other democrat challengers running have been handpicked by the teacher union, and I believe will not serve the best interests of the children and families of Bridgeport.”

“If we lose, the opposition wants to make sure the Union contract is not touched in the upcoming Collective Bargaining Agreement and they want to ensure high performing programs like Achievement First and turnaround models cannot expand in our City”

Boas went on to ask his friends and colleagues to give up to the maximum legal limit to the Bridgeport Democratic Town Committee and to also give the maximum to a political action committee that he helped create called Citizens for Students.

So who responded to his call to give money to Citizens for Students?

The list of new donors is headed by Jonathan Sackler of Achievement First, ConnCAN and 50CAN and Sackler’s wife, who each threw in $1,000.  Sackler, Wait, What? readers will recall, donated $50,000 of his own money to Finch’s failed attempt charter revision campaign to do away with Bridgeport’s democratically elected Board of Education and replace it with one appointed by Finch.

Other donors to Citizens for Students included the City of Bridgeport’s Parks Director and the City’s Personnel Director, each of whom donated $500.

Another $500 showed up from Megan Lowney, the founder of Excel Bridgeport and assistant to billionaire Stephen Mandel.

Joshua Thomson, Finch’s “education adviser,” who used to call himself Deputy Mayor for Education but now reports that he is Bridgeport’s Director of Education and Youth Policy also responded to Boas’ call for donations.

And the latest Citizens for Students campaign finance report included a contribution of $500 from Attorney Ed Maley.  Maley is rather famous in the circles of Connecticut government.  Not only does he bill the City of Bridgeport for legal work but as the Democratic Legislative Commissioner for the Connecticut General Assembly he collects $56,000 a year on top of his Connecticut State pension of $111,000.

Lest anyone miss the message, as Bridgeport voters prepare to vote in tomorrow’s Democratic Primary, the corporate reform buzzards circle.

Oh, and as if the flow of money wasn’t enough to show how Finch and the corporate education reformers control the endorsed slate, in a weekend editorial entitled, CT Post Endorses Baker, Gardner, Hennessey in Tuesday’s Primary for Board of Education, the City’s paper endorsed the challenge slate writing;

“But one thing voters should expect from their elected officials is a degree of independence. No one wants school board members who will simply enact the policies desired by the city’s political powers, whether that’s a mayor or a party boss. There is good reason to believe the endorsed slate would be unable to offer that independence.

Upon meeting with Post editors last week, the three endorsed candidates were joined by Joshua Thompson, who works in the mayor’s office and is charged with carrying out City Hall’s education policies. The message, far from implicit, was that the mayor will be watching. If the mayor has worthy ideas for the future of the school system, by all means, the school board should listen. That’s a far cry from putting in place elected officials who will do the mayor’s bidding.

The city held a vote on mayoral control of the school board. It failed.”

It reminds everyone that above all else, it is fair to say that the concept of “finesse” is clearly not a strong point when it comes to Finch, Boas and the rest of the people trying to undermine Bridgeport’s public education system.

IMPORTANT UPDATE:  The original version of this blog post identified Andrew Boas as a member of the Bridgeport Public Education Fund and reported that the Fund was part of the effort to funnel money to cover Paul Vallas’ expenses.  Although his bio reports that Boas remains active on these local boards, he actually left the Bridgeport Public Education Fund Board in 2011.  More importantly, for over three decades the mission of the BPEF has been “to develop programs and mobilize the community for quality public education in Bridgeport.”  The work of the BPEF has been highly recognized nationally by the Public Education Network. The Annenberg Foundation, The Kettering Foundation and Public Agenda.  The Funds work has been focused in three areas that ALL support the work of the Bridgeport Public Schools – teachers and students.  I apologize for suggesting that the BPEF was part of the education reform debate that is now swirling through Bridgeport.

I meant to reference the Bridgeport Education Reform Fund and the Good Schools Bridgeport Fund both of which are products of the corporate education reform effort in Bridgeport.

CT Post editorial asks Bridgeport officials to stop pissing away taxpayer’s money…

In an editorial entitled “Demand better from City Attorney’s Office,” the Connecticut Post’s editorial writers raise an issue that should be on the mind of every Bridgeport and Connecticut taxpayer. 

The question is….what the heck is the Bridgeport Attorney’s Office thinking…

And how is it that they have absolutely no sense of duty to the taxpayers that are paying their bills.

The Connecticut Post editorial reads;

“Let’s run through a few recent highlights.

“I have been fairly well-assured that there is no federal or state funds in this,” Bridgeport City Attorney Mark Anastasi told the City Council on Monday when asked about the infamous airport driveway that has dominated the city’s attention in recent months. “I’ve heard nothing but the fact that no federal funds were used,” he added.

Council members could be forgiven for expecting better, and residents could be forgiven for expecting the city attorney to provide definitive answers to obvious questions.

Not long before that, the City Council, newly emboldened to do its job and ask a few questions on how city funds are being spent, wanted answers from Associate City Attorney Ronald Pacacha — answers that were not to be had. The issue was a discrepancy over how much money was required to pay for an improved senior center. The council had been told it would be $700,000, but now the price tag stood at $741,000. When asked where the money was to come from, Pacacha responded, “I’m not quite sure.”

A week before that came a jaw-dropping piece of legal advice to the city’s Board of Education courtesy of Anastasi. Faced with the possible removal of Superintendent Paul Vallas, a contingent on the school board had been seeking, reasonably, to start the long process of finding a replacement. Anastasi, though, told the board not to form a search committee because it would send a signal to the Supreme Court that the board lacks confidence in the superintendent’s position.

The Supreme Court, if it is doing its job, does not care one whit about a signal sent by the school board. It wants to know whether Vallas is legally qualified to hold his position. If it rules, as is distinctly possible, that he is not, and the district is caught flat-footed because there is no contingency plan in place, it will be in no small part because of the city attorney’s advice.”

And if that wasn’t enough, the Connecticut Post editorial then tackles that infamous “driveway deal” in which Bridgeport officials went way over the top and violated the law in their efforts to help a powerful, politically connected local developer.

The editorial paints an ugly and disturbing story that should be outraging taxpayers in the City and the state and should be of primary concern to state and local officials.

You can find the full editorial at: http://www.ctpost.com/news/article/Demand-better-from-City-Attorney-s-Office-4710463.php

As the Connecticut Post editorial concludes;

“If Bridgeport residents [and those of Connecticut] want a cleanup of problematic aspects of city government, this office [the City Attorney] is the first place to demand changes.”

Bridgeport’s Kenneth Moales Jr. goes off the deep end; passes out flyer attacking CT Post and their lead reporter

At last night’s Board of Education meeting, Kenneth Moales Jr. passed out a flyer attacking the Connecticut Post and one of their more experienced, leading reporters, Dan Trepfer.

The flyer is a stunning assault on a free and independent media and aimed at limiting the newspaper’s coverage of important events in Bridgeport and Connecticut.

Interestingly the attack was aimed exclusively on the Connecticut Post and one of its reporters despite the fact that the issues Moales is yelping about were covered earlier and in great detail here at Wait, What?  Apparently Moales does not see electronic graffiti as much of a threat as does Paul Vallas.

In the diatribe, Moales, who owns the title of head-cheerleader for Paul Vallas and is also a leading supporter of Governor Malloy and Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch, wrote that the reporter Dan Trepfer;

“…was enlisted by the working families party to stage an attack against COHS (Cathedral of the Holy Spirit) and myself (Pastor Kenneth Moales, Jr.) to cloud the issues and mobilize detractors and enemies of education reform to in some way delay or destroy much needed education reform in the city.)”

Moales’ hand-out goes on to say;

“Let it be known the Connecticut Post is not concerned about our mortgage or our occupancy.  These issues are a smoke screen.  We are not the first and not the only church with banking and contracting issues.  It is my belief that the Cathedral of the Holy Spirit and I are being attached to cloud the real issues in the City.”

Finally Moales’ concluded;

“I am asking all of our supporters to please contact the above reporter [[email protected] (203)330-6308) and ask him to focus on the real issues that are destroying the future of our children and or our city.  The Cathedral of the Holy Spirit is one of the great things happening in the city of Bridgeport.  The Cathedral of the Holy Spirit, Love Christian Academy, Kingdom’s Little Ones Daycare, Kingdom’s Little Ones Academy are not he source of the issues plaguing our district and city…It is our prayer that the Connecticut post would stop the sensationalism and focus on what is destroying our country’s future.  The Black Church is not and has never been an enemy of the State.”

The attack on the Connecticut Post reporter and the implication that balanced, fair report is somehow an affront to “The Black Church” is a new low for Moales and the pro-Vallas, pro-Finch, Pro-Malloy team.

One thing is certain.  You can add Kenneth Moales Jr. to the list of people who are working overtime to ensure that Governor Malloy is unelectable in the 2014 gubernatorial election.

If you have time today, drop a note to the Connecticut Post and urge them to keep their focus on a strong and independent media.

Key Connecticut Post personnel are:

Reporter Dan Tepfer: [email protected]

Executive Editor:  [email protected]

Deputy Managing Editor: [email protected]

News Managing Editor: [email protected]

Editorial Page Editor: [email protected]

The Moales Flyer can be found here: http://www.scribd.com/doc/155684509/Moales-Flyer

CT Post’s Hugh Bailey writes “The miracle turnaround specialist is a myth”

When it comes to revealing the truth about the education reform industry’s efforts here in Connecticut, the Connecticut Post’s Hugh Bailey has become the “shining light” of editorial writing.  His commentary pieces are accurate, perceptive and go a long way toward ensuring greater public understanding of this controversy.

In a piece on Friday, Bailey took on the concept of the “miracle turnaround specialist,” rightfully calling it a myth.  He understands that improving educational achievement requires a long-term, comprehensive approach to dealing with issues such as poverty, language barriers and the need for special education services, as well as organizational and funding issues related to our schools.

Bailey starts out by recalling that,

“In the late 1990s, Houston public schools experienced a miracle. Test scores shot up while high school dropout rates fell to unheard-of levels. In a district filled with low-income and at-risk students, the turnaround was hailed as a model for the rest of the country, and the superintendent, Rod Paige, went on to become U.S. secretary of education under George W. Bush.

As it turned out, it was all a lie. Average test scores went up because students who were likely to do poorly were not allowed to take them. Dropout rates were simply fabricated.

Rod Paige may have been a fraud, but Houston was just a precursor. Other urban school districts around the country fell under the sway of their own miracle-workers, each boasting a special turnaround plan — New York City, Washington, D.C., even Hartford. And, of course, there were Chicago, Philadelphia and New Orleans, each a former stop for Paul Vallas, recently deposed as superintendent of the Bridgeport public school system.”

Bailey goes on to explain,

“More than a decade into the nationwide school reform craze, it ought to be clear there are no saviors. There is no knight arriving on his white horse, as Mayor Bill Finch put it during a rally in Vallas’ support.

Yet this is the essence of the pro-Vallas argument. Only a superstar can save the city. Bridgeport needs its knight, and the clearly written state law should be no impediment to letting him work his magic. The post-Vallas disasters in Chicago and Philadelphia schools, which ought to say something about the durability of these efforts, apparently don’t figure into this thinking.”

And Bailey ends with,

“As for what comes next, that will depend on an appeal. But should Vallas’ ouster stand, the city will look back at a move he made last year to close a budget deficit. The state-appointed school board — which, it can’t be restated enough, was ruled illegitimate by the state Supreme Court — on June 26, 2012, accepted a $3.5 million “forgivable” loan from the state of Connecticut. One of the conditions of the loan was that the state commissioner of education, for the duration of the three-year loan, was given the right to approve finalists for a new superintendent once Vallas leaves.

If there’s one thing Bridgeport has had enough of, it’s the helping hand of Stefan Pryor.”

It is well worth the time to read Hugh Bailey’s complete piece which can be found at: http://www.ctpost.com/news/article/Hugh-Bailey-The-miracle-turnaround-specialist-is-4649167.php