Malloy political operation sidesteps Connecticut law limiting contributions from lobbyists.

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Limiting the financial influence of lobbyists was one of the most important elements of Connecticut’s post-Rowland campaign finance reforms.

In its final form, Connecticut law states that,

“…lobbyists and their immediate families may make qualifying contributions of up to $100 like any other individual, but only when the legislature is not in session.”

The law means that as candidate for Governor, Malloy could only accept checks for up to $100 from a lobbyist and COULD NOT accept any funds during the legislative session.

But that law didn’t stop Governor Malloy and his political operation from collecting well over $32,000 from Connecticut lobbyists during the past eighteen months.  More than $10,000 of those funds was collected during the legislative session, despite the complete ban on lobbyist donations during that period.

So how did Malloy’s political operation do it?

As noted previously here at Wait, What?, a gigantic loop-hole built into the campaign finance system allows the sitting governor to divert money to one of the Democratic Sate Central Committee’s campaign accounts, even during a legislative session.

This loophole allowed more than 25 of Connecticut’s top lobbyists to sidestep Connecticut law and reward Malloy’s political aspirations with contributions in excess of the $100 limit over the past year and a half.

Even Governor John Rowland’s former chief of staff, who is now a lobbyist, got in on the act by providing the Malloy political operation with a campaign contribution —- right in middle of the 2013 legislative session.

 

Saw it on the Internet so it must be true… (No, but…)

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After an email exchange earlier today, Neil Vigdor, a leading reporter for the Hearst Media Group, put up a blog post entitled, “Malloy gets “Pelto-ed” from the left?”

As the saying goes, take the story with a grain of salt.  Like much of what we read on the Internet, aspects of the story are true while other elements aren’t quite so accurate.

What the story does represent is the growing concern that many of us have about Governor Malloy’s record over the past four years and his extraordinary failure on a number of fronts.

A direct challenge, either as a Democrat or as a third-party, independent Democratic is just one of many options for those of us who truly believe that another four years of a Malloy administration would be disastrous for a variety of reasons – one of those reasons being our on-going effort to push back the corporate education reform industry and the pressing need to retake control of our public schools.

So….let me be perfectly clear, I am not a candidate for governor (at this time).

The Hearst Media Group blog post begins with the following;

Just when the denizens of Connecticut thought the debate over Common Core was caustic.

Now there’s this.

Jonathan Pelto, a relentless opponent of Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s education agenda and former state representative, is entertaining a run for the state’s highest office, Hearst Connecticut Newspapers has learned.

The 53-year-old from Storrs, who has expended significant bandwith on his “progressive” blog and on Facebook railing against Malloy, could run either as a Democrat or a third party candidate, a person familiar with Pelto’s thinking told the newspaper.

“We are looking at a variety of options,” Pelto told Hearst by email Friday afternoon.

A campaign spokesman for Malloy, who is considered by political pundits to be vulnerable in the midterm elections this November, declined to comment on the prospect of a Pelto candidacy.

On his blog, “Wait What?” Pelto penned an April 13 entry titled “the growing list of reasons to vote against Dannel “Dan” Malloy’s re-election.”

“Malloy’s “education reform” legislation has earned him the title of the most anti-teacher, anti-public education, pro-charter school Democratic governor in the nation.”

For those who enjoy the nuances associated with politics, you can read the Hearst Media Group blog post at: http://blog.ctnews.com/politics/2014/04/18/malloy-gets-pelto-ed-from-the-left/

The growing list of reasons to vote against Dannel “Dan” Malloy’s re-election

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The growing list of reasons to vote against Dannel “Dan” Malloy’s re-election

  • Malloy’s “education reform” legislation has earned him the title of the most anti-teacher, anti-public education, pro-charter school Democratic governor in the nation.  Malloy’s decision to hand Connecticut’s public education system over to Charter School advocate, now Commissioner of Education Stefan Pryor has ushered in an unprecedented attack on teachers, students, parents, local school districts and the professionalism of the State Department of Education.  As long as Pryor and his allies are running the State Department of Education, Malloy deserves to lose.
  • As if Malloy’s corporate education reform industry agenda wasn’t bad enough, the Governor and his administration has displayed the height of arrogance and dishonesty in his flip flopping about Connecticut’s inadequate school funding formula.  Although Dan Malloy ran on a platform of confronting Connecticut’s unfair and inappropriate school funding system and settling the historic CCEJF School funding lawsuit, Malloy has not only used his power to try and dismiss the vital lawsuit, but has implemented policies that place an even greater financial burden on Connecticut’s local property taxpayers when it comes to funding public schools.
  • As governor, Malloy has also instituted the largest budget cuts in state history to Connecticut’s public colleges and universities.  Malloy’s unwillingness to fund public higher education has translated into massive tuition increase, which in turn, disproportionately hurt working and middle-income families.
  • At the same time, under the guise of “shared sacrifice,” Malloy pushed through tax policies that also unfairly targeted middle income families while coddling the wealthy.  Those making more than $1 million a year saw absolutely NO INCREASE in their income tax rates while middle income families were hit with higher incomes tax rates and a reduction in their property tax credit.  Taxpayers were also confronted with a variety of new and expanded tax increases, most of which place the greatest burden on middle income families.  Malloy’s tax program also included the largest gas tax increase in Connecticut history and, incredibly, the revenues collected from that higher gas tax wasn’t even used to pay for programs to improve Connecticut’s transportation systems.
  • When it comes to the issue of economic development, Malloy’s rhetoric about creating jobs has been little more than a cover for a massive corporate welfare program that gave hundreds of millions of dollars to extremely profitable companies.  Billion dollar companies literally walked away with hundreds of millions in taxpayer funds.  Making matters worse, Malloy charged his corporate give-a-way program to the state’s credit card meaning taxpayers will not only be picking up the entire cost of those corporate welfare checks but are now going to have to pay tens of millions more in interest to pay for Malloy’s irresponsible borrowing.
  • The growth of government secrecy, the loss of public accountability, and the inappropriate role of campaign contributions donated from state contractors and lobbyists may well be the Malloy administration’s worst “accomplishment.”  As a result of Malloy successful efforts to limit the powers and resources of the State Ethics Commission, the State Freedom of Information Commission and the State Elections Enforcement Commission, and create new loopholes in Connecticut’s campaign finance laws, Malloy will go down in history as the governor who turned back the clock on openness, accountability and the public’s right to know what its elected and appointed government officials are doing.
  • Furthermore, despite running on a platform in honest budgeting, the Malloy administration has made constant use of budget gimmicks and the inappropriate use of one-time revenues.  Malloy’s failure to be honest about Connecticut’s state budgets will leave the taxpayers of Connecticut with $1 billion budget deficit in each of the three years following the election.
  • And while teachers and Connecticut’s public schools have borne the brunt of Malloy’s attacks over the past two years, few will forgot his 2011 war on state employees.  His disrespect and unfair treatment of state employees continues to this day with his unwillingness to provide agencies with adequate staffing.  While state employees stepped up and did their fair share to help solve Connecticut’s budget crisis, Malloy’s contempt has not only undermined state employees and state agencies, but has resulted in a system in which Connecticut taxpayers are paying more while getting less.

Sadly, this is but a partial list.

Feel free add or expand as warranted…

Malloy brags about his support for $10.10 minimum wage, but takes campaign money from Wal-Mart

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If you’ve been getting Dannel “Dan” Malloy’s recent campaign emails you know that the incumbent Governor is using his recent support for a higher minimum wage to raise money for his re-election campaign.

What doesn’t show up in those emails is the fact that the Malloy campaign operation accepted a $5,000 check, last October, from WAL-MART STORES INC. PAC FOR RESPONSIBLE GOVERNMENT.

The check was deposited into one of the Democratic State Central Committee’s checking account on October 9, 2013.  This is the account Malloy and his campaign are using to side-step Connecticut law that restricts candidates from accepting political action committee money if they are participating in Connecticut’s public financing system.

Taking $5,000 in blood money from the Wal-Mart PAC is in stark contrast to Malloy’s orchestrated “campaign photo op.” a few weeks ago.  As CT Mirror reported on March 26, 2014,

With partisan votes on a pocketbook issue that the White House and Connecticut Democrats hope will mobilize voters this fall, the General Assembly voted Wednesday for legislation that would raise the state’s $8.70 minimum wage to $10.10 by January 2017.

The bill, which was approved 21-14 in the Senate and 87-54 in the House, became an instant political talking point for Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and President Obama. Malloy is to sign the bill Thursday evening at Cafe Beauregard, the New Britain restaurant where Obama dined before a minimum-wage rally three weeks ago.

[…]

“I am proud that Connecticut is once again a leader on an issue of national importance. Increasing the minimum wage is not just good for workers, it’s also good for business,” said Malloy, a first-term Democrat facing re-election.

And in an email the Malloy campaign sent out yesterday, Malloy writes,

“Together, we have created new private sector jobs and we became the first state in the nation to raise the minimum wage to $10.10. The progress we’ve made for the people of Connecticut has been great, but there is more to do. We cannot afford to turn back now!

To win, we need to hit certain fundraising benchmarks and the next one is to raise $20,000 by midnight on Monday.  Your gift goes directly toward helping us qualify for public financing. Chip in $5 or more right now >>

There is still so much more work to do if we’re going to secure Connecticut’s future.

I am counting on you to help me qualify for public financing. Then the fundraising emails stop and we move on to the next phase of our campaign: grassroots organizing.

In other words, all is well… donations from Connecticut voters who support the minimum wage in one pocket, a check for $5,000 from Wal-Mart in the other.

Malloy’s double dipping campaign finance gravy train

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By participating in Connecticut’s public financing system, Governor Dannel “Dan” Malloy will receive $6,500,400 in public funds to pay for his 2014 re-election effort…. Yes, that number is Six Million, Five Hundred Thousand, Four Hundred Dollars.

As readers know, public campaign finance systems were designed to take “big money” out of politics. 

By agreeing to be part of the public finance program, candidates agreed that they would NOT ACCEPT campaign contributions from political action committees, corporations or large donors.

Following the scandal that sent former Governor John Rowland to prison, Connecticut adopted the nation’s premier campaign finance system.

However, in 2013 at the request of Governor Malloy, the Democrats in the Connecticut General Assembly intentionally undermined Connecticut’s public finance system by creating a series of loopholes that will allow Malloy to take the $6.5 million dollars in public funds yet still participate allow him to benefit from a “shadow campaign” in which millions of dollars are funneled through political committees to benefit Malloy’s re-election aspirations.

At the time, Republican State Senator Michael McLachlan and others warned their colleagues of the consequences of undermining Connecticut’s campaign system, but legislators went ahead and did Malloy’s bidding.

Malloy’s scheme to double-dip campaign funds was laid out in a What, What? post entitled, “Campaign Finance Reform Malloy Style: NU CEO says support Malloy by giving to the Connecticut Democratic Party.”

And now the fruits of Malloy’s efforts are coming to fruition.

As reported in yesterday’s Wait, What? post, “Corporate Education Reform Industry pours money into Malloy campaign operation,” Team Malloy has raised approximately $2.5 million into one of the Connecticut Democratic Party’s accounts and that doesn’t even count the money that is being laundered through other party or political action committees.

So who are writing the big checks for Malloy’s shadow campaign operation?

Here is just a partial list,

Political Action Committee Amount
Wal-Mart PAC $5,000
Bank of America PAC $5000
Comcast PAC $5,000
Dominion PAC $3,500
AT&T PAC $5,000
Cigna PAC $5,000
Praxair Inc. PAC 5,000
Webster Bank PAC $3,000
United Healthcare PAC $5,000
Travelers PAC $5,000
Phoenix Companies PAC $5,000
Xerox PAC $2,500
Walt Disney Productions PAC $5,000
JIM PAC $5,000
Coventa Energy PAC $5,000
Dominion Energy PAC $3,500
GHC Ancillary Corp PAC $3,000
Purdue Pharma PAC $5,000
Boehringer Ingelheim PAC $2,500
GE PAC $5,000
National Confectioners PAC $2,500
Pfizer PAC $5,000
Pitney Bowes PAC $3,500
WellPoint PAC $2,500
Northeast Utilities PAC $2,500
 

And the list goes on and on and on….

 

Corporate Education Reform Industry pours money into Malloy campaign operation

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Governor Dannel “Dan” Malloy is the most anti-teacher, anti-public education Democratic governor in the nation…And to see how appreciative the corporate education reform industry is, one need only look at Malloy’s campaign fundraising program which has already raised more than $100,000 from the anti-public education industry.

As a participant in Connecticut’s public financing system, candidate Malloy is only supposed to rely on the taxpayer dollars that he will receive as a qualified candidate for governor.  But thanks to a gigantic loophole in the law, the Malloy political operation has been raising money for the Connecticut Democratic State Central Committee in order to augment the millions in public funds he will get to pay his campaign expenses.

By the end of February 2014, Malloy’s fundraising program had already collected more than $2.4 million into just one of the two accounts managed by the Connecticut Democratic Party.

Not surprisingly, Malloy has turned to the corporate funded pro-charter school, anti-teacher, anti-public education forces to help him raise record amounts of money.

The infamous Democrats for Education Reform, an anti-public education political action committee based in Washington D.C., has already provided Malloy with a check for $5,000.

Jonathan Sackler and his wife have donated a total of $36,000 to Malloy’s operation in just the past six months.  Sackler is the one who helped Stefan Pryor, Malloy’s Commissioner of Education, create and expand Achievement First Inc., the large charter school management company.  Sackler was also a co-founder of the Connecticut charter school advocacy group ConnCAN and went on to create the national charter school advocacy group called 50 CAN.  When Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch tried to eliminate the democratically-elected board of education in that city, he turned to Sackler for a last-minute campaign donation of $50,000 to help pay for what proved to be his failed effort to undermine democracy.

Another nationally-recognized corporate education reform advocate to pour money into Malloy’s campaign is billionaire Stephen Mandel Jr.  Mandel, who was behind the creation of the corporate-funded education reform advocacy group, Excel Bridgeport, Inc., has already written two $10,000 checks for Malloy’s political activities.

Los Angeles, anti-public education billionaire Eli Broad has also gotten in on the act donating $8,000 to Malloy so far in this campaign cycle. Broad’s foundation is one of the three major national foundations funding the corporate education reform effort across the country.

And Sackler isn’t the only member of Achievement First Inc. and ConnCAN’s Board of Directors to have ponied up for Malloy.

To date, board members of these two Connecticut-based education reform groups have donated well in excess of $50,000 to Malloy’s political aspirations and that doesn’t even count another $50,000 that these same people dumped into another political action committee affiliated with Malloy.

So much for campaign contribution limits…and with Election Day still seven months away, we can be sure that Malloy will continue to cash in on his anti-public education agenda.

Key Bridgeport activist in battle to stop education reform industry leaves Working Families Party

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Maria Pereira, the former Bridgeport Board of Education member who fought Paul Vallas and his corporate education reform initiatives, helped lead the effort to strike down the Malloy administration’s illegal takeover of the Bridgeport Schools System, played a pivotal role in defeating Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch’s failed initiative to do away with an elected board of education and replace it with one that he would appoint, and helped run the successful campaign to strip the education reformers of their majority control of the Bridgeport Board of Education has resigned her position with the Connecticut Working Families Party State Central Committee.

Maria Pereira’s resignation is significant on a number of levels not the least of which is it highlights the problem facing some of Connecticut’s labor and progressive group leaders.

Governor Malloy’s decision to seek re-election has placed some labor leaders in an extremely difficult spot.  While Malloy has utilized a “scorched earth policy” in his attacks on public education and state employees, some labor and progressive leaders are trying to argue that their organizations should still endorse Governor Malloy despite the fact that has earned the reputation as the most anti-teacher, anti-public education Democratic Governor in the nation.

The effort to endorse Malloy won’t fly with many activists and rank and file members who have directly suffered from Malloy’s policies

In here resignation letter to the chairs of the Working Families Party, Bridgeport’s public school advocate wrote the following,

In 2009, the Working Families Party of Connecticut gave me an opportunity which I would not have been given by either major political party.  I was a parent of public school student, who had never aspired to, or been elected to public office.  I had not been politically active.

I will always be grateful to the Working Families Party for nominating me to run for a seat on the Bridgeport Board of Education.  I was elected to the Board and completed my four (4) year term.

During the course of that term, the State Board of Education, in a conspiracy orchestrated by hedge fund billionaires, the Bridgeport business community, Mayor Finch and the Governor’s Office, illegally disbanded the democratically elected Board of Education, and installed in its place, an appointed corporate dominated Board.

Along with a minority of the Board, I opposed this cabal, which was ultimately declared illegal by the Connecticut Supreme Court.  Thanks to the Rule of Law, I was returned to the Board, and completed the term to which I had been elected.  I spent my own resources on legal fees in this effort, but it was worth the effort.

Another attempt by the Mayor of Bridgeport, backed by Bridgeport’s corporate interests, sought to install an appointed Board of Education in the City of Bridgeport.  This power grab was rebuffed by the people of Bridgeport, who elected to retain their voting rights in November 2012.

As you know, the Working Families Party has never had a Bridgeport town committee with a formal organization structure, as that term is commonly understood.  Prior to the 2013 municipal election, the executive director, established, on a temporary basis a Working Families Party Committee in Bridgeport.  Following the 2013 municipal election, papers were filed dissolving that Committee.

However, notwithstanding the absence of a formal organizational structure, I was pleased when Working Families Executive Director, Lindsay Farrell, asked me to accept the ceremonial office of Chair of the Bridgeport Working Families Committee.  I deeply appreciated the gesture because I believe that the mission of the Working Families Party is to advocate for, and to speak for the people, not for the corporate and political elites.

The Working Families Party has served as a vehicle for ordinary people in the City of Bridgeport to make their voices heard and to make their votes count.  By winning seats on the Bridgeport Board of Education in two municipal elections and in a special election, the Working Families Party has served as an opposition force, which this one-party city so desperately needs.

Should you wish to establish a functioning  Working Families Party organization in the City of Bridgeport, I wish you every success.

However, because the Working Families Party has indicated its intention to support the re-election of Governor Dannel Malloy, I cannot be a part of or associated with any such effort.

I believed that with a Democrat in the Governor’s Office, for the first time in two decades, those of us who were working for better educational outcomes for public school students in our urban centers would find a supportive and encouraging governor. 

How wrong I was!

One of Governor Malloy’s first efforts was to disenfranchise the voters of Bridgeport by installing a corporate Board of Education.  By trampling upon the democratic process, Governor Malloy exhibited his disdain and contempt for the people of the City of Bridgeport and proved that he is a willing accomplice of the corporate educational establishment.

I had hoped for a governor who would work with the elected Board of Education. Instead, we were subjected to a hostile takeover, the arrogance of a corporate board, and contempt for the Rule of Law.

I believe that the hard working men and women of the City of Bridgeport are as fully capable as their counterparts in Fairfield and Stratford, of electing their own leaders.  Governor Malloy has demonstrated that he does not share this belief.

Therefore, in light of your support of the re-election of Governor Malloy, I cannot be associated with or be a part of the Working Families Party in any way.

Please consider this letter my formal resignation from the Connecticut Working Families State Committee effective immediately.

Thank you for your attention in this matter,

Maria Pereira
Bridgeport, CT

In response to Maria Pereira’s letter the Working Families Party put out a press statement saying,

Maria cites the upcoming gubernatorial election as a reason for her break with the party. The Working Families Party has a rigorous and democratic process for choosing our nominees, and there is lively debate within the Working Families Party about the best choice for us this year. But the party has not made any endorsement yet and any speculation that we have a candidate selected in advance is simply false.

The Working Families Party looks at the records of all the candidates, regardless of political party, and endorses the one who will stand up for working-class, middle-class and poor families. The process starts with an extensive questionnaire on topics ranging from the right to organize a union in the workplace, to fair wages and benefits, to protecting public education. This year, the Working Families Party will also hold a candidates’ forum for our members to hear from and publicly question candidates seeking our endorsement. Our leadership and members will also hold interviews with interested candidates. Only after all of this will the state committee officially decide whether or not to endorse a candidate for Governor, and which.

As has always been the case, the Working Families Party will endorse the candidate who will be the most effective advocate for policies that benefit hardworking families across the state. We’ve always been clear about our values. On some issues, like education, we have disagreed with the Governor. On others, like paid sick days, organizing rights, and the minimum wage, we have aligned with him. There will be extensive discussion and debate as the Working Families Party decides how to proceed with our endorsements.

The Working Families Party response is a hopeful sign that the labor and progressive oriented organization intends to take their endorsement process seriously, the truth will become apparent in the coming months when Governor Malloy tries to explain why he deserve support from those that he has trampled in his on-going effort to undermine the rights of teachers, state employees and other community based union, liberal and progressive groups and their members and supporters.

Will State Board of Education over look conflicts of interest to approve more charter schools

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While Governor Dannel “Dan” Malloy’s budget fails to properly fund public schools in Connecticut it does provide for an increase in the number of privately run charter schools.

This Wednesday, April 2, 2014, the Connecticut State Board of Education will meet to consider applications for new charter schools in Connecticut.

The list of applicants includes,

  • Steve Perry’s Capital Prep Harbor School (Bridgeport) – See Application [PDF] 
  • Jumoke Academy Michael Sharpe’s Booker T. Washington Academy (New Haven) – See Application [PDF]
  • Stamford Charter School for Excellence (Stamford) – See Application [PDF] 
  • Great Oaks Charter School  (Bridgeport) – See Application [PDF]

Morgan Barth, an aide to Education Commissioner Stefan Pryor is the individual who is responsible for the State Department of Education Charter School review process and will be leading the discussion during the State Board of Education’s agenda item entitled, “Consideration of Charter School Applications.”

What isn’t clear is whether the members of the State Board of Education understand, appreciate or have even been informed about the significant conflicts of interest that exist with some of these applicants.

One of the leading applications for approval at Wednesday’s State Board of Education meeting is a new publicly funded charter school that is being proposed by Steve Perry.

As readers know, Steve Perry currently serves as the principal of Capital Prep Magnet School, a public school within the Hartford School System.

While failing to show up for his public school job  more than 20 percent of the time, Perry spent his time creating his own private company called Capital Preparatory Schools Incorporated.

It is that private company that is now trying to open a new charter school in Bridgeport.

According to Perry’s application, the “founding members” of his charter school are all full-time employees of Capital Prep Magnet School in Hartford although the application doesn’t explain how Perry and the other full-time employees of the City of Hartford will have the time to open and run a privately owned charter school in Bridgeport.

Leading Perry’s proposed “governing board” are Bridgeport’s Reverend Kenneth M. Moales, Jr. (Cathedral of the Holy Spirit and Love Christian Academy), Pastor Carl McCluster (Shiloh Baptist Church), and Reverend William McCollough  (Russell Temple CME Church).

Moales, of course, is the campaign treasurer for Mayor Bill Finch, the disgraced former Chairman of the Bridgeport Board of Education and a member of the illegally appointed Board Education that was struck down and disbanded by the Connecticut Supreme Court.

Kenneth Moales was originally appointed to Bridgeport’s illegal Board of Education by the Malloy administration’s Commissioner of Education and the State Board of Education.

Perry’s application includes a letter of support from Mayor Bill Finch and Finch has been lobbying for the approval of Perry’s charter school.

The other primary proponent for Perry’s new school is Excel Bridgeport, Inc., the corporate funded education reform lobbying group that was created by Meghan Lowney and Nate Snow.

Snow serves as the director of the Connecticut Chapter of Teach for America and Lowney works for Steve Mandel, the billionaire corporate education reform industry leader who is also one of Governor Malloy’s biggest campaign contributors.

Nate Snow also serves as the Chairman of Excel Bridgeport Inc. and has worked closely with Pryor, Barth and senior staff at the State Department of Education to expand the TFA’s reach into Connecticut;s urban school districts.

However, the conflicts of interest and the perceived conflicts of interest associated with Steve Perry’s charter school and the other charter school applications go well beyond the information above.

Although it fails to show up in any of the documents associated with Steve Perry’s application, before becoming Pryor’s aide at the State Department of Education, Morgan Barth served as the principal for Achievement First Inc.’s Bridgeport Academy, another charter school in Bridgeport.

At the same time Morgan Barth also served on Excel Bridgeport Inc.’s Board of Directors.  Barth quietly resigned last year.

As part of its pro-charter school lobbing effort, Excel Bridgeport Inc. even featured its board member on their website:  See Excel Bridgeport Board Member Morgan Barth tonight on your TV.

During Barth’s tenure as a member of Excel Bridgeport’s Board of Directors, the corporate funded education lobbying group led the charge in favor of Mayor Bill Finch’s efforts to do away with Bridgeport’s elected Board of Education and replace it with one appointed by Finch.  Excel Bridgeport Inc. also lobbied extensively in support of Paul Vallas, Board Chairman Kenneth Moales, Jr. and the expansion of charter schools in Bridgeport, including the very charter school that Barth was running.

As Excel Bridgeport wrote at the time, “ It’s amazing how high expectations can change the life path of a child. Keep up the good work AFBA!” [Achievement First Bridgeport Academy].

But Barth’s connection with charter schools and the expansion of charter schools goes well beyond his direct connection with those pushing Steve Perry’s Bridgeport charter school proposal.

Barth worked for Commissioner Stefan Pryor’s charter school management company, Achievement First, Inc., for more than a decade before becoming the Director of Pryor’s Office of School Turnaround.

For at least six of those years Barth taught illegally at Achievement First, Inc.

Despite repeated warnings from the State Department of Education that Barth was not certified and could not legally work in a Connecticut public school, Barth continued to teach and serve as an administrator for Achievement First, Inc.

Fortunately for Barth and Pryor in 2010 the Connecticut General Assembly changed the law and allowed charter schools to have up to 30 percent of their staff un-certified.  Barth was one of those un-certified individuals who continued to work for Achievement First, Inc. until he joined Pryor at the State Department of Education.

In addition to those issues, the complex interrelationships between Commissioner Stefan Pryor, Morgan Barth, Steve Perry, Michael Sharpe (Sharpe’s application to open the New Haven Booker T. Washington Charter School is also up for a vote on Wednesday) and other charter school proponents is extensive and far-reaching.

Just last month, Stefan Pryor, Steve Perry and Michael Sharpe were part of the Love Christian Academy’s annual education conference.  The conference is sponsored by none-other-than Kenneth Moales and held at Moales’ church in Bridgeport.

While Moales was unsuccessful in trying to get approval to turn his private religious school into an all-boys publicly funded charter school last year he has, as noted, returned this year as the founding member of the “Governing Board” that will oversee Steve Perry’s new Bridgeport Charter Schools.

The advertising for last month’s conference read, “This year’s theme is educational leadership and will feature Rev. Al Sharpton, Capital Prep’s Founder Steve Perry and State Commissioner of Education Stefan Pryor.”

One of the highlights of the conference was advertised as the parent workshops put on by Excel Bridgeport, Inc. the very group that is now advocating for Perry’s new school and the group that had Morgan Barth as one of its Directors.

Further blurring the lines, Steve Perry’s Hartford lawyer has recently become Kenneth Moales’ attorney as Moales tries to fight off a foreclosure action that seeks to take his church, home and cars for his failure to pay his mortgages.

And back in Hartford, after spending nearly four years pushing his corporate education reform industry agenda, Governor Malloy has decided to seek re-election and is now trying to persuade teachers, parents and public school advocates that he is going to transform himself into a supporter of public schools.

But the truth paints a very different picture.

When the State Board of Education meets this week to consider diverting even more taxpayer funds to charter schools the public will see, yet again, why Malloy is considered the most anti-teacher, anti-public education Democratic governor in the  nation.

Malloy says he is running – But he can’t win – Nor should he

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Earlier today Governor Dannel Malloy sent out an email saying that he was announcing that he would be seeking re-election this year. (see email below).

But as public opinion research has consistently shown, Malloy has alienated significant Democratic constituencies and implemented policies that will make it impossible for him to garner the support of many Democrats and unaffiliated voters.

For starters, Governor Malloy pushed through the most anti-teacher, anti-union, anti-public education bill of any Democratic governor in the nation.

In addition, his ongoing attempt to dismiss and undermine the critically important CCJEF school funding lawsuit is a permanent stain on his tenure as governor.

Malloy’s unwavering commitment to the Common Core, the absurd Common Core testing scheme and the unfair and inappropriate teacher evaluation system has rightfully earned him the ridicule of parents, teachers and public education advocates across the state.

The Malloy administration’s concerted effort to mislead parents into thinking that they lacked the right to opt their children out of the Common Core Smarter Balanced Assessment Field Test of a test is just the latest example of his lack of respect for the rights of parents and the importance of local control of public education.

The fact is, as long as Stefan Pryor, an apologist and advocate or the corporate education reform industry remains in charge of the State Department of Education, Malloy will lose in November.

But Malloy’s failures go well beyond his education policies.

Malloy’s irresponsible budget policies, including the widespread use of budget gimmicks and the inappropriate use of one-time revenues, has ensured that Connecticut will face massive budget deficits in the three years following this year’s gubernatorial election.

Meanwhile, few will forget that Malloy’s $1.5 billion dollar tax increase disproportionately hit the middle class.  While tens of thousands of Connecticut families faced higher Connecticut income tax rates, along with higher local property taxes, Malloy has consistently coddled the super rich by failing to increase the income tax rate on those making more than $1 million.

Connecticut’s middle income families are being squeezed out of existence while Connecticut’s most wealthy residents are laughing all the way to the bank.

Malloy’s claim that there were no new taxes in his most recent budgets is nothing short of an out and out lie considering Connecticut residents were hit with the largest gas tax hike in state history and the expansion of a variety of other taxes and fees.

Also, as students and families across Connecticut know, Malloy’s record breaking cuts to Connecticut’s public colleges and universities have meant unprecedented tuition and fee increases that have burdened many families with additional debt and pushed the cost of a college education beyond the reach of many students.

And every rank and file state employee understands that Malloy successfully made them the scapegoat for his budget problems and that his policy of increasing insurance costs effectively cut employee pay while the state postponed paying its fair share into the new health insurance fund.

Of course, the state’s remaining employees also recognize that Malloy’s unwillingness to fill key state positions has led to chaos in many state agencies.

At the same time Malloy’s so-called “economic development policies” have been nothing short of a corporate welfare program in which hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars was given away to extraordinarily profitable companies.

Adding insult to injury, Malloy put those irresponsible corporate welfare payments on the state credit card meaning taxpayers will have to pay even more so that multi-million dollar corporations could gobble up Malloy’s give-a-way programs.

If all of those policies failures weren’t offensive enough, Malloy has significantly undermined Connecticut’s  laws and programs that were designed to promote transparency, ethics and the public’s right to government information.

Thanks to Malloy, more and more government activities are going on behind closed doors.

And the list of Malloy’s failures goes on and on.

The voters of Connecticut deserve better and they certainly deserve alternative choices to another four years of Governor Dannel Malloy at the helm.

Over the coming weeks we here at Wait, What? will continue to explore what options voters have to find a candidate who is committed to putting Connecticut back on track – to have a candidate who actually deserves to be Connecticut’s next governor.

For the record, here is the email Malloy sent out earlier today.

As readers will note, perhaps the most incredible development of all is that with Election Day now six months away, Governor Malloy is reverting back to calling himself Dan rather than Dannel.

It is a sure sign that Malloy’s political handlers will try to convince Connecticut voters that the Governor known as Dannel Malloy is stepping back into the shadows where he can transform himself back into Dan Malloy, the candidate who claimed to be a “man-of-the-people.”

Malloy’s email:

I’m in. I just announced that I’m running for reelection and wanted to make sure you heard the news from me right away. This campaign will be about you and the work we’ve done together over the last three years. But it’s mainly about what we still need to accomplish together in Connecticut.

Will you join my campaign to keep Connecticut moving forward by visiting my new website right now?

When I was a boy, my mother always told me that we have an obligation to leave this world a better place for having lived in it. Those words are burned into my memory. But as a kid who couldn’t even tie his own shoelaces because of some disabilities I was born with, I sometimes wondered what kind of future I’d have. I dreamed of the chance to help others the way my mother and my teachers helped me.

I fought my whole life to have the privilege to serve my community, my city, and my state. It’s how I live my mother’s words each day. I never would have made it to where I am today without the inspiration and help of so many – my parents, my wife Cathy, my family, teachers, friends and supporters – to overcome obstacles and take on the challenges that truly make a difference in people’s lives.

Connecticut has been through so much these last three years, but every time we’ve faced a challenge we’ve stepped up, and together, we’ve overcome every single one. We’ve given small businesses the help they need to grow and create good jobs, turned the worst deficit in the nation into a balanced budget, reduced the state’s long-term debt by billions, and made Connecticut the first state in the nation to increase the minimum wage to $10.10 per hour.

We’ve made a lot of progress since 2011, but I’m not satisfied. We have more work to do. Today, I’m asking for your help because you will drive this campaign. Its success depends on you.

Can I count on you to make a contribution to help move this campaign forward?

My focus right now is on the legislative agenda we’ve put forward for our state’s future; that’s why this campaign will be built by you. There’s so much more I want to share with you, and I will in the coming days and weeks. Right now I humbly ask for your support so we can continue the work to leave this world – this state – a better place for having lived in it.

Thank you,

Dan

P.S. Can you click here to visit my website today?

Paid for by Dan Malloy for Connecticut. Len Miller, Treasurer. Approved by Dan Malloy.

A Big NO to Malloy’s re-election prospects from Wait, What? Readers

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Wait What? readership has been increasing significantly over the past year.  The number of visits have reached as high as 10,000 a day with a total of 27,000 visits over a recent weekend.

Daily posts are reaching thousands of readers.

Earlier this month Wait, What? readers were asked to participate in an online Gubernatorial Election 2014 Readers Survey.

Readers made their disdain for Governor Malloy clear and revealed overwhelming support should a Democrat run as an independent candidate in this year’s election for governor.

According to the survey,

  • 84% say that it is time for someone new to run the state 
  • In a head to head race with a Republican candidate, only 13% report that they would vote for Malloy and 46% said they would vote for the Republican candidate.  One in five voters said they would not vote for either candidate and another one in five said they were unsure or undecided. 
  • In a three-way race between Malloy, a Republican and a Democratic running as an independent,  65% said they’d vote for the independent Democrat, 15% would vote for the Republican and only 7% would vote for Malloy. 
  • Survey respondents also reported overwhelming support for the notion of a Democrat running as an independent.  A total of eight in ten survey participants said they supported the idea of an independent Democrat running in this year’s gubernatorial election. 

The questions and survey responses were as follows,  

QUESTION 1:

Tuesday, November 4th, 2014 is Election Day in Connecticut and voters will have the opportunity to cast their vote for candidates seeking the office of governor. All things considered, do you think Governor Dannel Malloy should be re-elected or is it time for someone new to lead that state?

Re-elect the Governor Dannel Malloy 8%
   
Time for someone new to run the state 84%
   
Don’t know/Undecided 8%

 

QUESTION 2:

If Connecticut’s 2014 election for governor were held today and the choices were Governor Dannel Malloy and one of the Republican candidates that are seeking the Republican nomination; Would you vote for Governor Malloy, the Republican candidate, are you unsure/undecided or would you not vote in the race for governor?

Would vote for Governor Malloy 13%
   
Would vote for the Republican candidate 46%
   
Unsure/Undecided 22%
   
Would not cast a vote for governor 19%

 

QUESTION 3:

If Connecticut’s 2014 election for governor were held today and the choices were Governor Dannel Malloy, one of the Republican candidates that are seeking the Republican nomination and a Democratic running as an independent candidate who was pro-public education, pro-transparency and pro-fiscal responsibility; Would you vote for Malloy, the Republican candidate, the independent Democratic candidate, are you unsure/undecided or would you not vote in the race for governor?

Would vote for Governor Malloy 7%
   
Would vote for the Republican Candidate 15%
   
Would vote for the independent Democratic candidate 65%
   
Unsure/Undecided 12%
   
Would not cast a vote for governor 1%

 

QUESTION 4:

Many politicians and political pundits would say that an independent Democratic candidate can’t win a state-wide race for governor and would only serve as a “spoiler” and ensure that the Republican candidate for governor would win. Others would point out that independent candidates for governor have won gubernatorial races including Lowell Weicker here in Connecticut. Taking these arguments into consideration, would you say that you strongly support the idea of an independent Democratic candidate running this year, somewhat support the idea, somewhat oppose the idea or strongly oppose the idea of an independent Democratic candidate running for governor in 2014.

 

Strongly Support 61%
   
Somewhat Support 20%
   
Somewhat Oppose 5%
   
Strongly Oppose 8%
   
Don’t know/Unsure 6%

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