VISION

We are building Beloved Bridgeport.

When you care about where you live, you build community. In Bridgeport, we are a diverse people with a long history of caring for our families and neighborhoods. Our connections to one another are long and strong. We love the Park City and want our children to have a good education, safe streets, affordable housing, a police department that respects us, and a thriving democracy and economy that delivers for our people.

Foundational to building Beloved Bridgeport is an electoral process and city government that is fully responsive to and empowering of its people.

To get us there, the Unrig Bridgeport Coalition commits to advancing the following policy proposals, which are centered around four key pillars: Justice and Equity, Pro-Democracy, Anti-Corruption, and Good Government. All candidates running for public office in Bridgeport are asked to join us in pledging to do the same.

By pledging to The People’s Platform in this municipal election, City Council candidates and voters commit to policies and best practices that uphold democracy – and free us from systemic corruption and political patronage.

The time is now to get this right. Together, we can #UnrigBridgeport and build a more just, equitable, and livable city for all.

THE ISSUES

Justice and Equity

We envision a city free from systemic racism and injustice – and one that advances anti-racist and pro-justice policies and governance.

Economic Justice

American Rescue Plan Funds: Utilize the majority of the city’s $110 million ARP funds to invest in youth employment, youth services, citywide broadband internet, and sewer system upgrades.

Living Wage: Fight for a living wage, with built-in annual cost-of-living adjustments, for all city employees (including full-time, part-time and seasonal workers) and require all companies with city contracts to do the same.

Education Budget Increase: Fight for city and education budgets that adequately support the educational needs of black, brown, and indigenous students – including a minimum $6 million increase per year for the next two years as the city’s commitment towards fully funding Bridgeport Public Schools.

Racial Justice

Racial Equity Study: Support the city’s forthcoming Racial Equity Study; commit to making this data public and easily accessible; and participate in City Council committee hearings on its findings and implementation.

Anti-Racist Training: Require and fund anti-racist and cultural competency training for all city department heads, senior managers, and elected officials – and consult with Bridgeport Generation Now and other community organizations when designing bids and selecting vendors.

City Reparations Fund: Support and fund a city-commissioned study that examines the establishment of a City Reparations Fund for African-American residents who live in Bridgeport and can trace their ancestry back to slavery.

Public Safety and Police Accountability

Public Safety is Public Health: Continued divestment from the police budget and into services that address the root causes of violence such as mental health, addiction treatment, education, affordable housing, employment opportunities with livable wages, and safety for immigrant communities.

Gun Violence Prevention: Find funding opportunities and other ways to support existing, evidence-based violence interruption programs to improve their capacity, efficacy, and data collection.

Bridgeport Police Commission: Strengthen access to and oversight of the Bridgeport Police Commission by enabling citizen complaints of police misconduct to be filed anonymously and electronically; by requiring that all complaints are simultaneously sent to the Police Commission (instead of just the Bridgeport Police Department Office of Internal Affairs); and by requiring that the Bridgeport Police Department update the Bridgeport Police Commission on all disciplinary actions taken with its officers.

Police Contract Reform: Support an open and transparent process for the city’s upcoming police contract negotiations and fight for a final contract that includes Bridgeport Generation Now’s “ABC” contract demands.

Good Government

We envision a city government that is open, accountable, and welcoming of civic engagement and participation by the people.

Open Government

City Calendar: Pass an ordinance requiring the city calendar to be prominently featured on the city’s website; updated in a timely fashion; and that calendar events have url links to the relevant agendas, documents, and materials.

Public Notification: Pass an ordinance creating a proactive notification system (similar to the Connecticut General Assembly) whereby people can sign-up to receive timely public notices and alerts (via email and text) about public meetings, agendas, and legislation as well as other important government actions;

Live Stream Public Meetings: Pass an ordinance requiring the live streaming of and on-demand access to public meetings (similar to CT-N), including but not limited to: city council meetings, city council committee meetings, board and commission meetings, and public hearings;

Town Halls: Commit to hosting at least two town hall meetings per year with constituents.

City Contract Reform: Support a more proactive and robust notification process for the public listing, bidding and awarding of city contracts, and increase staffing at the Small and Minority Business Enterprise office to support additional outreach and engagement to minority and women-owned businesses.

Open Budgets

Real-Time Updates: Pass an ordinance to improve the city’s Open Budget platform by requiring real-time updates of city expenditures, payroll, and contracts, so that residents have more visibility into how their tax dollars are spent.

End-of-Year Reconciliation: Pass an ordinance requiring a publicly released end-of-year budget document that compares the original budget that was adopted with the actual budget that was spent.

Empowered City Council

Restore the Bridgeport City Council to its rightful place as an independent branch of city government to counterbalance the mayor through the following actions:

Council Leadership: Support a revision to the city charter establishing the president of the City Council as the chair and leader of the legislative body, not the mayor.

Council Staffing: Pass an ordinance to staff the body at-large with an independent legal counsel, parliamentarian, budget director, and communications director – as well as one district director for each council district (or one part-time staffer per council member).

Fully Seated and Functioning Boards and Commissions

Improve the application and appointment process: Offer an online application process and streamline the application review and nomination process so that appointments are considered within 30 days of submission.

Charter Revision Commission

Support the establishment of a Charter Revision Commission in 2022 to consider proposals and changes to Bridgeport’s city charter.

Anti-Corruption

We envision a city that has an electoral process and government free from political corruption, patronage, and undue influence by machine politics, big money and outside interests.

Election Oversight

Election Monitor: Support the work and oversight of Bridgeport’s independent election monitor, and provide full cooperation throughout the 2021 municipal election.

Public Financing of Municipal Elections

Public Financing Study: Support and fund a city-commissioned study that examines the creation of a public financing system for municipal elections that incentivizes small-dollar local donations, including a review of different models (ex. New Haven Democracy Fund, SEEC Citizens’ Election Program, Seattle Democracy Voucher Program) and recommend an approach for Bridgeport.

Ethics Reform

No Party Positions: Support a clear line of separation between political party officials and publicly elected officials by having candidates and elected officials voluntarily step down from any positions held on their local Democratic or Republican Town Committee.

End Political Patronage

Open and Ethical Hiring Process: Support an open, transparent, and merit-based search and hiring process for all department heads, including ample opportunity for public input.

No Patronage: Pledge not use your elected position to influence or to unduly secure political favors, government jobs or city contracts for yourself, your family members or relatives.

Fiscal Watchdog

Commit to exercise due diligence and proper review of all city budgets, contracts, and leases that come before the City Council and guard against waste, fraud, and abuse.

Pro-Democracy

We envision a city where voting is easy, equitable, and inclusive; every eligible voter participates; and elections are free, fair, and secure from fraud and abuse.

Voting Rights and Participation

Early Voting and No-Excuse Absentee Ballots: Pledge support for the ongoing Early Voting and No-Excuse Absentee Ballot Voting state legislative initiatives and forthcoming statewide referendums, which will level the playing field and take power out of the hands of political insiders and operatives.

Absentee Ballot Education and Reform

Education and Training: Commit to informing voters, campaign staff, and volunteers on the proper use of and eligibility for absentee ballots.

Compliance: Adhere to all relevant guidance from the Connecticut Secretary of the State, and abide by all relevant local, state, and federal election laws, including not giving or accepting compensation solely for distributing absentee ballot applications.

The UNRIG BRIDGEPORT COALITION is made of the following partner organizations and individuals:

Organizations: Bridgeport Generation Now Votes, Bridgeport Strong, Connecticut Citizen Action Group, The Greater Bridgeport NAACP, Greater Bridgeport Ed Gomes Black Democratic Club, Make The Road CT Action, PT Partners, SEIU 1199 New England, The Working Families Party – Bridgeport, The Working Families Party – CT

Individuals: Kelvin Ayala (Bridgeport Resident), Donna Curran (Former City Council Representative and Democratic Town Committee member), David Daniels (Bridgeport Resident), Joe Luciano (Bridgeport Resident), Ron Bailey (Retired Bridgeport Police Officer), and Pete Spain (Former City Council Representative)

Key Dates

  • September 14, 2021
    PRIMARY DAY!
  • November 2, 2021
    ELECTION DAY!