Mayor Sails To Victory; A Green Wins, Too
(Updated 10:44 p.m.) Mayor John DeStefano sailed to a record-tying eighth two-year term Tuesday night. But grassroots dissatisfaction with his regime registered in two close aldermanic challenges to two of his loyalists — including an upset by the Green Party’s Allan Brison (in top photo) in East Rock’s 10th Ward. Westville’s incumbent Alderwoman Ina Silverman (at left in second photo), meanwhile, beat first-time challenger Tom Malone, a Republican, 648-484 on the machines.
(That means the tally doesn’t include absentee ballots.)
Both aldermanic elections — the only two truly contested ones in the 30-ward city — were closer than expected. Both pitted critics of the DeStefano administration against loyalists backed by the citywide Democratic machine.
Malone’s forces were vastly outmatched, both in numbers and expertise, by the citywide operation that worked Westville’s Ward 25 Tuesday. Malone ran a campaign centered on criticism of the Democratic Party for supporting tax increases and not independently challenging City Hall.
“I assume so,” Malone, asked if he would run again in two years, said at the Edgewood School polling place after the results came in. “It’s a job I want.”
The big story of the night was Brison’s 386-283 victory in Ward 10, which incorporates much of the East Rock neighborhood. The ward also encompasses the isolated Cedar Hill section, whose neighbors’ complaints of being ignored by city government resonated during the campaign.
“Halleleujah!” the Green Party’s local leader, Charlie Pillsbury, called out at an intimate victory party at his St. Ronan Street house. Besides Brison’s victory, the party was celebrating the election of a first selectman in the Connecticut town of Windham.
“I’ll be screaming for Cedar Hill” to get more attention from the city, Brison declared.
Savoring his victory Tuesday night, he said, “It’s the first time a Green candidate has unseated a well-entrenched incumbent Democrat with all of the support of the mayor and City Hall. I not only beat him, but I beat him soundly! It shows ther might be a weakness in the machine.”
Brison (pictured with daughter Rebecca) added that if the next term sees a rematch in the race for board president, he will support Jorge Perez over Carl Goldfield. (Goldfield narrowly defeated Perez this past term.)
The 30-member Board of Aldermen will now have 28 Democrats, 1 Green and 1 Republican. This is a similar situation to the one that followed the 2001 election, when the Greens and Republicans had two aldermen each. They battled over which counted as the “minority party” until then-Board President Jorge Perez worked out a compromise. (The issues at stake concerned who got to deliver the minority “state of the city” address and who got to sit on which committee.)
Other results Tuesday night (based on machine results): Republican Arlene DePino held onto her aldermanic seat in Morris Cove’s Ward 18, defeating Democratic challenger Larry Morico 556-370. Downtown Alderwoman Bitsie Clark, a Democrat, beat Green Daniel Sumrall 200 to 42.
In The History Books
By crushing his two opponents, who ran symbolic campaigns, Mayor DeStefano will become the second mayor to serve eight two-year terms by popular election. (That assumes he’ll serve out the term, which he said he has every intention of doing.) He joins Mayor Dick Lee in the history books; Lee served from 1954-1970.
The reason for all the qualifiers for the historical achievement: in the early 1800s Elijah Goodrich served as mayor for 18 years. But he was elected once, by a limited electorate, then merely reappointed each year by the General Assembly.
(Click here to read a story about that.)
DeStefano’s challengers, Republican Rick Elser and Green Ralph Ferrucci, never developed citywide organizations. They failed to raise even the minimum 200 contributions of $25 apiece required to qualify for public matching funds. They ran to give voters a choice in a year marked by a police scandal, outrage over the decline of community policing, and anger over rising taxes. There was also lingering sentiment that DeStefano had neglected the city during the last two years of his run for governor, and that his fellow Democrats on the Board of Aldermen had failed to offer the public independent scrutiny of the administration.
Those sentiments Tuesday spilled out not in the mayoral race but in the two aldermanic challenges.
At a party at the Playwright, Mayor DeStefano (pictured) declared victory with 71 percent of the vote, with 23 of 30 wards reporting. He called the victory a “special day.” He rejected the notion that the aldermanic results reflected on his own record. “The aldermanic races resulted in who worked the hardest,” DeStefano said. They were more “candidate-specific” than a reflection of the mayoral votes. Allan Brison “adds another voice” to the board — “another voice never hurts.”
Democratic Town Chairwoman Susie Voigt said she was “very, very disappointed” about Ed Mattison’s loss. “Ed’s a real New Havener” and has done a lot of good work, including being “a champion for the homeless,” she said.
Republican candidate H. Richter Elser took the results on his black cellphone in the downtown bar that bears his name. (Richters — he founded it but no longer runs it.)
Sitting at a table by a fireplace at the back of the dining area, Elser looked tired as the results came in. “With the resources we had available, we ran a good race,” he said, sitting alone. “The end goal was to have a presence.”
Meanwhile, fellow Republican Tom Malone was celebrating at Delaney’s in Westville center. Close to 20 supporters were on hand. Yes, they were celebrating; they saw their showing as a victory, even if Malone didn’t win the 25th Ward seat.
Malone, 38, called the results a “moral victory” since he moved to New Haven only in March and started his race, from scratch, a few months ago. “I think we did an amazing job of building a base of support. The concern of the people in this neighborhood showed in the results.”
Melissa Bailey, Paul Bass and Leonard J. Honeyman reported this story.
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Weren't the folks in Cedar Hill told by their incumbent alderman that they weren't going to get much attention until they got politically organized? Hmmm, looks like they got politically organized. Congrats.
Posted by: New Haven Tea Party | November 6, 2007 9:39 PM
Congratulations to Malone. You ran a good campaign. Maybe after another two years of runaway spending and huge property tax increases by Ina and her rubberstamping compadres...the voters in the 25th will wake up and pay attention to what's happening in the city.
Posted by: jms | November 6, 2007 10:14 PM
New Haven Tea Party,
I read today that for the first time in (I think it was) 48 years the US dollar was valued lower then the Canadian dollar. Isn't that amazing? Maybe after 8 years under Bush Americans will wake up and pay attention to what's happening in the country.
(phonetic spelling of raspberry)
Posted by: bugupit | November 6, 2007 10:57 PM
Hail Hail the Oligarchs!
Leaving work today I tuned into Colin McEnroe. Election talk. I did not bother to exercise my right and responsibility to vote in New Haven today. Incumbent, Incumbent, Incumbent. What's the use? Not even a Primary this year. I felt justified, "Oligarchy" I thought, like Putin in Russia. Then NHI's Paul Bass came on the air. Paul, I think Bill Curry might be just a little sensitive, hmmm. Thanks for reading my mind. Paul says something like "Well, in New Haven there wasn't really an interesting race for Mayor, its kind of a Russian form of Democracy." Rise UP, we Donkey Masses! In about 20 months, all thirty Ward Committees should be asked to consider challenges by good Dems, newcomers to office, who pledge to run for Alderman. Why not have ten Greens and five Repubs clamoring onto the November ballot. Any of them, but especially Dems if victorious, must work for the good of their constituents and all NH taxpayers, not what's good for the Mayor, the Party Chair and the Town Committee -- the Oligarchs!
Posted by: zach m | November 7, 2007 12:09 AM
Yay for Ward 1's Rachel Plattus.
From today's Yale Daily News endorsement:
"Plattus will be a fantastic, and friendly, representative of the University and its students. In fact, nothing should stop her from striving to be the best Ward 1 alderperson in recent New Haven history."
Posted by: westvillecharlie | November 7, 2007 12:31 AM
Can one of the town employees who were stationed at Edgewood school this afternoon please explain to me both how it was legally and morally acceptable for them to be taking off either a paid vacation day or paid afternoon off to help turn out the vote for mayor destefano, who likely gave many of them jobs and or promotions? i'm disgusted. ina won the vote, but has lost my trust forever for allowing those paid city employees guilt people into voting for this man. i will spend the next two years seeking a viable candidate. i feel both bullied and disgusted.
Posted by: king james v | November 7, 2007 12:50 AM
Why, how, why. All of us - hispanic, black, white, asian, gay, straight, men, women, hell even my dog - we know the inherient evilness of this guy, and the fact that this is "plan B" at best for him. how did this happen. I didn't vote for the guy, did anyone? and please - if he didnt' get you or a family member ajob - tell me why?
He left us to persue a job he knew he'd loose, he has made no verbal committment to stay and he never shows up for more than 5 minutes for anything.
Please explain in detatil why he deserved to win, and who voted for him.
p.s. the hamburger and pizza debates are the only things i've ever agreed with him on.
Posted by: Chris Gray | November 7, 2007 2:32 AM
Congratulations to Malone on a good race and, especially Brison and the Green Party on his win!
Making any headway in this one-party town is always difficult.
Even Ferrucci seems to have added a couple of percentage points from his run as the Guilty Party and between he, Elser and Roger Uihlein, they garnered nearly a third of the votes.
Sadder still for the city is that the little more than 10,000 that did vote is a mere fifth of the registered voters.
Back in '85, then-Green Mayoral candidate Rick Wolfe used to say, "Count the political yard signs, now compare that with the number of 'for sale' signs. Who is winning."
With the 10th Ward back in Green hands, I hope the Party won't just leave Brison "screaming for Cedar Hill" (love that name, it was my phone exchange, when I was a wee one) but allow him to sponsor measures addressing the challenges the city faces which are never addressed by the administration or its machine surrogates on the Board of Alders.
Also, again I suggest that the Greens individually and collectively address challeges that need not be only handled by government, so that they have records of accomplishment that they can trumpet, along with their issues and campaign slogans.
By the way, Ward 17 poll workers, I do not eat Spaghetti-Os, even if I make you say "uh-oh" just to see me. And, Mr. Paollilo, 75 feet means 75 feet.
Posted by: Roca Del Este | November 7, 2007 6:55 AM
Congratulations Bill Brison!
Your campaign proposals sound good:
Mismanagement and Political Patronage: The New Haven Board of Education is a source of mismanagement and political patronage. While Public Education deserves out utmost support, we as citizens and residents need to know that our tax money is being well spent.
MY PROPOSALS TO ADDRESS THESE ISSUES.
1. Amend the New Haven City Charter to provide for an elected Board of Education.
Of 169 Connecticut municipalities, only three have an unelected Board of Education appointed by the Mayor. New Haven is one of these three. The appointed board is accountable only to the Mayor, and serves at his discretion. It is unlikely to raise serious challenges on the issues of patronage, mismanagement and budget transparency. An elected board will be more responsive to citizens' demands for oversight and transparency.
2. Hire enough teachers to reduce classroom size for grades K-3.
Landmark research in Tennessee has shown that reducing classroom size has dramatic effects in all three types of school districts: urban, suburban, and rural.
Reducing class size in the early years greatly improves student preparedness for rigorous High School programs later on.
To accomplish this we need more classroom teachers. We can afford to do this if we change the ratio of administrators to support teachers to regular classroom teachers.
At present 20% of the professional staff are administrative; another 20% are support teachers who pull students out of regular classes in order to give individual help in reading, math, and speech, etc.; and only 60% are classroom teachers.
We need to convert many of the highly paid, but often underutilized, administrative positions into classroom teaching positions. Ideal percentages would be 10% administrative, 10% support teachers, and 80% classroom teachers.
More classroom teachers allows for smaller class size, which in turn results in less need for special support teachers and less need for disciplinary administrative personnel.
Much of the cost of the new teachers would be made up by the savings in the salaries of the administrators. For example, assistant principals often make three times more that a starting classroom teacher.
Posted by: Westville101 | November 7, 2007 7:52 AM
WAY TO GO TOM MALONE for showing Ina and the machine that they really don't have the support they thought they did. The fact that 484 of Westville residents (most registered democrats) supported a non-democrat is huge. It goes to show that Ina better change her way over the next two years or she will surely be unseated during the next election. I'm not sure Ina really gets it but I hope that she can look beyond her social planning of baby get togethers and writing her neighborhood notes and look in the mirror and realize her constituents are fed up with her lack of action over issues that matter.
Ina, why not start by helping your neighborhood with fighting for more police presence to control crime and drug sales in Edgewood Park. Or how about fight for more control of people speeding up and down our streets and running stop signs.
On a city-wide basis, start with the tax hike you voted for. Fight for us so we don't have to sell our houses because we can't afford to pay our taxes. In the last mailing you sent out you claim that Malone was stretching the truth. ... I am sickened that an "educated" neighborhood like Westville would rather vote for someone in a city election because of their political party ...than on issues. This neighborhood's residents need to open their eyes and look at their tax bill and see what the reality of the current administration is.
Posted by: on whalley | November 7, 2007 8:13 AM
12,206 total votes cast for mayor out of 65,995 registered voters (as of 2006 statistics).
Assuming there are more registered voters this year than last that percentage would be even lower.
Oh yeah. I can smell democracy's rotting corpse on the wind.
Congratulations to Brison. You got your constituents to care. A seemingly impossible task in this city. Ask DeStefano when we can expect another half dozen or so $300K bus stops. Or how much longer he is going to entice families to pay child raping smugglers to get them to "illegal friendly" New Haven. Such a humanitarian he is. What a guy.
Posted by: FairHavener (yes me) | November 7, 2007 8:18 AM
"The reason for all the qualifiers for the historical achievement: in the early 1800s Elijah Goodrich served as mayor for 18 years. But he was elected once, by a limited electorate, then merely reappointed each year by the General Assembly."
I don't see what the difference is between now and then. Every two years "Generally" the same few voters "Assemble" and reappoint the mayor. As I have seen so far (and I could be wrong) is the same minority, that is, the general assembly of voters are the very same people who benefit from the status quo (and a handful of the uninformed). I say minority because the number of voters is the minority of the population of New Haven. It is an elite group indeed.
And especially congratulations to Allan Brison - seriously, good job. I look forward to reading about you over the next two years.
Posted by: Grumble -- Grumble | November 7, 2007 8:20 AM
Congratulations to everyone who got involved in the democratic process yesterday.
Remember this, DeStefano wins because he is the most visible left-of-center politician in the state. He figures out where voters are and is willing to push just a bit beyond that. He understands that while commenters at the NHI can't stand him, that there are other venues to take the pulse of the city. He also runs strong election operations.
Remember when he had a major challenge from Senator Looney, he ran hard left and built a massive organization. No election has been close since.
Here's to the Green party for winning a seat, a growing opposition makes sense. Because they are small no one really fights against them (really city hall's opposition is token and activists don't care), but this will change unless they come up with an agenda which is progressive. Brison won by being anti-tax and not taking a stand on whether children of color should have a middle school on Whalley Avenue. Hey, whatever gets him elected. He is now supporting the less progressive faction on the Board of Aldermen, which makes sense since they supported him over Matteson (financially and otherwise). Again, more power to you.
But this approach won't work citywide. Running to the right of a liberal alderman in a wealthy ward is one thing. Running to the right across the city is something else, which will get smoked out. (One place Brison definitely ran to the left -- he got it that Cedar Hill, the small moderate income side of the ward -- deserved attention.)
Can't the Green party do some honest thinking about what it stands for and generate candidates that are Green? Many of us would like to vote for such candidates.
Posted by: Disgruntled Democrat | November 7, 2007 8:21 AM
In an odd way, I am happy that Ina won. Now everyone who voted yesterday, not on the issues, but as a high school popularity contest, can keep their mouths shut about the property tax increase.
Everyone received Ina's political note in her neighborhood notes on Sunday night:
"There have been ridiculous claims by my opponent in this aldermanic campaign that taxes will double and even quadruple in four years. That is utterly ludicrous. The Republican party has manipulated the electorate through fear, and its local representatives are continuing this practice.
I am completely committed to keeping taxes as low as possible. I have worked hard for two terms to control the budget in the face of huge increases in costs like utilities and health care, and pressured the mayor to reduce spending. I hosted several neighborhood meetings where budget issues were discussed."
When someone complained to her yesterday at the polls, she told them that it was her email and if they did not like it, ask to be removed from the list. The person did. Thank God she is our representative, because with that kind of compassion towards her constituents, this has to be her last term. The fact that Malone got 45% of the vote considering he did not have a machine behind him, rather a grass roots committee who devoted their time and energy to his campaign, should scare the party. They focused all their energy on our ward and lost 10 because of it.
Taxes went up about 9.5% last year and are going up this year. Property owners will take it on the chin and renters are going to see higher rents. So all are affected. I cannot believe that I live in a city that actually wants to elect people to ensure that they pay higher taxes/rents. This reminds me of when OJ was acquitted and a lot of people celebrated, screaming "we won, we won." Chris Rock got on television and said "we won, what did we win (paraphrase)? A murderer went free." Well everyone who voted for Ina and JD won yesterday, at the cost of higher taxes and no representation. So what, exactly, did you win???
BTW, this isn't sour grapes, it is just the sad reality of living in this City. Some of us have the money to move to Fairfield, but choose to stay. I guess thats why they have life rafts on boats, so that the passengers can escape while the rats go down with the sinking ship.
My escrow for taxes went up over $250 and are going up again each year for the next four years in roughly the same amount annually. I cannot be the only one so did the majority of you not notice or not care? Or was it more important to have your friend elected even though it will cost you about $800 out of pocket by the next election? And that is if the mill rate stays the same.
I guess the next time, people should run as independents, rather than republicans, so most of you can get over the party thing. Grow up.
BTW, JMS the last time the US dollar was lower than the Canadian, JFK was president, so don't cast dispersions on Bush about this. Sometimes the president has no control over the economy (good or bad), though God knows Bush isn't really helping. But it probably is his fault that we are paying higher taxes in New Haven, since he sets our mill rate.
Posted by: Transituser | November 7, 2007 8:38 AM
Congratulations to Ina Silverman who hopefully will continue to serve as an example to her colleagues for staying in touch with her constituents and helping others in the city throughout her term. As for my 7th Ward, only 242 of us voted as usual. Those of us in the Western section on our mile long walk home got at Atticus a free very long loaf of bread--all we will ever get for our efforts.
Posted by: cedarhillresident | November 7, 2007 8:58 AM
You know it babe.
Cedar Hill did work hard and supported Allan. But it was not just us that got him the win. It was the whole ward. The people as a whole felt that there voices and concerns were not being met. Weather it was on there street or in the city. Allan will be addressing the whole wards concerns not just my area. And one of the reasons I backed him was the fact that he has some great ideas, and will not just be a ward leader but a people of the city leader.
Wow I have to tell you though if I was asked to do this again I may not. Politics is very hard. And Allan worked his BUTT off. Ed's team is one of the best and well organized in the city. It was really quite a race. Even when I called people to get them out the Dem's had already called them. What organization!!
Posted by: Bruce | November 7, 2007 9:39 AM
Way to go Allan Brison! Welcome another avid bicyclist to the board.
Grumble: you are dead wrong about Allan's values. My guess is that you are a Dem organizer and you have been enlisted to anonymously smear your only significant opposition. Why not wait until he has served a year or two (or 10) before making assumptions about what he will do for this city? Also, the one-dimensional "left" vs. "right" tagging system is way too narrow to even begin to describe political activities -- especially in small city politics.
Posted by: Grumble -- Grumble | November 7, 2007 10:35 AM
I have no problem with Allan winning and I do hope that he goes on to be a progressive. He definitely did not run as one. And as to the last Green on the Board of Aldermen, she was definitely not progressive in the least bit (as compared to just about everyone else on the board, not as compared to say South Carolina).
So re-read my previous post and pay attention now. I would like the Green Party to win elections in New Haven, but to do so they need to have Green positions. The Democratic Party in New Haven will triangulate around taxes. That's what dominant parties do.
So to move an agenda, Greens must stake out a position which on crime, drugs, development, education -- the real issues which face most New Haveners -- offers real change and will not be subject to a shifting Democratic machine.
As to Allan, again congratulations. It seems he won by going door-to-door and talking to his constituents in ways his opponent did not this time.
But he also did not stand up for progressive ideas, nor have the Green Party candidates in this city generally. Explain just how Brison's position on Hooker School was Green. At the end of the day, while people in this ward may want to see this issue as being about traffic, much of the rest of the city did not see it that way. In a city that is predominantly people of color, running a campaign that says I have no position on children of color going to school on Whitney Avenue, can win in the 10th ward but will leave the majority of voters cold.
Capitalizing on unique situations with hard working candidates is a fine way to win elections, but not to become a party with the possibility of winning in lots of places and thus impacting city policy. So bravo to the Greens, but to make in-roads city-wide, they will need to be for something, not just a change.
And there are plenty of issues in New Haven which will make a real difference and still have the fun of sticking it in the current leadership's eye.
If it helps you to read this advice seriously, feel free to assume that I am a "Dem organizer." I have been called worse.
Posted by: THREEFIFTHS | November 7, 2007 10:53 AM
Grumble Has Some Good Points Rember Joyce Chin She Was Green And Than Sold The Green Party Out And Became A Member Of The Demcratic Machine, This Is What Happens In Politricks, So We Will See If Brison Will Follow In The Same Steps. Last This Is Why I Always do Write In Because All Of These Parties Are The Same One Is A Pick Pocket And The Other A Con Artist Both Are Going To Rob You!!! That Why I Wrote In Vaseline On My Ballot
Because That Will Be The True Winner!!!
Posted by: robn | November 7, 2007 11:38 AM
Lest not we forget what is possibly the most extraordinary political turn of events in New Haven history. The DeStefano/Looney race was going to be close, but it was ultimately decided by the events of 911. Its not a stretch to say that the hard-core city hall political machine made it to the polls, but many voters stayed home that day becuase it was so traumatic. Its funny how remote events can shape our future.
Posted by: Gary Doyens | November 7, 2007 12:10 PM
It's a disgrace that registered voters account for only half the city residents, and that of those, only 18% voted. We have at least four, and I believe five employees in the Voter Registrar's Office. This department's mission should be to raise these dismal numbers.
As for Ina - it will be fun to watch her eat crow across the next two years as property taxes will without fail, continue to escalate at an alarming rate. Her claim of pressuring the mayor to lower taxes and spending is ludicrous and patently false, at least as far as the public record is concerned. If she did it in private, it had no effect whatsoever, as a record spending increase of nearly $30 million in one year was approved by her. In fact, the budget she voted for raised spending beyond even the mayor's bloated request through increases in parking fines and building permit fees. She voted against every measure to rein in spending and taxes.
And by the way, I have never heard Malone or anybody who stands for a modicum of fiscal integrity, claim that property taxes will "quadruple" as Ina claims. It is real, that property taxes could well double if spending at the current pace continues and the full re-valuation is enacted.
I wonder if Ina likes her crow blackened, feathers on or off?
Posted by: robn | November 7, 2007 1:21 PM
Roca Del Este makes great points about redistributing spending in the school system. Its absolutely ludicrous that the Superintendant of a failing school system makes $175K (60K more than the mayor). PAY TEACHERS, NOT ADMINISTRATORS
Posted by: Roger | November 7, 2007 1:34 PM
Welcome to the Popular Republic of Stefanopolis.
Seriously, what does a big city mayor have to do to lose an election in this state?
Posted by: Grumble -- Grumble | November 7, 2007 2:20 PM
I think your 9-11 comment is a bit on the extremely wishful thinking side. Looney did better in the East Shore and Annex. DeStefano did better in the Hill, Dixwell, Newhallville, Yale and Westville. They split Fair Haven. Turnout, especially later in the day, actually was not too bad.
In any case, increasing turnout would not have helped Looney. Increased turnout would have pushed up numbers in lower income wards which where they were not evenly divided (Fair Haven) were overwhelmingly in DeStefano's favor.
People don't stay home in the East Shore and Annex on election day. They did not then, and they never have. Looney's base came out, and it could not have gotten much larger. Despite this DeStefano won 2 to 1.
Seems like this was the point at which DeStefano became progressive, dumped a lot of corrupt hangers on and raised absurd amounts of money. This money allowed him to paint Looney on tv and through direct mail as the opponent of change and a progressive vision. Remember the baseball stadium commercial where DeStefano made Looney's whole economic strategy about building a baseball stadium downtown while DeStefano was fighting for bio-tech and new economy jobs.
While more money, broader base, and sophisticated campaign were likely the backbone of DeStefano's win, there is not really a scenario where 9-11 could have helped him.
Posted by: The Lay of The Land | November 7, 2007 3:46 PM
This is how the BOA plays out now that Brison upsets Mattison----
Goldfield is still going to be President. Even if Perez runs again, he will lose 16-14 at best. Most of leadership will remain the same- Shah will be President Pro-Tem. Jones will be Majority Leader. Look for Rodriquez to become Dep. Majority Leader again. Goldfields top Deputies on the Board (Committee Chairs) will now likely be Rhodeen, Lemar, Silverman, Clark, Sepulveda, Blango, Sturgis-Pacale,Sandman,Lehtonen and Morehead. Look for the top 4 Committee Chairmanships (Finance, Community Development, Legislation, Public Safety)to be headed by the 4 people that Goldfield trusts the most - he lost Mattison as chair of Community Development, Sergio Rodriquez will give up as finance Chair.
Posted by: jms | November 7, 2007 4:38 PM
"BTW, JMS the last time the US dollar was lower than the Canadian, JFK was president, so don't cast dispersions on Bush about this. Sometimes the president has no control over the economy (good or bad), though God knows Bush isn't really helping. But it probably is his fault that we are paying higher taxes in New Haven, since he sets our mill rate."
I know... I know... my point is simply that the economy is tanking and while we can't blame the Idiot In Chief we can be annoyed that he seems to be igoring it. My real point is that there are much larger issues at work here. Everyone around here gets so bent out of shape about local issues... without pausing to consider why they occur.
Posted by: Disgruntled Democrat | November 7, 2007 7:04 PM
Grumble-Grumble: I believe that you are disingenuous when stating that the Greens need to create a platform. What you and other smug Dems are going to find out over the next two years, maybe not citywide, but at least in Ward 25, is that this grassroots movement (whether Green, Repub or truly independent) that started in July of this year is going to spread, be better organized and have a complete platform that will appeal to most of the voters. That and the fact that all the lies told this year will come to light and leave the incumbents with little to offer except less-believable lies in 2009. Our goal is to have challengers to every dem incumbent in 2009 and beyond and we started working on it last night.
Anyone interested should send a private email to Malone's website, no matter what party affiliation they may have. All it takes is the willingness to create change in government.
Vive la revolution.
Posted by: Disgruntled Democrat | November 7, 2007 7:09 PM
JMS: I can agree with your views of the national stage, but I believe that most persons on the local level are not as impassioned about local politics than they are with the national. If so, we would see the protesters in front of city hall protesting illegal alien cards; Shartenberg; higher taxes, etc... rather than a war that no one in New Haven started, much less can end.
Posted by: Bill Saunders | November 7, 2007 7:54 PM
File this one under "Fun Election Facts"....
1). Since the 2005 mayor's race, New Haven's voting rolls have decreased by 5% (2758 citizens). And I thought our city was growing.
2). 1797 fewer people voted in this election than in 2005. That equals 13% more disinterest.
3). The Top Ten Wards (ranked by actual # voted) have a combined voting power greater than the other twenty wards (in other words, the top 10 wards account for 53% of the total vote, all the other wards 47% of total vote). The neighborhoods represented by those contiguous top wards are, of course, Westville, the East Shore, and East Rock.
4). a). In the Top 10 voting wards, representing
6385 actual voters, the anti-Destefano
sentiment was 35%.
b). In the Middle 10 Voting wards,
representing 3268 actual voters, the
anti-Destefano sentiment was 26%.
c). In the Bottom 10 Voting wards,
representing 2248 actual voters, the
anti-Destefano sentiment was 14%.
I officially dub these worst wards the 'Mushroom Plantation'. Keep keeping them in the dark, and feeding them shit. (I'm Ward 23,btw)
5). Top Three 'Protest' Wards:
1). Lighthouse Pt.(Ward 18) - 49%
2). Cedarhill (Ward 10) - 43%
3). Orange St. (Ward 8) - 40%
6). It would appear that Johnny's support in Fairhaven (Wards 14,15,16) jumped from 66% in '05, to 75% this cycle. There were also 202 fewer voters in those wards this year, so where is the democracy?
Posted by: New Haven Tea Party | November 7, 2007 9:52 PM
That's righteous, Saunders....and keeps it all in perspective. JD would be happy to dub us all the Mushroom Plantation.
Posted by: Chris Gray | November 8, 2007 1:19 AM
Cedar Hill Resident has enlightened me about some of my ill-informed carping and about this technology, but I feel I was justified, at least, in acknowledging that neither candidate could win, Bill.
Forging an alliance between Greens and Republicans is still problematic. On the other hand, on the national scene I have been envisioning a Clinton/Huckabee ticket for almost a week, with a slogan of "Bring Back Hope!"
There is something appealing about a minister who knows that the phrase "separation of church and state" was coined by Jefferson to assuage Danbury Baptists, afraid the new nation was going to adopt a state religion, that the first amendment guaranteed their freedom of belief, whatever it was. Plus, he pardoned Keith Richards.
So, if he could provide me with enough inspiration as to envision an end, somehow, to the eternal enmity of the corrupted national parties, how I could I not endorse such an alliance. I have long said that there are people of good will of all faiths.
The thing is, I see him as gracious enough to serve as Vice President with a full promise of access. Do I really see the other half of the ticket as willing to make good on the promise?
In other words, on the local level, which party blinks?
As far as Bill Saunders question, the democracy is in reaching out to the citizens of all the Wards, especially his "worst" Wards, and communicating with those citizens. As Cedar Hill Resident points out, it is hard work even in Wards where dissent is strong and, all too often, we don't want to do it any longer, such as during my own "dark ages".
Still, it takes talking with all kinds of people in or at their homes and developing a relationship with them. That is how a political machine works. Brian McGrath knew the man he is accused of bullying to the poll.
I remember Vincent Mauro Jr. nearly spilling his drink upon being introduced to me by the President of the New Haven League of Women's Voters at a meeting to plan a debate during a primary between Biagio DiLieto and Bill Jones. That morning he had been quoted as saying of me, "Who is he? What he has he built?" in the Register.
When he saw me, he had only remembered me as a good friend of his boyhood friend, Brian Mulligan, the son of George Mulligan, Dick Lee's disgraced chief aid. (He took the fall for the Malley's/Chapel Square fiasco, not any malfeasance. Somebody had to go. Dick couldn't resign!)
When introduced, he learned my name for the very first time and realized that I was the guy who had truthfully accused the Mayor of plagiarizing my slogan for alder in '85 for his own, two years later. Several times later he, as Town Democratic Town Chair, asked me to join the Democrats.
I've even partied with Brian McGrath.
Posted by: Roca Del Este | November 8, 2007 7:44 AM
"Roca Del Este makes great points about redistributing spending in the school system. Its absolutely ludicrous that the Superintendent of a failing school system makes $175K (60K more than the mayor). PAY TEACHERS, NOT ADMINISTRATORS"
By the way, the "points" I posted earlier are some of Alderman Allan Brison's proposals straight from his website:
Posted by: dana b | November 8, 2007 5:37 PM
I live in Ward 14. Not voting was my form of protest. I wonder if others voted with their feet as well?
Two years ago the mayor's candidate for Ward 14, Alex Rhodeen, was the recipient of every bit of help the mayor and his staff could muster. They were able to engage their full fire power against then-alderwoman Rose Santana-Ferraro and for Rhodeen, whom they believed rightly would follow the mayor's directions in every matter. He has not disappointed them, though his ward constituents feel differently.
This year the mayor's staff concentrated their time and expertise again on two wards, and won one of them for that Destefano yes-woman, Ina Silverman in Ward 25. May the sweet light of public scrutiny dog her every day of public service from here on out.
The mayor justifies the hours his staff spends shooting down opposition candidates as ethical, because these city employees are technically using their vacation time. Really? Has anyone been able to verify that Rob Smuts et al. did not take comp time or other measures to ensure he and they got the vacation time they truly deserved?
In a cruel irony the 2005 campaign manager for Santana-Ferraro, Sean Matteson, who explained to me in detail the misdeeds of the mayorial election activities, then joined Mayor Destefano's staff a year later. He now works for city democracy as a high-level Destefano staffer. I can only guess at Sean's motivations for doing so, but I suspect they have everything to do with two things: personal ambition and putting food on the table.
Posted by: Bill Saunders | November 8, 2007 8:05 PM
Not voting is no protest. It's apathy.
Posted by: dana b | November 9, 2007 12:00 AM
To Bill Saunders,
Bill, I would almost always agree with your point that not voting is apathy, not protest. But frankly, I love to vote, work the polls, get out the vote, and dare I say it (?) -- I love to serve jury duty, just as long as it doesn't take forever. So it was a difficult decision to not take myself to the Jepson School for voting day.
But I couldn't think of a better way to show my displeasure with my alderman and the mayor on voting day. Sure, I do lots of other things to register my views, discontent, whatever. But voting for two non-candidates for mayor (and whom I disagree strongly with) wasn't an option, nor was going into the booth and simply not touching any screen options. And with the new optical scan voting (or whatever it's called) I couldn't mutilate my ballot either. So staying away was the only way I could think of to register my discontent.
Surely, what I was practicing was not apathy. But perhaps there's a better way. I am open to your suggestions.
Posted by: Allan Brison | November 10, 2007 3:53 PM
Thanks to all the well-wishers in the above comments. I have a few observations to make:
First, Grumble Grumble has a strange take on my campaigning. I actually have had a lot to say on many of the issues that he mentions, particularly Crime, Development, and Education.
Between my flyers, our two debates (well covered by the Independent), and my website, my positions are fairly well depicted. Roca de Esta posted my entire Education platform in a previous comment on this page. The Independent has covered, in two separate stories, my Hooker school position.
My development platform is charterized by a strong preference for small incremental development projects as opposed to the Big Project model that has been such a dismal failure in cities across this nation for the entire post-WWII era.
In Crime I have been saying that we must bring back true Community Policing and we have to aggressively fight the corruption.
As to your comments about a school for "children of color on Whitney Ave", you have, seemingly, a misconception.
The Worthington Hooker school is not, basically, a school for people of color. Rather the school serves, principally, the rather affluent East Rock and St. Ronan communities. What makes is a truly wonderful school is the high degree of parental involvement including a strong PTO. The fact that I didn't take a strong stance on the Whitney Ave site has enabled me to have the confidence of folks on both sides of the Hooker divide.
I am pledged to honoring the CT Supreme Court decision concerning the Whitney Ave site and will be working with the PTO, the school neighbors, and the School Building Committee to implement that decision.
This has all been expressed in my campaign literature.
One of the big problems in these kinds of discussions is the "left-right" dichotomy. It simply does not apply neatly to local politics where the chief power brokers often use a liberal facade to mask governmental and corporate corruption; and where most of the issues are ones that progressives rarely deal with.
It is not uniquely Green/Republican/Democratic, or Left/Right to be for Clean Govenment, nor do Development and Land Use issues easily fall into this dichotomy. And these are among the most important issues in local politics.
Ward 10, Alderman-Elect
Posted by: Bill Saunders | November 12, 2007 7:05 AM
Thanks for asking for some suggestions. I'm just gonna passionately write, for fun and elucidation, hopefully some inspiration might drip through. It might take me a couple posts. A Swiftian Stab at Local Politics, a gonzo Pyncheonesque Parable...
It's time to crack open up Pandora's Ballot Box. It's an educating exercise every year.
I lift up the lid, and suddenly, oh crap, out jumps Parody, an evil imp named Parody. I close the box, almost catching the imps tail. Parody screams "EXERCISE YOUR RIGHTS", and scurries out my bedroom window, falling to his apparent death. Believe me, I've got much more to say than vicious, bloody Parody. I thought we wouldn't see the likes of him in these parts anymore. But that rascal knows varmints when he sees 'em and isn't afraid to speak up. "Not enough people speaking up anymore, that's what Parody would have said, like its being bred out of the genepool".
I decide to open up the box again to actually look inside. The light is diffuse, lackluster, and agreeably undercast, but I can still catch a glimpse of Hope huddled in the corner. I hate to tell you, but Hope is in pretty tough shape. This year she couldn't qualify for Public Heating Assistance, even though lesser, more connected Virtues, unsurprisingly, did.
Even Hope's friends couldn't help her with the heat this year. As well as having financial problems of their own, many feared their take-out would be tampered with by the staff at the Indian Palace (& Resort Casino), where King Stefanopolis and his Machinocrats operate a gizmo rumored to mint coins from the missed fortunes of the Disenfranchised in exchange for Curried Favors. Wintergreen is coming soon!
Stefanopolis boasts Top School Achievement, if you read the State Reports upside down. All children in Stefanopolis get a 21st Century Neutron Education, which destroys the students, but leaves the buildings and administrators in good standing. A certified agent will even sell your house when your family is through. If you are still not satisfied, you can always super-size your education with a little extra-Mayo.
Stefanopolis boasts no crime and a great entertainment district, largely attributable to the King John's controversial Felonies Exchange Program , which is responsible for converting crimes such as 'Armed Robbery' and 'Attempted Murder' into 'family classics' like "Cash Grab" and "Homey on the Range". Stefanopolis is also home to the popular sideshow exhibit "McWrath's Brain" - He Ain't Just No Pickled Punk! He's a Political Party Crasher Straight Outta da Seven Deadly Sins -- the City's biggest source of syntax!
With a Policy of Zero-Tolerance for Police Presence, Stefanopolis really showed the naysayers that ethics reform couldn't work if we DID work together. A few years back, a stranger actually proposed to change our Hamlet's name to Stefanopolice, but the referendumb was soundly defeated, and the stranger had to settle for a 'Change of Address' form. Unfortunately, the stranger didn't tell anybody where to forward the mail, and, only now, Hope is beginning to realize that her City isn't home. She wonders if she can still renew her library card since Stefanopolis has changed its address. If she could only get out to the beach! (She found a Fake ID from a missing girl).
I finally had to shut the box. My thoughts were swimming - what to believe except the headache? I donned my flak jacket, headed to the Coffee Badger to do some light reading. And then I saw it, through a rolling sea of parting ipods, posted on every phone poll for all to see - EXERCISE YOUR RIGHTS- the picture was of a smiling King Stefanopolis making a right-signaled turn on his bicycle.
Wait a minute. Was that supposed to be a mockery, or a mockery of a mockery?
When I got home, Parody's corpse was nowhere to be found.
I am beginning to suspect abduction by aliens.
The catbird sings.
To be continued...........
Posted by: Grumble Grumble | November 12, 2007 11:31 AM
I appreciate the tone and nature of your post and I think you have the opportunity to be a good alderman. I wish you well.
I have followed your race, as well as the Independent affords me that opportunity. I don't think you have dispelled any of my opinions as a result of your post.
And here's one example of why. Hooker School is at least 58% children of color. Even if it was 30% children of color, it would be sufficiently different than the neighborhood to create what it did -- opposition almost certainly based on race. Why you would not know that this is broadly perceived as being the reason for opposition is unclear.
Your solution -- that you would stand by the Supreme Court decision -- is interesting. It basically means that you will follow the law -- a good position for a sworn member of the government to hold. It is not however standing up for social justice when leadership requires it. It was allowing others to make the decision. And it was creating a space for people who some might call bigots to have a candidate who might not agree with them (we will never know) but would not state clearly that their position was wrong.
That the Independent championed your unique position may reflect a lack of understanding of the history of civil rights in America. There have always been politicians who have been willing to let others stand up for what is right, even die for it, and then after the fight is over act as "peacemakers".
This is a perfectly rational position to hold. It offends no one. Of course, power concedes nothing without a fight. And nothing worth having has been gained by the disenfranchised without offense.
That both sides were powerful here is irrelevant to the issue's ability to color my perception of your actions. In this case where it was somewhat easier to be on the side of justice, you sat it out. Why would I be more comfortable that when one side is weak you could be found?
Once again. Your tone makes me want you very much to succeed but do not confuse success with tone. On matters other than the budget (which every non-incumbent runs against) you will be challenged as an alderman. Let's hope that you can see the side of justice at least where it is obvious, and be less inclined to clever solutions than to tough ones that put human capital before political capital, and justice before political opportunity.
And as you can hopefully guess, I do not need a lecture on left/right paradigms in the local context. Seems like just another clever turn of phrase when the issues raised are pretty serious.
Good luck Allan.
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