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And Now ... Toni Harp Jumps In

by Paul Bass | Apr 22, 2013 12:49 pm

(60) Comments | Commenting has been closed | E-mail the Author

Posted to: Campaign 2013

Christine Stuart Photo Another surprise jolted New Haven’s political landscape Monday as state Sen. Toni Harp announced she has reversed course—and decided to join the race for mayor.

Harp (pictured at the state Capitol Monday afternoon), long considered the leading potential candidate to unseat or succeed Mayor John DeStefano, had decided to sit out this year’s race. Even when DeStefano himself decided to retire after 20 years in office.

Harp told the Independent Monday that she plans to file official papers after all either at the end of this week or early next week to seek the Democratic mayoral nomination.

“I’m very excited. I think that will bring a different perspective to the political discussion about the city—where it is now, where hopefully we’ll be in the future,” Harp said. “And I honestly think that I have the ability to bring the city together, to make it a more positive place, where people feel better about being residents of New Haven.”

Her supporters are holding their first campaign organizational meeting later Monday as another Democrat, Henry Fernandez, has his official campaign kick-off.

Harp, 65, has represented half of the city as a state senator since 1993. As co-chair of the legislature’s Appropriations Committee, she is one of the most powerful lawmakers in Hartford and a leading voice on human-services issues. She has been co-chairing the Mental Health Working Group of the legislature’s Bipartisan Task Force on Gun Violence Prevention and Children’s Safety.

She was too busy doing all that work in recent months to consider entering the mayor’s race, even though she had always considered seeking the office one day, Harp said Monday.

Melissa Bailey Photo Harp’s entrance shakes up the race in more ways than one: She is the top proven vote-getter. And she is a woman. All 49 mayors in New Haven’s history have been men. (Read about that here.)

Harp joins Fernandez, a former city economic development official; former Chamber of Commerce President Matt Nemerson; Alderman Justin Elicker; State Rep. Gary Holder-Winfield; and Newhallville plumber Sundiata Keitazulu in seeking the Democratic Party’s nomination for the mayor’s job. Hillhouse Principal Kermit Carolina, another Democrat, has also formed an exploratory committee and was expected to make a decision in coming weeks about whether to officially join the race. The Democratic primary takes place Sept. 10.

It is expected that in coming weeks Harp’s entrance will actually shrink, rather than grow, the field, as some of the candidates may conclude they can’t compete with her for their constituencies.

But at least two candidates showed no sign of backing down in the face of a new presumed frontrunner.

“Politics is unpredictable,” Elicker said Monday when asked for his reaction to Harp’s decision. “I’m focusing on the only thing I can control—which is how hard I can work.”

Nemerson called the prospect of a Harp mayoralty a “disaster” for New Haven—because of the good job she does in Hartford.

“The next mayor of New Haven should be a strong executive who has urban policy experience and can attract private investment, jobs, and global attention. I am that person,” Nemerson said. “[Toni Harp] giving up her seniority and power on [the legislature’s] Appropriations [Committee] will be a disaster for the city. The citizens of New Haven will be better served by keeping an effective legislator where she is. Even if she is a fine mayor, the loss of her Hartford clout will be damaging.”

“I know Toni,” Nemerson added. “I like her a great deal. And a vote for me will guarantee that she and I will create a great partnership in the years ahead.”

As candidates began lining up to succeed DeStefano upon his Jan. 29 retirement announcement, Harp declared she didn’t plan to seek the office this year because she is happy in the state Senate, where she co-chairs the powerful Appropriations Committee. “I don’t think I’m going to be running, to be honest with you, unless I’m struck by lightning,” she said at the time.

Christine Stuart Photo Harp was asked Monday what changed her mind. She was previously committed to backing Holder-Winfield (pictured at the Capitol Monday with Newhallville Rev. Boise Kimber).

“It seemed like there were a lot of people out there, and nobody was getting a lot of traction,” she said. “I thought, ‘I could throw my hat in and see how I would do.’ In the back of my mind for many years I considered running for mayor.

“I really do like my job here in the Senate. When it first came up when the mayor announced, I was in the middle of two major projects [the state budget deliberations and post-Newtown mental health task force]. After all of those things wound down, [I thought] maybe I do have time and see what people think.”

She said many leaders of African-American, women’s, and other community organizations have been urging her to run.

No Public Financing

Paul Bass Photo Harp (pictured at a March press conference on a new New Haven coalition focusing on schoolkids’ trauma) will be the third candidate to decide not to participate in the city’s public-financing system, the Democracy Fund. Three candidates—Elicker, Holder-Winfield and Keitazulu—have signed up to participate. Fernandez and Nemerson have chosen not to. Participating candidates receive matching public dollars in return for limiting individual contributions to $370 (rather than $1,000) and eschewing donations from outside committees.

“I’m in late,” Harp responded when asked about the decision. And “there are going to be others in the race who are not doing public financing.”

She added that “it takes as much energy to do public financing as it does to raise money otherwise.”

School Reform For All

Harp said she will emphasize in the campaign the need to reach older kids who have been failing in school.

The city has been going “in the right direction” with its nascent school-reform drive, she said. She’d like to expand the focus to students who reach high school and are failing. She spoke of teens who drop out and go to adult basic education—and read at the third-grade level. School reform both in the city and statewide focuses heavily on the youngest children, she noted; studies have shown that the biggest returns on investment come with reaching kids at the earliest ages. (Click here for an in-depth article on the subject.) But the city still has to pay attention to those who reach a more difficult age, Harp argued.

She said the budget her committee just approved starts that effort by funneling more money to adult basic ed, reading specialists, and special ed. Much more remains to be done, she said.

“They need help. We live in a world where you have to be able to read to take care of yourself. We have a school system and resource system in the state that focuses a lot in early years and not a lot later on,” she said.

“One of the things that we tend to do in our town and in our state is to throw away all of the older kids. I’m very interested in making sure that everyone who graduates from New Haven Public Schools can read at grade level and can write. I don’t think that we throw away the older kids because we weren’t able to capture their interests when they were younger. I know it’s easier to work with younger kids. But we’ve really got to understand that we have to see this throughout the continuum of education.”

Harp also praised the “reinvigoration” of community policing in New Haven after we “let it go for so long.” Back in 1989, when John Daniels ran for mayor on a community policing platform, Harp co-chaired the campaign committee that wrote it. Daniels won and instituted community policing along the lines of that platform.

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posted by: PH on April 22, 2013  12:59pm

Oh this is a game changer.  If I were Gary I’d run away quickly and try and get her Senate seat.  Though if she wins New Haven will lose a very, very powerful voice at the state level.  The public financing piece yapped about ad nauseum in other comments is wildly overblown—people want a competent mayor and will look past how they finance their mailings to get that mayor.  Harp goes straight to the front for me!

posted by: ELMCITYPROF on April 22, 2013  1:01pm

Well. This certainly makes things very interesting. I wonder what prompted the change of heart. It’s good to see so many strong people stepping up to lead the city. One does wonder, however, whether any of the candidates can build a sufficiently strong coalition that cuts across group lines. Game On

posted by: robn on April 22, 2013  1:32pm

No Democracy Fund?

Seriously Sen Harp? SERIOUSLY?

posted by: DingDong on April 22, 2013  1:40pm

“It is expected that in coming weeks Harp’s entrance will actually shrink, rather than grow, the field, as some of the candidates may conclude they can’t compete with her for their constituencies.”

What is the passive voice hiding here?  Expected by whom?  The NHI?  The Harp campaign?  Someone else?

posted by: New Haven Taxpayer on April 22, 2013  1:53pm

Being in the CT Senate for 20 years won’t help to sway me. Look at the mess Hartford is in.
No participation in public campaign finance = Open to big donors who want favors.
Maybe it won’t be a factor in the election, maybe it will.
Grass roots idealists got Kerekes 45% of the vote last time.
My vote is going to Elicker.

posted by: SaveOurCity on April 22, 2013  1:58pm

this is the 2nd time in a week that we’ve heard “I"m entering late so I can’t participate in the democracy fund” ....that’s bull.  Justin announced in late January and had the number of supporters and number of donations to be fully qualified in 60 days.  Toni has 139 days, by my count, before the primary.

If you plan to be a big money/rich donor candidate - just tell us.  Don’t insult our intelligence with lame excuses.

posted by: Webblog1 on April 22, 2013  2:14pm

Congratulations to Senator Harp on her decision to enter the Mayors race. She indicates that she will not be part of the democracy fund. That"s is just fine, since the fund will only been replenished with $200K of taxpayers funds this year.

While the NHI says of Ms Harp, “She is the top proven vote-getter”, that remains to be seen.

Senator Harp’s district only covers parts of the western side of New Haven and includes West Haven. She has never run in a local election, but, decidedly has stayed in the cocoon of state elected politics, while living in New Haven, ignores the daily activity of New Haven government.

Senator Harp belatedly endorsed the candidacy of Clifton Graves in the 2011 mayoralty primary contest, he ran third behind the Mayor and Kerekes and only 23 votes ahead of Dawson.
Those results do not indicate a strong following for Harp at that time.

Fast forward to day…. Just last Friday Senator Harp and representative Walker co-chairs of the appropriations committee,  announced the following state budget impasse.

http://www.ctnewsjunkie.com/ctnj.php/archives/entry/lawmakers_say_tax_hike_would_have_helped_preserve_spending/

Since the two have been at their positions the state has exploded it’s debt while running budget deficits for the past four years.
They and the Governor announced a new 2 cents a gallon tax increase for July and no new monies for New Haven, than those the governor had previously announced earlier this year.

The point here begs the question,
What does Senator Harp bring to the New Haven table??

I can say this Senator, the Kids need jobs for their parents before pouring more money into the school system, which cannot advance without active parental participation.

posted by: westville man on April 22, 2013  2:19pm

Kermit Carolina will likely decide to enter the race in a week or 2. He will probably be the last to enter. And he WILL use the Democracy Fund if he does enter.  Amazing these so-called “big-wigs” can use timing as the excuse.
They want the big money donors. I dont blame them for that- just these disingenuous answers.

posted by: Babz Rawls Ivy on April 22, 2013  2:20pm

This is delightful news!

posted by: Anderson Scooper on April 22, 2013  2:22pm

We need IRV now more than ever….

Congratulations to Mayor Nemerson, that is unless Gary drops out…

posted by: EastRockIndependent on April 22, 2013  2:24pm

Personally, I think the Democracy Fund issue is a bit of a distraction. I wholeheartedly believe in public financing - and public airtime/broadcast rights for all candidates, frankly, like they have in France.

But we shouldn’t let our ideological support for something blind us to the current realities—as long as you have a system where money = speech and where we therefore don’t require candidates to participate as a condition of running for office, public financing isn’t going to work. And so in this climate, where one candidate (Fernandez) will have the wholehearted support of the powers that be, how can another qualified candidate like Harp (who is without a doubt the favorite if she steps in) tie her hands before she has even entered the race?

What would be exciting would be to see if someone like her could do what Obama did and match the Democracy Fund model of having lots of small donors, in addition to bigger donations. The relevant question now shouldn’t be, are you taking public money, but instead, who is with you? What does your financial support indicate about the depth of your support in different sectors of the city? Who funds your campaign?

Elicker’s reports, while indicating he has a lot of donors, suggest they are primarily concentrated among a very small set of white professionals (as Independent helpfully reported a few weeks ago). So they have leveraged their donations to get public dollars. So what?

An idea for pro-transparency folks: ask all candidates, whether part of Democracy Fund or not, to file more frequent disclosure reports. This is likely to be the basis of the new Murkowski-Wyden campaign finance reform—rapid disclosure—http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/295145-senators-to-unveil-bipartisan-campaign-finance-reform-bill

posted by: Curious on April 22, 2013  2:38pm

My hunch is that once the balance tipped from all candidates being IN the Democracy to Fund to just a few of them, Toni felt safe signing up t run since then she could ditch the Democracy Fund as well and not take the brunt of the heat for it.

Ahhh, politics!

At least now the contractors might be forced to pay out triple to all three non-clean-election candidates, since the wo’t know which palm to grease.

posted by: Curious on April 22, 2013  2:49pm

Will Harp (and Fernandez) follow Nemerson’s lead and post their fundraising checks up online within 48 hours of reciving them?

posted by: momnprof on April 22, 2013  3:03pm

Very interesting! I have worked with Sen. Harp, and she has done great work in procuring important appropriations for the City.

posted by: Razzie on April 22, 2013  3:20pm

A much welcomed development. Frankly, I was so bummed out by the under-whelming quality of candidates that (except for voting on election day) I was facing the prospect of sitting this campaign out. Senator Harp gives the race a healthy dose of political heft that was sorely lacking. I can get excited about someone whose 20-year record of quiet, but steady contributions to the fabric of New Haven speaks volumes. She doesn’t need to prattle on with electioneering rhetoric about what she WOULD do, if we were to elect her to office. What she HAS DONE tells me all I need to know.

posted by: Noteworthy on April 22, 2013  3:22pm

This will be interesting. I’m wondering what exactly her platform will be - what successes she will claim for all her years in state government.

Did she leave a legacy of balanced budgets? No. Fiscal sustainability? No. Perhaps a reasonable debt level - oops, no again since we have the highest per capita debt in the nation. How about job growth in the private sector? No. PILOT dollars? No. What about mental healthcare? No, the Office of Healthcare Advocate says we are in a crisis mode. Chairing the committee post Newtown is a bit late. Urban Violence? Nothing. Not even in the severe gun law changes. Since entering the senate in 1993, scores of dead youth have been stacking up like cord wood unabated and only slowed by the normal give and take of street violence in any given year. Democracy Fund and the evils of big business donors and special interest pacs? Lip service and yes, she’ll take all of them she can find, especially since what was outlawed at the state level, is allowed at the local level. What a great loophole when one needs it.

Her big thing so far is educating older youth so they can read and write. Since all the jobs are in eds and meds in New Haven, and there are no other new jobs in the state, her one big idea so far will get urban youth exactly nowhere. Welcome to the race.

posted by: David S Baker on April 22, 2013  3:48pm

MTV should pay these people to live in a house together.

posted by: Downtown Gary on April 22, 2013  4:11pm

This is a lose-lose for New Haven with Harp now in the race. We lose a strong, experienced voice in Hartford, and could miss out on getting a strong leader with a vision, and driven to get the hard work done here in New Haven into City Hall in November.

posted by: InformedOpinion123 on April 22, 2013  4:20pm

Well this certainly just got interesting!

First, people are making WAY too big a deal about the democracy fund. It does not guarantee “clean” elections. Use of the fund DOES NOT prohibit candidates from raising funds elsewhere to participate in events/acts that are prohibited with fund money. It is a great tool for those who would not otherwise be able to run, but some candidates simply don’t need it. Plus, while three candidates say they will use it, only ONE has qualified for it.

Second, Toni Harp has walked the fine line of being a champion for New Haven at the state level without appearing to favor New Haven - and that’s not easy! She has been a tireless advocate for children and youth services and it would be terrible to loose her voice in the Capitol.

Third, the ONLY candidate with actual, successful, city-level management experience - related to education, business and community development - is Henry Fernandez!

Done.

posted by: Curious on April 22, 2013  4:25pm

More first-time posters coming out to shill for the big-money candidates.  I guess unlimited (i.e. crooked) contributions pay for that sort of thing.

posted by: local 35 steward on April 22, 2013  4:29pm

NOW WE HAVE SOMEONE WE CAN SUPPORT!!! LETS GET OUT THE VOTE AND SUPPORT SOMEONE WHO WILL MAKE A CHANGE IN THIS CITY..

EVERYBODY ELSE WHO IS TALKING THIS NON SENSE WILL BE SILENCE WHEN SHE TAKES OFFICE..

posted by: GoodNatured on April 22, 2013  4:35pm

I would like to see Toni Harp as mayor, but she is a huge power in Hartford - New Haven would lose out without her in the state senate.

posted by: GoodNatured on April 22, 2013  4:43pm

>First, people are making WAY too big a deal about the democracy fund. It does not guarantee “clean” elections….Third, the ONLY candidate ... is Henry Fernandez!”

EastCoast - you’re fooling nobody.  You want Fernandez, and since he won’t commit to the Democracy Fund you claim it’s not important to anybody else.

Not true.  Lots of voters value integrity.

posted by: dorothy25 on April 22, 2013  5:27pm

Curious,

Why do you insist on picking on people new to the comment section?  Oh, is this your sandbox, and no one else can play in it?  I read the NHI regularly but rarely comment.  And that’s partly because “regulars” are often hostile to anyone who disagrees with them.  And before you call me a wooden soldier or shill or whatever, I’m undecided at this point in the mayoral race.  I just don’t like bullies.

posted by: Username on April 22, 2013  5:37pm

Excellent.

Disagree with comments that Harp in New Haven eliminates her effectiveness in Hartford - knowing the people and knowing the process in Hartford she can effectively support a New Haven agenda in Hartford through managing a cohesive delegation, lobbyists and direct staff which she is in a position to carefully select and manage as mayor. 

Disagree with comments that the democracy fund is a central issue. Good, however, that Democracy Fund makes otherwise new candidates plausible in fundraising. Not a negative that an established individual coming to a race late does not participate.

Central issues relate to cohesiveness of the residents of our city, economic development/property taxes issues and services provided.

AGREE that a more unified, productive New Haven GAINS power statewide as we are strong vote getters in state races. So a candidate that doesn’t burn down the forest, but rather can tie us all together and run a team is what we are looking for. Harp?

Let the race begin!

posted by: mstratton on April 22, 2013  5:54pm

Toni Harp’s refusal to participate in the democracy fund is all about ensuring she can take Union money. She is the union backed candidate and was pressed into service after Keyes dropped out. I like unions but I don’t like candidates who are beholden to union bosses. The democracy fund frees our New Haven politics from union, contractor, and business entity control. It is the most important thing we can do as New Haveners this year—Lets Get A Real Hardworking Candidate Who Cares About New Haven not the chamber of commerce or local 1234! Justin Elicker and Gary Holder Winfield have articulately spelled out their vision for New Haven and it is compelling, honest and all about doing the right thing. Right makes might—Dont let these special interests turn it into Might makes right. Send the anti democracy fund candidates like Harp packing.

posted by: ElmCityVoice on April 22, 2013  6:00pm

YES! Finally a candidate who can lead and has integrity also. A stand up woman. A stand up voice in Hartford. And now a stand up voice in New Haven.

posted by: kenneth_krayeske on April 22, 2013  6:08pm

EastCoast’s statement needs correction: “Use of the fund DOES NOT prohibit candidates from raising funds elsewhere to participate in events/acts that are prohibited with fund money.”

The voluntary contract with the Democracy Fund exchanges a candidate’s promise to raise funds only from individual human beings and not political action committees or business entities in exchange for public funds.

EastCoast may be referring to a small exception involving fundraising parties, but it is really only a $100 loophole: 

“An individual may donate an item or items of personal property to a committee for a fundraising event, or purchase such an item
or items at the event and not have it counted as a contribution if the cumulative value of the items donated or purchased does not exceed
$100 per event. For donations, report in Part II of SEEC Form 20 under Section L4, “In-Kind Donations Not Considered Contributions.”

For purchases, treasurers are no longer required to list the names of individuals who purchase an item or items at a fundraising event if the cumulative amount purchased does not exceed $100.”
{from the SEEC 2013 Municipal Guidebook}.

This minor exception to the $370 limit begs the question: how much can this loophole be abused? It seems like a ton of work for campaigns to collect lots of $100 in-kind donations for parties to make it a “corruptible” loophole. And even then, if the candidate’s form 20 smells funny, the Fund would find it in an audit, and the participating candidate and treasurer could be personally liable for violations. This small exception that does not seem to puncture the spirit of the Democracy Fund.

As voters discuss the Fund and its mplications for the election online, the discourse must operate from a mutual understanding of what the Fund does and does not allow. 

If EastCoast is referring to another part of the law, I invite them to indicate it, and I will respond.

Regards,
Ken Krayeske
Democracy Fund Administrator

posted by: ohnonotagain on April 22, 2013  6:57pm

I never expected this and she is a wonderful contender in the mayoral race. So far I liked what I read and plus she is such a lady. You are not going to hear her beat up our present mayor although he deserves it. What I want to hear about (not because education isn’t important) is her plans to manage this city and it’s budget. Does she feel taxes must go up or does she feel she can at least hold the line on them. Frankly hard working people (middle income) and retired people are living pretty much hand to mouth and taxes are a killer. So I look forward to hearing more from her. I like Justin Elicker and now maybe Toni. I am hopeful one or the other will be elected if they know what they are talking about and are able to articulate their solution to issues that are pressing. That for me is not limited to just education and other social services. And I definitely do not want to hear about more schools being built. I want to hear about budget solutions and saving residents from being forced to sell and move out or loose their homes and move away.

posted by: leibzelig on April 22, 2013  7:02pm

Aha…now the adults are jumping in the pool. I hope this one stays, unlike Jack Keyes, who stuck his toe in and decided his best interests lie elsewhere.
What do we want in a mayor? That is the most important question. There are too many distractions: the Democracy Fund, the Yale unions, the folks who vote for someone who looks like them, or is the same religion, or the people who want cars banned and senior citizens to ride bikes or walk a mile to a bus stop?
Didn’t we get a wake-up call when the agency lowered the city’s credit rating once again?
The city is a ship taking in water. It’s time to call for help, or at least do something other than rearrange the deck chairs.
It’s time for the adults to take over.

posted by: FrontStreet on April 22, 2013  7:57pm

Interesting, no mention of Sen Harp’s part time job as director of the Homeless Health Department at Hill Health Center.  Also interesting that no one has ever asked if her position at Hill Health constitutes a conflict of interest (Hill Health depends on state bonds and other state subsidies).  She is in charge of allocating funds that potentially go to her second employer.  A very old school, New Haven of doing things.  And not that different from the situation the leadership at Community Health Center Inc finds itself under investigation for by the feds in the Donavan scandal (hartford pols earmarking bond monies to their friends).  Clarification, Senator Harp?

posted by: Christopher Schaefer on April 22, 2013  8:26pm

No balanced budget, unsustainable spending, massive debt, quid pro quo relationship with unions. How utterly appropriate that this article should include a photo of Toni Harp and Rosa DeLauro standing together.

posted by: ms2676 on April 22, 2013  8:38pm

Finally, a serious candidate who can make a difference in City Hall.

posted by: ELMCITYPROF on April 22, 2013  9:00pm

I’m a bit troubled by the above picture and comment about Harp endorsing Holder-Winfield and then deciding to jump into the race. I get that politics is a dirty game, but character is reflected in more than just how one decides to raise campaign funds. I certainly hope Toni at least had the decency to let Gary know that she was getting into the race.

posted by: DrHunterSThompson on April 22, 2013  9:18pm

this is great news for the rest of the state!

HST

posted by: DrHunterSThompson on April 22, 2013  9:20pm

holder-winfield, now harp.  if we could only get megma to run!

trifecta for connecticut!

HST

posted by: cedarhillresident! on April 22, 2013  9:34pm

ELMCITYPROF

totally agree! Question is what is Gary’s move now?

Harp has enough pull to run an honest democracy fund campaign does she really need to take money from special interests? Really.

@ Dorothy Curious points that out because alot of posters that are new are hired hands and it is important for people to know this when reading the comment section

posted by: cp06 on April 22, 2013  10:58pm

@mstratton

Anyone who participates in the Democracy Fund can benefit from unlimited union money and any other money. Did you not know this?

posted by: Nashstreeter on April 22, 2013  11:14pm

Go Dorothy! Curious’s implication that new posters are somehow not legitimate (like Curious is?)  and are paid shills is really offensive. For all we know, Curious is paid by the Tea Party…
  Actually, the idea that ANYONE who posts here is paid is ludicrous. We do it for the give and take and the possibility that new information will emerge from that. It would be great if posters like Curious could just engage in civil (and evidence-based) discussion and quit with the demonizing and name-calling.

posted by: westville man on April 23, 2013  9:59am

Here’s the deal on this:

The Unions & Yale did not like the way this election was shaping up. DeStefano leaves a huge void for them- a loss of power (read: control) over the office.
Elicker, Holder-Winfield and Carolina all would pose a problem for them if one of them is successful. 
Fernandez & Nemerson, while “old guard”, might not get elected. When Keyes backed out, the unions were scrambling.
And though Harp REPEATEDLY said she wasnt interested and even backed Winfield, she cried “uncle” over the weekend from some strong arm-twisting to run.  Problem solved for the unions and Yale. They have their candidate and continued control over the mayor’s office.
But the people still have to vote- it’s not over yet!

posted by: HhE on April 23, 2013  10:48am

Nashstreeter, I find Curious to be one of the better posters on the NHI.  While the smart money is on the premise that each of us was prompted by some article or issue to start posting, the number of new posters who have come out in support of Mr. Fernandez is striking, and some of us find it suspect.

posted by: Curious on April 23, 2013  11:18am

Westville Man, I have to disagree.  Yale and “the unions” are at each other’s throats most of the time.  They are not acting together to get someone elected.  They are pretty much struggling against each other, and definitely not working together on this.

Thank for the support, folks :)

posted by: abg22 on April 23, 2013  12:41pm

For whatever it’s worth, Toni Harp has run in at least three previous elections (2008, 2010, 2012) where she could have participated in public financing, but has not done so. She is one of only a handful of Democrats in the legislature to eschew the Citizens’ Election Program. So it is obviously not true that the reason she is not participating in Democracy Fund is that she got in the race too late. But you cannot fault her for inconsistency.

posted by: Stephen Harris on April 23, 2013  12:49pm

Hum. Another plot twist. Another establishment candidate. But endorsing Gary then running shows lack of character. Who pushed her into this? And why? I wonder how much support she really has among actual voters?

posted by: stick21 on April 23, 2013  12:50pm

Posters are mentioning a candidate who has yet to put his name in the race. I thought he would but hasn’t to date. I agree Carolina will threaten Yale and the unions as that has always been a position he seemed to lean toward. It would be interesting to see in a debate forum how each candidate honestly feels about Yale University…..My bad, I said “honestly”. Wrong choice of words!

posted by: westville man on April 23, 2013  1:24pm

@ Curious- my bad.  I didnt mean to suggest they were working together.  Just that they each want a candidate they feel they know and are “comfortable” with.  She’s it. 
We will see in the coming weeks who publicly supports her. My prediction- right here, right now- Union supporters in droves.
Yale is too sly to come right out publicly, but they do speak to some us!

posted by: Winston on April 23, 2013  5:09pm

What ever happened to 187 Dixwell?  Was the $485,000 a good investment for New Haven taxpayers?  This is troubling:

http://yaledailynews.com/blog/2001/04/20/city-land-deal-raises-questions/

posted by: parejkoj on April 23, 2013  5:10pm

First off: I’m glad to see another candidate throw their hat in the ring. The more, the merrier!

In reply to those commenting about our state’s (or country’s) “exploding debt”: are you not aware that almost all of the recent debt growth is explicitly due to the recession? Revenue went down (people making less money => less tax revenue), and more money was paid out in things like welfare.

This is exactly how it should work!

Don’t believe me? Look at the data: tax revenue plunged in 2007, whereas spending as a fraction of GDP didn’t really increase until 2010, and is now trending back downwards. The growth of state debt starting in 2007 was driven largely by the drop in revenue, and compounded later on by the lack of federal support for struggling states.

http://www.usgovernmentrevenue.com/revenue_chart_1998_2012CTb_14s1li001lcn_F0t10tH0t

http://www.usgovernmentspending.com/spending_chart_1992_2015CTp_14c1li001lcn_F0c10t20t40t

Complaints about our state’s budget situation *need* to take this reality into account. Sadly, it doesn’t fit with the narrative that many are pushing.

posted by: William Kurtz on April 23, 2013  6:41pm

““I’m in late,” Harp responded when asked about the decision. And “there are going to be others in the race who are not doing public financing.”

She added that “it takes as much energy to do public financing as it does to raise money otherwise.””

Nice job hitting the trifecta: regurgitating the excuses used by the other two big-money chasing candidates and adding a third.

The problem with Senator Harp’s reasoning is that public financing isn’t about increasing convenience to the candidate; it’s about bolstering confidence in the voters.  New Haven’s Democracy Fund may not be a perfect system but in the shadow of Citizens United it might be as good as anyone’s going to get.

posted by: Honest in New Haven on April 23, 2013  9:24pm

Personally happy that Toni is in the race.  All this talk of her backstabbing Gary H-W is nonsense—it’s not like she turned and endorsed someone else.  Gary’s campaign was going nowhere fast and it was clear Toni was the best candidate not in the race.  Stay tuned for Gary’s “I’m out of the race” speech.

posted by: Xavier on April 24, 2013  12:42am

EastCoast25 - we must be distant relatives. One City Henry is going to win.

Deja vu

Remember when Looney (nice guy) against John Destefano (no so nice guy) and Looney not only got creamed, he got smacked around.

Take two Senator Harp (nice woman)versus One City Henry (mentored by JD, both not so nice guys).

Prediction: One City Henry WINS primary - Elicker with his wishful supporters tries a third party candidacy and loses by slim margin. (nice guys finish last)

posted by: HhE on April 24, 2013  12:42am

Honest in New Haven, ” All this talk of her backstabbing Gary H-W is nonsense—it’s not like she turned and endorsed someone else.”—except her self by running. 

Well said, William Kurtz.  Each new big money candidate/apologist adds a new excuse.  It is like a really bad layer cake, that we get to eat.

parejkoj, the federal, state, and New Haven governments have been running a debt program that is systemic in its liabilities, growth, and nature.  The federal debt was out of hand long before the bubble burst that was funding so much, and being created by debt.  Even in the best of times, the state was not fully funding its pension liabilities, and was allowing needed infrastructure to deteriorate.  The city was borrowing to fund school building construction (but not school books) as a quid pro quo for contractor donations to fund a certain mayor’s campaigns.

posted by: ElmCityVoice on April 24, 2013  7:47am

William Kurtz others who are making the Democracy Fund the holy grail. Once Henry pulled out of doing the politically correct thing it would be ridiculous for anyone to do anything but amass the war chest he’s going to. Every candidate is in to win. You play with the rules in place. As of now, participating in the Democracy Fund or Not participating inthe Democracy Fund are both part of the game. Enough of that. Let’s stop talking about it because it has nothing to do with how people are going to vote. It’s an insiders issue.Toni Harp is clearly the sole candidate who has the whole package. She’s a people person (I don’t think I have to write here who in this race is not). She doesn’t have to explain who she is because we already know who she is. She’s a smart, savvy, political, talented, New Haven African American woman. Nobody can really honestly post on this board that Toni Harp doesn’t have what it takes to run this city. People can trash her because they have another candidate they’re supporting but that says nothing about who Toni is. She’s the only candidate who knows every line item in the state budget and how it relates to New Haven. Even if people on this post disagree, let’s admit it. Nobody except a small group of arm chair politicians is reading this board,so may the best woman win.

posted by: TheWizard on April 24, 2013  7:56am

Why is Harp’s 20 yrs in Hartford supposed to impress us?  Based upon data from the Office of Policy & Management and the Bureau of Economic Analysis, the following data were recently compiled for the past 40 years in CT;

Growth in Population             21%
Growth in Per Capita Income         98%
Growth in Net Appropriations (Taxes)  265%

Is that what we want to bring to our city?

posted by: Samuel T. Ross-Lee on April 24, 2013  11:18am

I find it AMAZINGLY funny when people try to shut down conversation either on a specific topic or from a specific person. ElmCityVoice, what does it mean when you write: “Democracy Fund or Not participating in the Democracy Fund are both part of the game. Enough of that. Let’s stop talking about it because it has nothing to do with how people are going to vote.”?

How exactly do you know that? Or, is your comment merely a desperate attempt to take out of the conversation a legitimate topic? And if the latter is the case, why? Do you feel that if people keep bringing up the topic that people who are reading these comments, but not responding in print, (which might be more than you are willing to admit) might, in fact, be influenced by what they read here?

The fact, and the freedom, of political discourse in America is that people can discuss whatever they desire).  The First Amendment guarantees that right (provided the draconian censorship of the NHI doesn’t hinder its efforts).  But, your attempt to block conversation simply makes us pay even closer attention to that from which we are being diverted.

Carry on.  This diadialog MUY INTERESANTE.

posted by: Curious on April 24, 2013  11:19am

ElmCityVoice, I have lived here in New Haven for ten years or so, and in CT the rest of my life, and this is the first I have heard of Toni Harp.

As someone who watches New Haven politics, all I know about Toni Harp is that she has opted out of the Democracy Fund and a clean election, to take special intrest money, based on some weak-@$$ excuses.

I guarantee you that many more voters know just as much, or less, about Toni Harp, and that her decision to scoff at clean elections will be as much of an issue as the other candidates are able to make it.

Politicians, dismiss how much people care about clean elections and campaign finance reform at your peril.

posted by: Christopher Schaefer on April 24, 2013  7:55pm

Samuel T. Ross-Lee: “The fact, and the freedom, of political discourse in America is that people can discuss whatever they desire”. And one should not be so fearful of disagreement or of being “politically incorrect” that one need use a fake “user name”. Thank you for the First Amendment reminder, Samuel.

posted by: Nashstreeter on April 25, 2013  12:34am

I know this is a comment forum on Toni Walker’s putting her hat in the ring. But I’d like know whom those who criticize her are themselves rooting for. Toni as compared to what else?

Right now, participation in the Democracy Fund seems to be the major (and sometimes only) criterion. What else distinguishes Toni from the other candidates? Vote-getting ability? Legislative record? Niceness? Femaleness? Blackness? Husband’s connections? DeStefano connections?

We’ve already heard about her Failure in a Supporting Role to Gary H-W. I would hope there could be a little more substance offered up.

I myself have nothing to offer, unfortunately. Just trying to figure it all out.

posted by: William Kurtz on April 25, 2013  6:35am

ECV wrote,

You play with the rules in place. As of now, participating in the Democracy Fund or Not participating inthe Democracy Fund are both part of the game. Enough of that. Let’s stop talking about it because it has nothing to do with how people are going to vote.

True enough about the playing the game with the rules as written. And I concede that no one yet knows how important an issue Mr. Fernandez’, Mr. Nemerson’s and Senator Harp’s cynical and naked attempts to collect big contributions from contractors, corporations, unions, businesses, and wealthy individuals will be.

But what is anyone supposed to do with the second part of what I’ve quoted above? After all, if it has “nothing to do with how people are going to vote” what does it matter? Or should everyone just “stop talking about it” because you would prefer it not become an issue?

posted by: Curious on April 26, 2013  9:31am

William Kurtz says, “Or should everyone just “stop talking about it” because you would prefer it not become an issue?”

BINGO!  Every poster I have seen here who says that how money is raised is not an issue has been someone who has also been supporting one of the questionably-financed candidates: Nemerson, Fernandez, and Harp.

That’s kind of like saying, “Nothing to see here, move along, it’s not big deal who we take money from…no one cares!” 

People do care, and are not going to be fooled come campaign season.  This is going to be an issue, and a major one.  We who care about clean elections are going to make it one.

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