Hillhouse Principal Kermit Carolina formally kicked off his mayoral campaign with a new idea for fighting gang violence and a no-thank-you to the city’s most politically powerful union.
At an official launch party Wednesday night for his campaign to become New Haven’s next mayor, Carolina floated the idea of using a “gang injunction” to crack down on violent criminals.
He also officially withdrew his name for consideration for endorsement by Yale’s UNITE HERE Local 34 union, decrying a “sham process” in which he said union leadership is trying to impose its political will on the rank and file.
Carolina made those comments in front of some 120 people gathered at the Community Outreach Center on Orchard Street.
Carolina is one of seven Democrats vying for the mayor’s office, which will be vacated at the end of the year when John DeStefano leaves after two decades in the post. The primary election is Sept. 10.
A “New Way”
Carolina made his appearance with his family, accompanied by a loop of the eponymous lyric from Drake’s “Started From The Bottom Now We Here.” From behind a podium, Carolina spoke from prepared remarks saved on his iPad.
He said he plans to usher in “a new way of doing business” in New Haven.
“Gone are the days of keeping the well-off and connected even more well-off and connected,” he said.
“DeStefano acted more like a real estate agent than a mayor,” Carolina said. DeStefano put a “For Sale” sign in front of City Hall and rewarded developers who contributed to his campaigns, Carolina argued. Carolina is one of four Democratic candidates committed to running as part of the voluntary public-financing Democracy Fund, which seeks to limit the influence of special-interest money on government; candidates qualify for public money under the system if they agree to cap individual campaign donations at $370 (rather than $1,000) and swear off contributions from outside committees.
“This campaign is about bringing the issue of poverty to the forefront,” Carolina said. Poverty leads to a “vicious cycle” of lack of parenting, failure in school, teen pregnancy, unemployment, crime and incarceration, he said.
On the issue of education, Carolina called for “prenatal to age 8” programs, to make sure expectant mothers know how to teach their child to read. He called for “high-quality” pre-schools. And he said he would reduce the number of administrators in the school system.
On development, Carolina said he’d like to merge city government’s economic development department with the Department of Arts, Culture and Tourism to form the Department of Community Development and Tourism. He said he’d like to open “small-business incubators” on the “major avenues of distressed neighborhoods.” He said he wants to “enhance the waterfront” with trails for cyclists and pedestrians, a pier, and aquarium, a history museum, and shops.
“New Haven has to benefit New Haveners,” Carolina said. He said that, as mayor, he’d work with the state legislature to make a residency requirement for all city employees. He said he wants to look into the possibility of a commuter tax. He called for a “forensic audit” to account for “every dime spent” by the city and the Board of Ed.
On the issue of crime, Carolina praised DeStefano’s return to community policing. He said he’d pursue the possibility of a gang injunction against the “worst offenders.” Carolina later compared such an injunction to a restraining order against proven gang members. It could prevent gang members from hanging out in certain areas, or associating with certain people.
“A known pedophile can’t hang out at Chuck E. Cheese’s,” Carolina said. “Why should violent offenders” be allowed to hang out in the neighborhoods where they’ve committed crimes?
Bob Pellegrino, Carolina’s press secretary, said gang injunctions have been used in California and elsewhere and have stood up to legal challenges. Carolina said he doesn’t yet have the details of how the plan would work out. He said he’ll form a task force to look into it.
Carolina said he will not have trouble balancing his duties as principal with those of a mayoral candidate. He said he’s done a “pretty good job” so far of keeping the two roles separate. “My campaign begins after I’m off work.”
“I have unused vacation time I’m going to make use of over the summer” as the election gets closer, he said.
“A Sham Process”
After the applause following his kick-off speech died down, Carolina announced he had a special announcement. He said that “after careful consideration” he is withdrawing his name from consideration for union endorsement by Local 34.
The union supports the most organized vote-pulling operation in town and in 2011 helped chart a takeover of the Board of Aldermen. A majority of the board’s seats are now held by labor-backed lawmakers. The union, along with Yale’s Local 35, has the resources and manpower to be a defining force again this election year.
Carolina said he took part in the union’s endorsement vetting process by being interviewed last week, then came to the conclusion that the “voices of the rank and file are being ignored by the upper echelons.” Suburban union leadership has already decided which candidate to endorse and is disregarding the will of New Haven union members, many of whom support him, Carolina said.
“I cannot and will not be part of a sham process,” Carolina said. He warned people to be wary of an “attempt by outsiders to manipulate the process.”
“I have inside sources telling me exactly what is going on,” Carolina said later. “I’m not going to legitimize this unfair process.” He said he will make his case for mayor directly to the rank and file, without the endorsement of union leadership.
Laurie Kennington, president of Local 34, said she was “disappointed to hear” Carolina had withdrawn his name.
“He may be making assumptions, since [mayoral candidate and state Sen.] Toni Harp has a 20-year record” of strong support for unions, that she’s already been chosen as the labor candidate.
Kennington said the union has not yet made a decision on whom it will endorse, but is set to begin deliberating. She said the executive board will discuss it and make a vote, “the same process we’ve always used.”
Kennington said that the executive board is “disproportionately” made up of New Haven residents. New Haveners comprise almost half of the executive board but only 1,000 of the union’s 3,600 members, said Kennington, who lives in Fair Haven.
The Community Outreach Center was outfitted with circular tables decorated with balloons for Carolina’s kick-off.
Attendees were treated to a healthy helping of campaign swag: Kermit Carolina buttons, bracelets, stickers, fans, tote bags, and pot holders, along with postcards and donation pledge cards reading “I got you Kerm.”
People feasted on chicken, ziti, meatballs, fruit, crackers, and cheese. The walls were lined with images of each of the city’s neighborhoods.
Defense attorney and civil-rights activists Mike Jefferson, a “key advisor” to the Carolina campaign, was in the house.
Carolina’s brother-in-law, magician and motivational speaker Nana Danso, started things off with some prestidigitation. He made red balls appear in the hand of Anne Lozon, the Westville woman who plans to campaign for city clerk as Carolina’s running mate.
Teacher Jack Paulishen was the evening’s emcee.
“We’re going to assume we’re not going to get the Democratic nomination,” said Bethany Watkins, director of field operations for the campaign. She said everyone needs therefore to get ready to collect signatures to get Carolina on the ballot.
Edgewood activist Eli Greer looked on as Carolina spoke.
Former West Rock Alderman Darnell Goldson applauded Carolina’s speech.
City clerk candidate Alderman Sergio Rodriguez joined the receiving line to shake Carolina’s hand.
Small wonder he has such a strong following: so much of what he said is spot on.
posted by: FromTheHill on May 30, 2013 7:29am
I am impressed!
posted by: cedarhillresident! on May 30, 2013 7:41am
Going down my FB bar and I see this headline…hmmm who could be…..omg!!! Kerm when I read it I stood up and did the wave at my desk!! BRAVO! I am impressed.
posted by: New Haven Taxpayer on May 30, 2013 7:44am
I like what he is saying and doing. Good luck Mr. Carolina.
posted by: Esbey on May 30, 2013 7:47am
Carolina may be withdrawing from the union endorsement process just because he is confident that it is going to Toni Harp anyway, but he is correct that the union Locals 34 and 35 are suburban dominated and quite likely to effectively choose the winner of the Democratic primary. With so many candidates splitting the vote, I think it may be impossible for anyone other than the union-backed candidate to win.
It is a big problem for our city. The Yale unions do a good job for their members at Yale, which is genuinely great, but I oppose any special interest group having a lock on the city government. The Yale unions favor higher taxes, is that what we want?
posted by: cedarhillresident! on May 30, 2013 8:22am
Esbey you are so right about that they favor higher taxes. Remember not one of the Untie alderman offered up ANY amendments! Not one??? To me they are eighter totally incompetent or they are doing what they are told, which ever it is this is bad for the city and will cause middle class to leave. When the middle class were pushed out of Hartford the city took a nose dive. Now they are doing all the can to get them back because they are the buffer and back bone to this city. A city with extremely well off and extremely poor is a disaster on its way
“New Haveners comprise almost half of the executive board but only 1,000 of the union’s 3,600 members, said Kennington, who lives in Fair Haven.” So let’s finish this simple math equation: therefore over half of the executive board lives OUTSIDE New Haven—as do over two-thirds of the union’s members. And these outsiders will choose New Haven’s new mayor?
posted by: Wooster Squared on May 30, 2013 8:27am
Very impressive opening. Bravo for calling out the unions. These folks have proven time and again that their primary mission is to siphon as much money as possible out of New Haven and into the pockets of their suburban membership.
It looks like Mr. Carolina is joining Justin and Gary in the list of candidates with integrity, vision and backbone. Like Justin and Gary, he seems to be genuinely concerned with making New Haven better for New Haveners instead of real-estate developers, unions and the politically well-connected.
It’s too bad the establishment candidates, One-City Henry and Toni Harp are still committed to running campaigns fueled by big donors and pandering to special interests.
posted by: SteveOnAnderson on May 30, 2013 8:54am
The article states that about 70% of Local 34 membership lives in the suburbs but under-50% of the leadership does. Carolina’s notion that the suburban-based leadership is making a decision without city-based membership is completely opposite of the actual breakdown. As for Local 35, my understanding is that the union and its leadership overwhelmingly live in the city. I’m not sure where you (or Carolina) get your view that L35—or its leadership—is suburban.
Whether or not I agree with it, I can understand your opposition to “any special interest group having a lock on the city government.” But your statement that “Locals 34 and 35 are suburban dominated” is simply not the case.
posted by: lawrence st on May 30, 2013 9:10am
I don’t understand where this idea that the unions are suburban comes from—most of the active union members I know live in New Haven, and care about what happens to the city they are happy to live in. Working for better jobs in New Haven—which I believe comes from ensuring that holding a single, full-time job is enough to live on—should be all of our goals. It will help reduce violence. It will help our revenue problem. It will make our city better.
posted by: anonymous on May 30, 2013 9:10am
“New Haveners comprise ALMOST HALF of the Executive Board.”
Translation: New Haven residents ALMOST get to choose what the future of this city will be like.
Will we cater to suburban interests—building more parking lots, and exporting more of our low-income families’ tax dollars out so suburban residents and Big Money contractors can purchase more SUVs—or will we rebuild our own neighborhoods and keep the money local, as Carolina suggests?
posted by: Esbey on May 30, 2013 9:54am
C.S.—thanks for pointing out that almost half is not more than half.
But even more important is that the union leadership, regardless of where they live, have a legal and moral obligation to look after the interests of their union members, and nothing else.
In almost all cases, this points to higher and higher taxes for city residents.
Unfortunately, the union’s political machine in practice also typically opposes private tax-paying development (like the Star Supply redevelopment) so that the higher tax revenue the union seeks is not generated by commercial development, but by higher residential property taxes and higher rents.
posted by: Curious on May 30, 2013 10:01am
Myself and fellow Local 34 members have asked the leadership what the heck is going on with the mayoral race, and been shut out. Make of that what you will.
posted by: TheMadcap on May 30, 2013 10:10am
They’re almost certainly to grandiose(we’re never getting an aquarium, we’d be lucky to get the pier) to ever be done, but man do I love the waterfront ideas. New Haven’s entire waterfront has essentially been left to rot beyond Lighthouse Park.
posted by: anonymous on May 30, 2013 10:16am
Esbey, it seems ironic that “social justice” leaders oppose developments such as Star Supply, given that building a lot more housing (like, one new 360 State Street development or equivalent every year) is the only way we are going to make this a more affordable place to live.
The Union should set aside a portion of its member dues to advocate for more rapid permitting and incentives for private housing developers in our cities.
posted by: Threefifths on May 30, 2013 10:36am
For those who keep saying the unions.Give me a break.It is not the union it is the way the voting system is set up.Second it is not the union but the Democratic party which is in control.Remember it is the Democratic Town committee ward Chair people that picks who will run for office.It is not the so call union running things,It is still the machine runing things.If you want to solve this problem demand that we have Instant Runoff Voting.
posted by: Wooster Squared on May 30, 2013 9:27am
Very impressive opening. Bravo for calling out the unions. These folks have proven time and again that their primary mission is to siphon as much money as possible out of New Haven and into the pockets of their suburban membership.
This is what he said He also officially withdrew his name for consideration for endorsement by Yale’s UNITE HERE Local 34 union, decrying a “sham process” in which he said union leadership is trying to impose its political will on the rank and file.He said he will make his case for mayor directly to the rank and file, without the endorsement of union leadership.
He called out union leadership not the union.
It looks like Mr. Carolina is joining Justin and Gary in the list of candidates with integrity, vision and backbone. Like Justin and Gary, he seems to be genuinely concerned with making New Haven better for New Haveners instead of real-estate developers, unions and the politically well-connected
Do your homework Gary works for the union at Southern Connecticut State University.
posted by: Eddie on May 30, 2013 10:45am
Did you just really suggest, as a progressive policy, that union members and their families should subsidize wealthy private development firms?
posted by: Blue on May 30, 2013 10:49am
I love Carolina’s candidness and honesty. I wish he were superintendent of schools. He would take out the garbage.
posted by: Razzie on May 30, 2013 11:33am
I am always amazed at how candidates line up and trip all over themselves begging to get the Union to endorse, but when the vote goes against them they cry “sham” and “foul”. Looks and sounds like sour grapes to me. If the vote went their way, you wouldn’t hear so much as a peep from the fawning candidates. Politics.
posted by: alexey on May 30, 2013 11:44am
If I read this right, then 2,600 suburban unionists (72 percent of the total) cannot vote in the New Haven mayoral election. And, more than half of the executive board also cannot vote. So, why seek their endorsement?
It is smart politics to snub an endorsement you are not going to get. I support unionized labor, fair pay for work, reasonable health benefits, and protection of workers from managerial malfeasance. The trouble comes when unions abuse work rules and politicians sign deals that are not properly funded (pensions) and don’t maximize worker productivity for the tax dollars spent.
The “gang injunction” idea is interesting. A quick trip to Google shows it can withstand legal challenges if carefully crafted, but its cost and efficacy are open to question. I am surprised this idea was thrown out with not much thought on the details.
posted by: Eddie on May 30, 2013 11:44am
I tend to agree with Razzie. Why did Carolina participate in the process in the first place? He would be much more credible if his message was consistent.
posted by: GoodNatured on May 30, 2013 12:17pm
Kermit Carolina is a brave man who speaks the truth.
I am impressed.
posted by: Bill Saunders on May 30, 2013 12:23pm
If there was a nominating petition available at this meeting, I am sure Ms. Watkins could have gotten almost all of the 155 signatures required.
posted by: Esbey on May 30, 2013 12:34pm
Eddie, I don’t think that is what Anon meant. I think he meant that union members and their families should be in favor of *unsubsidized* private development that increases our tax base and the economic vitality of the city. The Star Supply re-development was looking for zero dollars of government subsidy.
posted by: SteveOnAnderson on May 30, 2013 12:52pm
I’m not exactly sure what it has to do with the article at hand, but the irony is actually that no one opposed the Star Supply development. You can say it as many times as you want, but that don’t make it true.
In conversations with the developer, several people (including myself) pushed them to look into and plan for a percentage of subsidized housing to be included in the development. The proposal brought to the city was a sheer suburbanization of urban space with its 269 $1000-$1500 studios and one-bedrooms. I’m all for increasing housing, but it should be affordable for more than just well-off single professionals. It’s about the conditions of development and the community having a role in shaping those conditions. You and I were both outraged by the recent street sale to Yale at least in part because it means ceding any further public access to discussions about the use of that space, so I would think you get this point.
It’s not at all out-of-line with social justice programs, and if you want to better understand the reasoning (rather than just react negatively against it), I urge you to look into work by David Harvey, Neil Smith, the essays collected in The Gentrification Reader, or any number of articles & blogs online about resisting gentrification and displacement. It will challenge (what seem to be) your New Urbanist views, but I urge to attempt to understand the position with which you claim to disagree.
posted by: Eddie on May 30, 2013 12:53pm
Anon said that the union should set aside member dues to create a fund that lobbies for the interests of private development firms (e.g. streamlining the permitting process). Seems like a subsidy to me.
The suggestion is so bizarre, I can only observe that we are deep into the anti-union rabbit hole.
posted by: anonymous on May 30, 2013 1:07pm
Eddie, I wrote that the Union should make it a priority to use dues to advocate for many more housing units, particularly in transit-rich areas such as Upper State Street, if they care about families in our area.
The question of “subsidies” is a much more complex one. I do not think Union dues should be used to subsidize or reduce the cost of housing, but that’s only because I think it would be much more effective for them to use that money instead to advocate for policies (like allowing denser housing) that would do that.
posted by: Esbey on May 30, 2013 1:38pm
Eddie, sorry, you are correct that the unions should not be asked to take dues money and spend it studying how to change zoning.
SteveOnAnderson, the only Star Supply redevelopment project that anyone has proposed to build with their own money was in fact opposed and defeated. It is not lying to say so. I do understand that you have an alternative imaginary development on that site that you favor.
posted by: Eddie on May 30, 2013 1:48pm
Unions should spend their member’s dues to lobby for the private development of studio and one-bedroom luxury apartments that rent for $1000-$1500? This is progressive politics? And yet demanding that a larger share of these apartments are affordable housing is a barrier to progressive politics?
posted by: anonymous on May 30, 2013 1:50pm
SteveOnAnderson - So were they just giving advice, or opposing it? If the former, that’s great. We should all advocate for buildings designed by RAM Stern and affordable to the masses. But, in the end, the developer should still be allowed and encouraged to build as many units as possible.
Housing built for upper income families today becomes housing for the middle class tomorrow. Trying to limit new housing construction to affordable units is, ironically, a recipe for making our housing market much less affordable. We need more units, period - it matters less whether they are fancy units with granite counters or simple units with drywall, because the market determines the price of almost every housing unit, regionally.
That said, it would be more than appropriate to create some economic incentives, such as allowing the developer to eliminate parking spaces or add more stories if they agree to make 20% of the units deed restricted to families making under a certain AMI. These need to be done using government tools such as zoning or grants, not on a project by project basis.
posted by: Bill Saunders on May 30, 2013 2:02pm
Your continued call for development ‘at all costs’ is disconcerting.
posted by: HewNaven on May 30, 2013 2:08pm
In a few short weeks, Carolina has gone from not being able to decide if he would even run to being the most out-spoken and innovative candidate in the field. Congratulations to his campaign. I like what I’m hearing.
posted by: westville man on May 30, 2013 2:22pm
Carolina was initially told that the process would be open and fair. He was hearing this from local union members. As time went on it became clear that from the very start, the leadership had made up its mind and despite their protestations to the contrary, it remained that way. He got tired of the charade and pulled out. As far as the gang injunction, despite what Alexey believes, Kermit has given that enough thought and research to believe we should pursue the possibility of using it. It wasnt just “thrown out w/o much thought.” Its use would require more study and input before implementing. Isn’t that what we look for in a candidate? It’s certainly not business as usual.
posted by: anonymous on May 30, 2013 2:31pm
Hypothetical scenario: Carolina endorses Elicker and becomes the next Superintendent.
posted by: SteveOnAnderson on May 30, 2013 3:00pm
Esbey, There was no opposition; there was a coalition of neighbors who called for meetings with the developer to express neighborhood concerns. Local residents gave the developer a signed statement expressing the concerns that had been brought up in those conversations, and the statement included language supporting the development. The development proposal was turned down by the BZA, which has no public interface that I am aware of. Had the developer gone through a process that included public input rather than the closed-door route of seeking 10+ ordinance variances, it is likely an agreement could have been reached. Anyone who values transparency in local government and its agreements with private developers ought to celebrate residents making their voices heard rather than supporting the back-room deals that get passed through ordinance variances.
anonymous, In addition to the above, I would add that the only thing that kept the developer from moving forward was the BZA decision, which in my understanding has no public hearings process. That is why the developer sought to go the back-room route, and that is why local residents sought a direct discussion with the developer. There was no attempt to limit the development to affordable housing, but simply an effort to keep ~20% of the housing at Workforce level, in harmony with the character of the neighborhood. No one wants to be displaced for trying to help their own neighborhood!
Keep in mind that the developer calculated the rent for the units based on the average income for New Haven County (i.e. suburbs=~$63,000) rather than the City of New Haven (~$38,000). THAT is dominance of suburban interests! Furthermore, the developer was a New York City-based group that employed the architect of the Brooklyner (tallest building in Brooklyn & symbol of Brooklyn’s gentrification) and the “luxurious 5 star” Istanbul Hyatt.
posted by: Curious on May 30, 2013 3:18pm
Not sure why my previous comment wasn’t published, but “the union” or Local 34 as we due-paying members call it, should spend it’s time and money on advancing our benefits and contracts, and not playing developer or kingmaker or any other crap.
If you want to engage in social engineering, go start your own company or non-profit, and stop telling other people how their money should be spent.
posted by: HewNaven on May 30, 2013 3:56pm
I can’t believe more Local 34 members are not as vocal as you are. They should all be outrage that the union that represents their internal work interests is so invested outside of the workplace. Can any Local 34 E.Board members explain the connection between local politics and working for your members? Are you just bored of the latter? You’ve certainly done a fantastic job getting them to be the most secure jobs in higher education in the entire nation. Why not keep the focus there, why get into local politics when a full 2/3 of your membership cannot even vote in the election!!
posted by: Esbey on May 30, 2013 3:57pm
The New Haven Independent on the “absence of opposition” to the Star Supply redevelopment:
“With two dozen neighbors standing silently by, the zoning board voted to deny a developer permission to rehab a vacant Goatville industrial building into hundreds of new apartments . . . In voting against the plan, the BZA sided with concerned neighbors, who had expressed alarm at the proposed height of the building and the limited parking for the number of apartments . . . Tuesday night’s meeting was not a public hearing. Neighbors nonetheless made their message clear. When the Star Supply item came up on the agenda, two dozen people stood up to silently register their presence and their stake in the matter. The group included East Rock Alderwoman Jessica Holmes, who has been organizing concerned neighbors, as well as Alderwomen Jackie James and Dolores Colon, and Pastor Scott Marks . . . The group moved to the front of the room, where they had a brief testy exchange with BZA legal counsel when he told them they could not ask any questions. BZA Chair Pat King began deliberations by acknowledging neighbors’ concerns about density.”
posted by: Anders on May 30, 2013 5:10pm
I have become very bored with this campaign, and the trivia that is doled out by the Independent under the guise of ‘News’. I was thinking how I could deal with another 5 months of it. You all know what I mean. The MAN FROM OMNI declares he’s naive. Yes, we all know, and it doesn’t seem you’ve learnt your lesson. Then there’s the constant Twitter-fest from HOUSE OF CARDS HENRY. Henry cleaned his teeth twice today, patted 193 babies on the head, had a good square dance at the Freemasons lodge, and went home early to read his bible before going to bed. Well, this one is a gem from CAROLINA. Such chutzpah. I told the unions to go shove it. It’s obvious they told him to go shove it, as his campaign manager quit yesterday. Got to give him credit for his brass neck on putting a good spin on it. The way this is going the only prediction I’m making on elections is JOHNNY THE TELLER will be back at the helm come January 2016.
SoA: I think Esbey raises a good point. Perhaps there was no opposition, but our only documentation is what the news reported—which is not the happy and cheerful invitations to sit down and talk that you seem to be describing them as.
I’m a little confused as to why you describe BZA as a closed-doors route: BZA is a government body, which must maintain robust records, allow for citizen input, and listen to opposition.
You and your friends meeting with the developers behind closed doors and not inviting the general public doesn’t seem to me to be transparent: who was going to take up independent notes in that process?
How were you going to notify people who you don’t know, who may be interested? The city does it by posting a notice in the paper and on the building. Where you going to do that?
Forgive me, but I read some minor threat in your comment too: did you mean to imply that the only way to develop in New Haven is to meet with you & other union members?
If you’re wondering what I saw as a subtle threat: I really thought you seemed to state that the logical end of going to BZA is a denial, and that if the developer had instead agreed to private meetings with union reps they’d have gotten their way.
I’m sorry, but that sounds like a very veiled and subtle threat to developers—do it through us, or don’t do it all.
Hey Kerm—Who advised you to pick that song as a representation of yourself?—fire that person immediately—you are much more than that—I never heard the song until two days ago when my daughters (14 and 16) played it for me—“Started from the bottom, now we here” is OK but the lines that come after are not—show the class that you have always shown—you are a champion in so many ways—please be the leader we all know you can be for all people—I have so much more to say—but I am going to stop there—I wish you the best—Tom
posted by: SteveOnAnderson on June 1, 2013 3:52am
Alders Holmes & Elicker both included the meetings in their emails out to constituents. That is how I found out about them and chose to attend the meeting at Shiloh. I believe Holmes also went door-to-door down Mechanic St. to talk to people on the same street as the proposed development.
I have no idea where you get the notion of “veiled threats” to developers. People always have the power to meet with one another make things happen collectively; no one needs the sanction of political parties or government officials or developers or unions to do so. People all over the country gather to discuss proposed developments in their communities all the time, whether it be a housing complex or a Walmart. I call that being engaged with one another about developments in the area and the changes that might be brought by those developments. I believe that community impact reports and community benefits agreements are fantastic ways for developers, local officials, and communities to interact and make commitments to one another when appropriate.
I’m unclear about how you are making the connection to unions & union reps in this instance. As far as I know, there were no private or public meetings between the developer and any union representatives. I’m not sure which union(s) would have even attempted to meet with the developer. The meetings that were held were attended by people who live in the area, and had no relationship to any labor unions that I know of.
As for the BZA, in no way do I think the logical end was a denial, and that result was quite surprising to me. In fact, it is by going the route of ordinance variances that developments have been able to make back-room deals with city officials all over the country.
Thanks for clarifying, SoA! I hope you can understand how the comment could be read that way: it seemed as if you were proposing that BZA was a surefire way to fail & meetings outside of the political process were not.
As to notice: I don’t think email is sufficient when it comes to decisions like this. Many people don’t check their emails regularly. Any real attempt to direct development in a neighborhood requires public notices that exist in the current system already: I’m always amazed at how many people in a neighborhood actually do check for notices when they see construction and then go to meetings!
De facto neighborhood meetings are good, but with neither documentation from unbiased staff nor non-email public notice, they should never be a substitute for a transparent public process.
posted by: Seth P on June 2, 2013 1:19pm
“Hypothetical scenario: Carolina endorses Elicker and becomes the next Superintendent.” Anonymous
Kermit Carolina can become Superintendent without any endorsements. His body of work qualifies him for the job.
Kerm is without a doubt a very good man and a citizen of the people of New Haven. His ideas are poignant and worthy of exploration.
Ultimately, the sham is the fact that so many people are running for Mayor and some people (who will remain nameless at this juncture) should consider withdrawing themselves from the ballot for the sake of a clean election. The splitting of votes amongst so many candidates dilutes the effectiveness of this year’s primary. It should not matter where your money comes from if you have strong points that take ALL of the citizens of New Haven into account.
Let’s all wait to watch the real sham play itself out. We need to get eligible voters out in force to combat this utterly ridiculous spectacle of democracy in action. Pun intended.