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AWOL Alderman Resigns; 2 Candidates Emerge

by Thomas MacMillan | Jan 8, 2013 9:01 am

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

Posted to: City Hall, Politics, Fair Haven

Melissa Bailey File Photo MacMillan Graphic; Appel Photo Fair Haven’s Ward 14 should finally have an alderman representing it by the end of February—maybe a soccer league organizer or a Wilbur Cross biology teacher.

The seat opened up now that Gabriel Santiago—the first-term alderman who hasn’t shown up to City Hall for a meeting since July 2, and who has been incommunicado with constituents and the press—has finally formally resigned.

A new aldermanic seat has opened up now that Gabriel Santiago—the first-term alderman who hasn’t shown up to City Hall for a meeting since July 2, and who has been incommunicado with constituents and the press—has finally formally resigned.

The city clerk now has the responsibility for choosing a date for a special election to fill the seat. That election is supposed by law to take place at some time within the next 45 days.

At least two possible candidates have emerged to take Santiago’s place on the board.

Santiago Berrios-Bones, a 64-year-old biology teacher at Wilbur Cross High School, said he had considered a run for the seat, before a group of Latino leaders in November picked a woman named Tatiana Davila as the favorite to succeed Santiago.

Reached by phone, Davila declined to say if she will run. If she doesn’t, Berrios-Bones might, he said. “I’m interested, but I have to talk to my wife. This is another decision we have to make.”

Alberto Bustos, a 62-year-old Grand Avenue businessman, said he’s ready to run.

Bustos, who’s from Peru, said he’s lived in Fair Haven for 31 years. He has a travel agency on Grand Avenue called Expresso Latino, where he wires money for customers and helps people with income tax preparation. He said he used to run a Spanish newspaper called Los Andes.

Bustos also runs the New Haven Men’s Soccer League. In 2009, when the city booted soccer players from the league off fields on Ella T. Grasso Boulevard, Bustos helped lead a successful campaign to reinstate them

“I would like to keep working with the community,” Bustos said. He said he would wants work with kids in Fair Haven, to find more things for them to do after school. “They are the future.”

Showing Up

MacMillan Graphic; Appel Photo Santiago’s resignation letter appeared at the Office Of Legislative Services Monday afternoon. Someone hand-delivered it. It was unclear Monday night who that someone was.

It read:

To whom it may concern.

I am writing to notify you that, effective immediately, I am resigning from my position as Alderman for Ward 14.

I appreciate the opportunity I have been given and wish I could have served my community for the entire aldermanic term, but personal responsibilities and family issues will prevent me from doing so.

I thank the members of my community that assisted me and supported me during my term and I hope that Ward 14 can find a new alderman with the dedication and commitment that this neighborhood deserves.

Sincerely,
Gabriel Santiago.

While Santiago himself has failed to return requests for comment, his mother told the Independent last Friday to expect a resignation soon.

Santiago finished the year with an abysmal 32 percent attendance record at meetings of the full Board of Aldermen.

Both Berrios-Bones and Bustos promised they would beat that record if they were alderman.

Asked if he would attend meetings, Berrios-Bones said, “Why not? That’s what an alderman is supposed to do—go to the meetings and represent the ward. Otherwise, what is the sense of being an alderman?”

“I’d be at all the meetings,” said Bustos. “I’d have to do the job, of course.”

“He missed lots of meetings,” Bustos said of Santiago. “That’s not going to happen with me.”

 

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posted by: Reality on January 7, 2013  11:00pm

Can someone explain why it took the town and Mayor DeStefano 7 months to make an issue of this?
Was he being paid for those last 7 months?

posted by: streever on January 8, 2013  12:14am

Reality: I think the current salary of a BoA member is 2,000, so, who cares if he was paid? 7 months is what, roughly 1100.

His non-attendance is the bigger issue—and the lack of oversight we have on “employees” who are paid 2,000 per year.

Unfortunately the current BoA is dysfunctional in that they are unwilling to hear that a 30 member board representing 100,000 people is ridiculous. I guarantee you that no member of the BoA, nor anyone from Local 34/CCNE, nor SoA, ... can provide even ONE example of a functional representative group with 1 representative per 3300 constituents, yet, this group completely blockaded citizen interest in reducing the number of reps.

1 rep told me that it was “racism” to suggest that we need less alders.

Something has to change—and for starters, it should be the number of alders.

posted by: RCguy on January 8, 2013  12:59am

He’s 22 years old?

22!

Had I been on the BoA at age 22, the City would only now be starting the path to recovery… and I would still be on probation. And the City Hall bathrooms would still have traces of various illicit substances and fluids everywhere. So….

I give Gabriel credit for even running at all! I’m sure he has a bright future.

posted by: HhE on January 8, 2013  1:19am

Streever, you said “functional,” right?  As I was thinking Greenwich’s RTM, which has 230 members, but is does NOT qualify as functional. 

You are right, personal and group accountability is the greater issue, and a smaller BoA would be a good step in that direction.  I fear that the pyridine micro neighborhood constituent services is going to continue to trump sensible reforms. 

More often than not it seams, in New Haven “racism” is code for “I disagree with you, and your skin color is different than mine.” 

Ugh!

posted by: Greg-Morehead on January 8, 2013  1:45am

@streever
I agree with you 100%.  When I served on the board, I raised that issue to some of my colleagues to decrease the number of Alders and it was shot down, quick fast and a hurry. 
Forget about it now coming before the board again, the Union is in control of the BOA, and NOT the other way around.  They are going to milk the “power” that they supposedly have, for as long as they can.  They don’t realize, this all comes at an expense of who?  Us, the taxpayers!
Greg Morehead

posted by: robn on January 8, 2013  9:47am

Sooo…elephant in the middle of the room

Is Tatiana Davila a union supermajority pick?

and more importantly…

Can the union supermajority really be trusted if their last pick was a no show?

posted by: Claudia Herrera on January 8, 2013  10:01am

@GregMorehead and Streever

That is why I’m strongly suggesting;
          limited terms
NOT only for a mayor position but for Alders. 5 years for Mayor and 3 for Alders. Fresh start every 3 years will force to the current mayor to deal with issues with a different perspective, and those alders will feel the pressure to give what they got to represent the community who elected them.

One more thing, more o less people 100’s 1000’s by ward are not a big difference comparing with the big ego some alders can develop over the the years. Some imposing their personals point of view (interests) I guess this is like any other job, after you feel countable (even if you are being good community advocate) you think you can do as you please. This position should be a constantly remainder as opportunity to all of us to be the community voice. And keep up with the politics (lol)if that is possible.

posted by: Threefifths on January 8, 2013  10:42am

For those who say the unions are in control.How about the years of control by the crooked two party system under which Greg Morehead was control by.How many of those who are a part of the BOA for years are control by the same crooked two party system.The question to ask is why do you keep voting them in and why is there no Term Limits,Run off voting and proportional representation which would give the voters more voice and power.

posted by: robn on January 8, 2013  11:01am

CLAUDIA,

I agree with a smaller BOA but if terms are extended they should be 4 years for both mayor and aldermen and synchronized with presidential elections to reinforce turnout. If anything, a 4 year term should give ownership (of either success or failure) to elected officials. I also wish that there would be possibility for citizen recall in extreme circumstances and with a very high bar but I don’t think this is allowed in CT.

posted by: robn on January 8, 2013  11:21am

3/5,

If the charter commission wanted to propose IRV for New Haven would that be legal in the State of CT?

posted by: streever on January 8, 2013  11:25am

Robn:
I can’t speak to the intentions behind the current charter and current terms, but I suspect at some point the thinking was that if the Mayor/B of A aren’t synchronized, you have a way to ensure continuity of direction and a check/balance.

I think these types of discussions should be part of a robust public discussion, and am disappointed that our current B of A knighted a small group of people from within their own circle to be the sole voice.

The only group that has so far encouraged public discourse on our charter was a small group of citizens, holding no office, and simply doing so in hopes of improving our city.

posted by: Greg-Morehead on January 8, 2013  12:01pm

@Threefifths
First off, I’m not going to go back and forth with you.  I wasn’t controlled by anyone at City Hall.  When it came time to vote, I informed my constituents of what was about to take place, asked them for their input, and voted accordingly.  Like I have said in the past and will continue to say, just because I went into the position with the support of City Hall, doesn’t mean that I was controlled by them.  I would rather have the support so that I can get things done for my Ward, then be on the opposite side and its always an uphill battle and nothing gets accomplished.  But, lets deal with the issue at hand.  The Unions presently are the ones running the Board.  Where is the outrage?  Where is the frustration with what is going on? Again, we the residents are the ones that are feeling the brute force of their control!  The Unions throw them a bone every now and then to make it look like they are doing something and then its back to hoodwinking as usual.  Its good that Gabe got out when he did. 

Every promise that every Union backed Alder came to our door and proclaimed, how come we are not holding them to it?  Its election year again, and they will be back around with the Unions selling us dreams.  What are we going to do?

posted by: anonymous on January 8, 2013  12:16pm

Hopefully whoever is elected will actually represent the neighborhood, not just do whatever the CCNE/Union private special interest says.

posted by: Kevin on January 8, 2013  1:14pm

@ my friend Streever

for what it is worth, each member of the New Hampshire House of Representatives has about 3,300 constituents.

posted by: accountability on January 8, 2013  1:15pm

Why do so many NHI commenters fear and hate democracy?

One alder of 30 flaked out and has now resigned, so we should reduce the size of the board, impose term limits and lengthen terms? All of these things take choices away from voters and/or remove candidates from face to face contact with voters. Explain why one messed up aldermen of thirty requires these changes, please.

It’s not as if Democrats representing 700,000 people don’t get caught with 90 grand in cash wrapped in aluminum foil in their freezer and Republicans representing a whole state don’t get caught soliciting sex in airport bathrooms.

According to the NHI, this Board of Aldermen has a better attendance record than previous boards, and any fair reader of the NHI end of the year stories can only conclude that, whether or not you agree with what they’re doing, the Board as a whole have established themselves as independent of the Mayor and committed to representing their constituents.

And they do it by staying in close contact with their neighbors. Reducing the size of the Board will reduce the likelihood that alders will know their constituents by name, and substitute money and advertising for door to door campaigning.

As for term limits, as a voter all I can say is go to hell. If I like how my incumbent is doing, I want to be able to for for her or him. If I don’t I can exercise my own term limit every two years—It’s called an election.

As a political junkie, all I can say is show me where term limits make legislatures any more functional or democratic. All the reporting on the California legislature is that it became MORE dependent on lobbyists, not less, after the imposition of term limits. The lobbyists became the permanent institutional memory, and
legislators in their final terms shamelessly sucked up to industry because they needed jobs when they got termed out.

The last thing New Haven needs is more professional politicians and big money elections.

posted by: SSSS on January 8, 2013  1:25pm

@Accountability,

Nice post, thanks.  I’d be interested to see some of the reporting that you refer to from California.  I used to feel like you do about term limits…that they were essentially admitting that we were too stupid to vote out incumbents when it was time.  Recently, I have begun to fear that we actually are too stupid, and that they may be a necessary evil to save us from ourselves.  But I would certainly be interested to read some empirical evidence on the subject.

posted by: streever on January 8, 2013  1:32pm

accountability

I absolutely promise you I am not being facetious.

A. No one wants to reduce alders PURELY because of one AWOL alder. We’ve been talking about a reduction in alders for years because the current system rewards special interest groups who can field enough money to run 20 different elections. You may like the current special interest group, but for the past 18 years, you probably didn’t. We’d like to avoid repeating the past 18 years or the current 2 years again, and one way to do that is by strengthening individual alders while reducing the strength that one well-connected or wealthy person can exert by outspending opponents.

B. No one “hates and fears” democracy—it is a gross assumption on your part that measures proposed to prevent special interest from dominating local elections is an expression of hatred or fear of democracy.

I pragmatically understand that democracy worked well for the ancient Greeks because they had little to do. Those Greeks who COULD vote and who did have a say were incredibly well informed, because their days were full of leisure. They worked little, leaving most chores to their slaves and servants.

The reality is that no one has the time or energy to attend every meeting and really know all 30 alders.

Cities with functional representation (Stamford, NYC, San Francisco, etc, etc, etc) all have less alders per person than we do. Those of us who are looking at models that function in the rest of the world and wishing we could move toward that here are not doing so because we “hate” or “fear” anything—we’re just looking at functioning models and wishing beyond hope that our own city could just TRY to move toward functioning.

posted by: HhE on January 8, 2013  1:57pm

I don’t think telling people who disagree to “go to hell” is good argumentation (the offense turns people off to the message), and I do not see how it is compliant with NHI policy.

posted by: robn on January 8, 2013  3:05pm

A less numerous BOA is just as susceptible to big money manipulation as a more numerous BOA (and irony of ironies, lets not forget that the people who brought us the $15K-per-candidate aldermen elections in New Haven were the local unions, not the Koch brothers.)
My argument for a less numerous BOA is that it should be professionalized and paid commensurate with the time commitment (and before the tongues start wagging, its not elitist to want experienced professionals running the city..knowledge and experience is a good thing.)

posted by: accountability on January 8, 2013  5:29pm

HhE: Nothing personal intended, just making a rhetorical point that as a voter the idea of term limits is an insult to my intelligence. Says I’m too dumb to know my own interests. I don’t like being insulted.

Given that some of the people who strongly agree with your views regularly spew sickening, hateful anti-union garbage on this site, I find pearl clutching at the phrase “go to hell” a bit much, but anyway, hope this clarifies.

posted by: accountability on January 8, 2013  5:50pm

robn: “A less numerous BOA is just as susceptible to big money manipulation as a more numerous BOA”

Nope. Simple math. The more voters and geography you have to cover, the more that money plays a role.

The fewer voters and geography you have to cover, the more you can substitute personal contact for mail, media, etc.

More face to face contact, less media, more democracy.

posted by: Threefifths on January 8, 2013  5:51pm

posted by: robn on January 8, 2013 10:21am

3/5,

If the charter commission wanted to propose IRV for New Haven would that be legal in the State of CT

Yes it would be.In fact some states have it now.

Where Instant Runoff Is Used.

http://www.fairvote.org/where-instant-runoff-is-used

posted by: Threefifths on January 8, 2013  6:07pm

posted by: accountability on January 8, 2013 12:15pm

As for term limits, as a voter all I can say is go to hell. If I like how my incumbent is doing, I want to be able to for for her or him. If I don’t I can exercise my own term limit every two years—It’s called an election.

Term limits aren’t perfect, but they help to protect against candidates and voters who increasingly refuse to see beyond career politicians.Also Term limits mean a constant refresh of ideas, new blood.The people should take care of business but the people are apathetic.If you complain about corporations, unions, non profits buying elections, you should also be worried then about the small number of people who actually vote.

posted by: Morgan Barth on January 8, 2013  6:40pm

A smaller Board: If we had an 8, 12 or 15 member board the districts would still be very small and allow for healthy, get-to-your rep democracy.  It took more votes for me to get elected to my high school’s student senate than it does to be elected an alder in some wards.

A smaller BOA would be a more accountable BOA and a BOA in which each member can find more power and more of an ability to actually drive an agenda and get legislation passed. It may also lead to less of a parochial view (I’m here to serve my 20 square block constituency.)

Lastly—and it pains me to write this—I have to agree with Three-Fifths: Instant Run-Off voting is great —especially in multi-candidate primaries.

Morgan

posted by: EastRockIndependent on January 8, 2013  6:45pm

>>>streever: No one wants to reduce alders PURELY because of one AWOL alder. We’ve been talking about a reduction in alders for years because the current system rewards special interest groups who can field enough money to run 20 different elections. You may like the current special interest group, but for the past 18 years, you probably didn’t. We’d like to avoid repeating the past 18 years or the current 2 years again, and one way to do that is by strengthening individual alders while reducing the strength that one well-connected or wealthy person can exert by outspending opponents.<<<

How on earth does expanding the size of the Board - and thereby expanding the size of the electorate in each ward - make it easier for “independent” or non-interest-affiliated candidates - to run and win elections? You don’t need much money to win a Board of Aldermen race in the current system, where you can reach every single voter at their door - if you’re willing to work that hard. Historically many “independent” candidates have not been willing to do that kind of work, or to build a team in their neighborhood to do that work with. But the path to new aldermen is much more easy under a 30-ward system than under a 15-ward system. The reasons the Mayor had such firm control on the Board were about far more than elections, as any decent political scientist can tell you. Factors such as the size of his staff (3,000+ city staff vs maybe 10 at the BoA), control over the flow of information and the shaping of the budget, a mayoralty defined by divide & conquer politics, and a lack of cohesion and working together at the BoA were some among a number of factors that made the BoA so weak historically. This past year, that last factor has shifted tremendously with the wave of aldermen elected. Has everything changed as a result? Of course not - but it has led to many great results for taxpayers and our city as a whole, in my opinion.

posted by: robn on January 8, 2013  6:57pm

ACCOUNTABILITY,

I did not argue that less ward geography and fewer voters equals the same campaign expenditure. I argued that a less numerous BOA is just as susceptible to big money manipulation as a more numerous BOA. My point was that even with our existing system, with fewer voters to connect to, the unions dropped an A-bomb of cash into those races with great effect. The game has changed and big money is here to stay. So for me it really comes down to your nom de plume…to me, fewer Aldermen equals more accountability.

posted by: dorothy25 on January 8, 2013  7:17pm

@ robn: 

What exactly do you mean by more professional?  When you think about reducing the size of the Board, which wards or seats would you eliminate?  Clearly, the current Board’s “functionality” is generating a feeling among the NHI blogging world that some alders should be eliminated.  Who would they be?  I’m just trying to get to the real sentiment here.  And before anyone comes back saying that I’m trying to bait them into personally attacking alders, let me say, I am genuinely curious in how you believe this would or should play out.  Who are the notoriously underperforming wards/alders who you believe should be forced to compete with neighboring wards/alders?

posted by: HhE on January 8, 2013  8:44pm

There are some lessons from this, and a paradigm discussion worth having.

One ought to know what is involved in an elected office, before running.  How many people have stood for election in a CMT thinking it would be easy? 

If one cannot, or will not serve, they ought to resign—in a timely manor.  While it appears Alderperson Santiago was paid about $1,000 for not showing up,I dare the cost of the election will be greater.  Greater still is the cost to the people he was supposed to represent.  Why RCguy is celebrating him, I do not understand.

If the NHI uses a clever milk carton to illustrate an article, the flood gates of mockery will open. 

I am sure there are other lessons here.


It seams to me that the dominant paradigm in New Haven is that the BoA ought to be focused on neighborhood services, that a large, (and largely dysfunctional) board suits this hyper-focused approach. 

I think it is seriously worth thinking about a smaller, more professional board.  The “I call my alder person when I have a problem” could be replaced with a city hall that sought to solve citizens’ problems as its reason to exists.  The BoA could then be focused macro issues.

I put it to you, one lesson from this tale that speaks to this paradigm shift is that there may not be enough people truly qualified to serve on the BoA as it is currently constructed.


I am generally not in favor term limits.  I think they are a panacea answer that would make government more amateurish, and shift more power to power brokers.  However, I am certainly will to consider term limits. 

I do think what CCNE did to win the election, and what they have done with that victory is corrupt.  As a rule, I do not contribute to elections where I do not live.  There are any number of billionaires and multimillionaires I think ought to be in prison for trying to buy elections.  What CCNE did is no better.

posted by: accountability on January 8, 2013  10:20pm

Three Fifiths:

“The people should take care of business, but the people are apathetic.”

This is what I’m talking about when I say commenters don’t trust democracy. How arrogant—“I think the people are apathetic, so let’s limit their choices with a meaningless mechanical tool.” Me? I think voters are smart. When they are given a real choice, they’ll make it. If they’re given a choice between corporate tweedledum and tweedledee, a few will hold their noses and choose, and a lot will just not bother. Doesn’t matter if you get a couple of new tweedledums and tweedledees every eight years.

Fifteen states have term limits on their legislators: AZ, AR, CA, CO, FL, LA, ME, MI, MO, MT, NE, NV, OH, OK, SD What evidence could you offer that these states are any better or worse governed than others, that their legislative processes are “refreshed” by new ideas? I guess you could make the case for Oklahoma, which appears to have a factory that manufactures theocratic lunatics by the dozen and who do seem to always find new, creative ways to lock up people of color and force women into ever more humiliating rituals when seeking health care.

The term limits movement started thirty years ago. In addition to the legislatures, a majority of states have term limits for governor. During that time, our governing processes have become ever more corrupt. Term limits have no democratizing impact at all.

They just don’t.

More: “If you complain about corporations, unions, non profits buying elections, you should also be worried then about the small number of people who actually vote.”

I do. Worked my tail off registering voters and turning them out last two years.

Nationally, only one state saw its turnout increase over 20008, Nevada. In CT, New Haven was one of only a handful of towns that exceeded 2008. Both 2011 and 2012 saw huge increases in registration. Did you do anything to help those trends?

Something is happening in this town. The people aren’t apathetic at all. They realize that they now have real choices and are turning out in huge numbers to make them at the polls, and getting involved at the grassroots like never before.

They don’t need some mechanical trick to make their choices for them.

posted by: accountability on January 8, 2013  10:31pm

SSSS:

Technical fail—don’t know how to make the links hot, sorry.

But if you cut and paste them into your browser you’ll come to an in-depth series on lobbying in the Contra Costa Times and an article from Governing magazine. The newspaper article presents data about the relationship between lobbyists’ power and term limits in CA, and the Governing article points out more systemic governance problems with term limits.

http://www.contracostatimes.com/news/ci_15517816

http://www.governing.com/topics/politics/Truth-Term-Limits.html

posted by: accountability on January 8, 2013  10:45pm

Robn, please forgive me. I forgot that any election with an outcome you don’t like must be, by definition, illegitimate and undemocratic.

Are you denying that the 2011 BofA elections were won by the biggest grassroots mobilization in this town’s memory? Cuz when I was on the doors three days a week I saw a whole lot of people out there with me.

And even if you do suffer that particular delusion, whatever you think happened in 2011 doesn’t change the fact that smaller wards make it more possible to resist the influence of money as long as you have credible candidates working hard.

I’ve never seen an aldermanic TV ad. I hope I never have to.

posted by: streever on January 8, 2013  11:06pm

Accountability
The constituent services part of the alder job (including sidewalk repair requests, requests for police presence, etc) should not be necessary in the modern world. That should be part of Livable Cities, Management Teams, community policing: in short, by having this horribly inefficient system of amateur hour politicians performing largely mediocre work the City divests itself of our very real responsibility to improve the lives of our citizens in long-term meaningful ways.

Because “Jim” your alder takes care of a tree branch, the city feels free to ignore you.

Yes, in some idealized version of New Haven, these 30 alders are doing meaningful work for people, but the sad reality is that bad neighborhoods are still bad—and this group of people who supposedly care ensured that at least two of our neighborhoods will remain crippled by external forces for the next 40-50 years when they unanimously and without conditions approved Route 34.

Constituent services? The current Board refused offers and requests to meet and discuss one of the largest single projects in the last 50 years from no less than 5 different citizens.

My requests were ignored by an alder who had sat down for breakfast with me, assured me that they were invested and interested, and then proceded to cut and run on the issue, because this alder was told by their colleagues that any action which might negatively impact the streamlining of the Route 34 project was “political suicide”.

I’m sorry, but I don’t think we are well represented by people who are unwilling to make a stand on such important projects.

posted by: robn on January 8, 2013  11:23pm

DOROTHY25

What I mean by professionalizing is to make the positions full time and paid commensurate with the responsibility of running a half billion dollar organization.

What I mean by professional is someone with legislative, financial and legal experience who has exercised that experience in a professional forum where real livelihoods and public welfare is at stake.

What I mean by reducing the BOA is to either merge every other ward or redraw lines entirely, leaving it to the voters in each new ward to choose their representative.

posted by: Threefifths on January 8, 2013  11:53pm

posted by: accountability on January 8, 2013 9:20pm

Fifteen states have term limits on their legislators: AZ, AR, CA, CO, FL, LA, ME, MI, MO, MT, NE, NV, OH, OK, SD What evidence could you offer that these states are any better or worse governed than others, that their legislative processes are “refreshed” by new ideas?

And can you show the states that have do not have Term Limits are any better or worse governed than others,Also Term limits are a valuable governing measure to prevent anyone from becoming a career politician.Most of the major economic problems this country faces today can be traced back to the political class and career politicians.If Term Limits were so bad then how come Mayor Bloomberg made his pitch for extending Term Limits to three terms and the New York City Council approved it against the voice of the voters who voted for Term Limits.I also believe along with term limits,proportional representation.

The term limits movement started thirty years ago. In addition to the legislatures, a majority of states have term limits for governor. During that time, our governing processes have become ever more corrupt. Term limits have no democratizing impact at all.

The Founding Fathers believed that politics should be a duty to be performed for the sake of the common good, not for the sake of a career, not for the sake of being a politician.


P.S my bad how come the president of the united states have Term Limits.

posted by: Claudia Herrera on January 9, 2013  12:10am

Robn

Actually I will agreed with you about extended terms, 4 years and max of two, 8 years is plenty to any citizen to prove him/her self and give the chair to the next neighbor who cares means alders.
As the mayor position, the benefit I can value (means affecting) more now as running every two years is the mayor actually focus the last 4 to 6 months to be re-elected (money, very valuable time and interruption of projects, deals etc.)
Maybe limited terms will not resolve any problems that we are complaining, but it will take a lot more effort to come up with smart solution fast rather to wait for re-elections to look “beauty” again. (I will push 3 terms of 4 year for mayor) 

I second dorothy25 in the opinion of who and how many will decide which alder is worthless?


I don’t see any alder even proposing to open this to a public discussion, may be that is because they already made their own groups? I don’t know, hard to say; one thing is clear to me, alders can not be more that 8 year “helping” people, for me doesn’t make any difference if the alder ward has 100’s or 1000’s.  Truth leaders speak louder not because they have a microphone that is because their actions. People response and help when they feel understood. Obviously that is not happening now.

posted by: Threefifths on January 9, 2013  12:44am

@accountability

The newspaper article presents data about the relationship between lobbyists’ power and term limits in CA, and the Governing article points out more systemic governance problems with term limits.

And this you tube shows how lobbyists control career politicians.Term limits slows this down.

http://youtu.be/eBXRs8cbZj0

posted by: anonymous on January 9, 2013  11:07am

The problem in poor city decisions isn’t just the Alders, it’s primarily the people we hire to manage the city, i.e., the Executive Branch.

Sure, the Alders should provide oversight, but legislators can’t be expected to have expertise about everything, even if there are fewer of them and they are paid more. 

Both parties are to blame for the poor decisions made in New Haven over the past 10 years - decisions which will cripple our city in the years to come.

posted by: S Brown on January 9, 2013  11:52am

I’m not at all concerned about losing the “personal connection” with a smaller board. In fact, seeing as my ward hasn’t been represented by an alder that actually returns calls in at least five years, I’m already dependent on contacting alders from other wards if I want to get any kind of response.

posted by: Curious on January 9, 2013  1:51pm

Why can’t their be ten wards, each with three neighborhood captains that regularly meet with their alder to keep them informed of what’s going in?

posted by: accountability on January 9, 2013  2:44pm

Streever: At last we finally know what all this stuff about “professionalizing” the Board of Aldermen boils down to—Streever has a sad because the Board of Aldermen didn’t do what he thought they should do.

It’s about a small group of people who comment here and their small handful of friends in politics who just don’t understand why everyone else doesn’t agree with them. Since their views are indisputably correct, any elected official who doesn’t share their views must, of necessity, be corrupt or “unprofessional.”

Why are your opinions, as one person at breakfast any more important than anyone else’s?

Sure, corporate interests have a chokehold on politics. But the only way to break that is with large numbers of people. If you want people to listen to your views, organize! Next time you feel strongly about an issue, bring a couple of hundred people to breakfast. You’ll have a better shot. Just ask Alderwomen Clyburn and Foskey-Cyrus.

It’s remarkable that you would write at this moment that we should shrink the Board because the Board should be focused on policy and not constituent services. This Board is the first one in my memory that announced a formal, public citywide agenda and has focused its attention on those issues.

If you don’t like that agenda, do some organizing to change it.

posted by: streever on January 9, 2013  3:31pm

@Accountability:
Thank you for so grossly misstating my position, and making sure to insult me in your position.

I actually attempted to “organize” around Route 34, but sadly, was out-spent by you and your friends. What I’m concerned about is the gross application of capital to public discourse, which your friends did when they secured over a quarter of a million dollars in the last election cycle.

That was a first for New Haven aldermen, and that money didn’t come from New Haven. Much of it came from PA and other states.

I’m very concerned about a well-coordinated group of individuals taking money from PA and other states and spending it on small neighborhood elections, which used to be almost entirely “groups of friends knocking doors”. While I’m sure you and your friends DID knock doors, I also know that you had over 200,000 dollars poured into your efforts by people in different states and regions.

Free speech isn’t free when you need to spend a quarter of a million dollars to get out your message.

When your friends finally got elected, they deigned to meet with any of us on Route 34, spending their time instead with Winstanley and DeStefano, before delivering exactly what Winstanley wanted.

As reported in this paper, he gave them $150,000 for a pet project right before the vote.

That isn’t democracy. Democracy isn’t when you pay to do as you like while claiming the exact opposite.

posted by: robn on January 9, 2013  4:07pm

STREEVER,

Don’t waste your time. The local unions will have their propaganda machine in full gear for the next few years keeping the illusion alive that they led the “biggest grassroots mobilization in this town’s memory” when really it was just a lot of well funded ASTROTURF.

posted by: streever on January 9, 2013  4:44pm

Robn
I’ll be in VA for the next election :) I’m going to miss New Haven, but not this new wave of liberal pseudo intellectuals who prattle away about “democracy” as some glorious ideal while simultaneously running pay-to-play politics.

I was dumb enough to fall for the shtick when they ran that this was somehow going to be different from the Mayor’s “business as usual”. Oh well!

posted by: Threefifths on January 9, 2013  5:23pm

posted by: robn on January 9, 2013 3:07pm

STREEVER,

Don’t waste your time. The local unions will have their propaganda machine in full gear for the next few years keeping the illusion alive that they led the “biggest grassroots mobilization in this town’s memory” when really it was just a lot of well funded ASTROTURF.

My qusetion you you and others is did you all vote for them and if you did.

posted by: Threefifths on January 9, 2013  5:27pm

posted by: streever on January 9, 2013 3:44pm

Robn
I’ll be in VA for the next election :) I’m going to miss New Haven, but not this new wave of liberal pseudo intellectuals who prattle away about “democracy” as some glorious ideal while simultaneously running pay-to-play politics.

I was dumb enough to fall for the shtick when they ran that this was somehow going to be different from the Mayor’s “business as usual”. Oh well!

When I was trying to tell you that this system needs to be replaced with the system of Term Limits and get rid of the town committes,You tried to shoot me down.Good luck in VA,But you will find the same system that is here.

posted by: streever on January 9, 2013  5:43pm

3/5ths:
I did not vote for any members that I believe are corrupt.

If we had term limits, the groups that field corrupt politicians would just field MORE corrupt politicians. While term limits could do good things, they don’t solve our immediate problem.

As I told you before, I favor Parliamentary Democracy, much like the Swedish system that produces those wonderful coalition governments. It is a bit more hard-core than simple IRV and term limits. I actually think you’d really like it a lot.

posted by: streever on January 9, 2013  5:48pm

3/5ths:
I probably WON’T see the same system in VA. I’ve already told my fiancee I won’t be involved in politics—a minister AND a politician is a little too much for one family.

posted by: Threefifths on January 9, 2013  6:56pm

@ Streever

As I told you before, I favor Parliamentary Democracy, much like the Swedish system that produces those wonderful coalition governments. It is a bit more hard-core than simple IRV and term limits. I actually think you’d really like it a lot.


But proportional representation along with Term Limits is the better electoral system.Under proportional representation every party is at the table and gets a voice.

posted by: HhE on January 9, 2013  9:52pm

Congratulations streever, you will be missed. 

I thought about a politician with a spouse who was a minster as a potential win—spiritual adviser right at home, keep the moral compass true.  Then I thought about Bill Clinton’s we are all sinners, and how it let him do anything so long as he got cleaned up on Sunday.  Then I thought about Goege Bush the Younger, and his Evangelical world view; no need to worry about the environment the rapture is just around the corner.

posted by: HhE on January 9, 2013  10:23pm

accountability, some times when people cry “foul” they do so because they did not get what they wanted.  However, some times people call “foul” because it is foul.  Robn and streever are in the second camp. 

While I found your argument against term limits well said, I have found the rest of your posts offensive and poorly reasoned. 


Threefifths, thank you for the link.  I found it to be interesting as it was disturbing.  However, it did not support your position for term limits, rather the opposite. 


Dorthy25, I propose that we start from scratch, with wards based upon actual neighborhoods—rather than the last redistricting that was driven by maintaining the status quo.  We could also change to four year terms across the board.

posted by: HhE on January 9, 2013  10:47pm

3/5ths, every party, like Democrats and Democrats?  Multiple parties produce proportional representation, not the other way around.

posted by: streever on January 10, 2013  10:54am

@Hhe
thank you! I will miss New Haven. I agree—ministry and politics is a delicate line to walk, and not one I’m enthusiastic about or interested in balancing. (Although I fall more in line with Clinton and his notions of everyone commits sin, I don’t think that excludes us from guilt or accountability!)

I had a funny realization reading your I appreciate your defense of my motives—in a surprise twist, though, I actually think that Accountability is correct in that I’m calling foul because I didn’t get what I wanted.

What I wanted was a transparent, open, and less corrupt government for New Haven. I didn’t get that, and now I am calling foul.

Accountability is in a bubble universe where he/she has standing with the CCNE backed folks, so feels like the system is transparent—unable to provide actual examples of this transparency to counter my real world example of the opacity of his/her friends, the resort is name-calling and insults.

Guess what? If even one voice outside of your clique is saying that your system is opaque and exclusive, it usually is. Just because you see a few persons of color showing up to your meetings doesn’t give you some high moral ground to lash out and accuse the people you have shut out of your process as racist and whiny.

The responses to critics by the CCNE folks are IDENTICAL to the responses to critics from the Mayor’s folks. “Haters”—a term that the Mayor’s employees LOVED—is widely in use still.

Don’t the people who white knight CCNE find it SLIGHTLY odd that the same rhetoric they found so counter-productive from the old administrations cronies is coming from their mouths?

I wish I could take these well-intentioned people and give them a time travel trip to New Haven politics 6 years ago, when the same sentiments and nonsense was being lobbed out of the mouths of the Mayor’s supporters and friends.

3/5ths
Borgen proves that parliamentary democracies are best. I have yet to see your system provide such a good tv series!
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Borgen_(TV_series)

posted by: Threefifths on January 10, 2013  11:51am

posted by: streever on January 10, 2013 9:54am

3/5ths
Borgen proves that parliamentary democracies are best. I have yet to see your system provide such a good tv series!

And Ornstein-Mann said The description of the parliamentary system is a little misleading in that it suggests a winner-takes all outcome. In reality parliamentary systems produce more moderated governments because a lot of compromise goes into government formation after the election, and coalition formation prior to elections. Furthermore as proportional representation systems it’s the opposite of a winner takes all system, minority parties can actually have more leverage.

posted by: Threefifths on January 10, 2013  11:58am

posted by: HhE on January 9, 2013 9:47pm

3/5ths, every party, like Democrats and Democrats?  Multiple parties produce proportional representation, not the other way around.

What is Proportional Representation?
Center for Voting and Democracy

http://www.thirdworldtraveler.com/Political/What_ProportionalRep.html

posted by: Threefifths on January 10, 2013  12:00pm

@streever
Check out the Switzerland’s Refined Proportional Representation System

http://www.democracy-building.info/particularities-switzerlands-proportional-election-system.html

posted by: HhE on January 10, 2013  11:48pm

Streever, you are quite right to say “wanted” and not “wish for” or “should like to have” as we all want for transparent government that is responsive and effective.  It is just that some people are better off without, so we get that instead. 

Accountability is right in that the CCNE BoA bid did have a grass roots element.  However, the pouring in of outside money to elect a super majority of alders so that local 34/35 could get the contract they wanted from Yale, and compel Amistad/Achievement First to give CCNE $1.5 million, that is wrong.

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