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Harmonic Convergence

by Thomas MacMillan | Jul 15, 2013 6:52 pm

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

Posted to: Arts & Culture, Campaign 2013

Onstage at Co-op High, all five Democratic mayoral candidates agreed that arts are a key to education and the economy in New Haven—and one pulled out a harmonica to drive the point home.

The harp-wielding candidate was Justin Elicker, who had his rival mayoral candidates clapping and stomping during his musical closing remarks at a Monday night forum on the arts. Click the video to watch.

Elicker and the four other candidates for mayor—Kermit Carolina, Henry Fernandez, Toni Harp, Sundiata Keitazulu—took the stage at Co-op Arts and Humanities High School at the request of the Arts Council of Greater New Haven.

They took part in a candidate “forum” on the arts. Not billed as a debate per se, it was a conversation about the role of the arts in the city—in schools, in the community, in commerce.

WTNH’s Jocelyn Maminta acted as moderator. She asked candidates prepared questions for an hour, followed by a half hour of questions from the audience.

Each candidate took the opportunity to court the arts community, describing his or her commitment to music and theater and visual arts and all that he or she has done for arts and would do as mayor.

Broad consensus emerged between the candidates on a variety of arts-related topics: Schools should have more arts education. Young people should have more opportunities in and exposure to the arts. The arts are an essential driver in New Haven’s economy and the city should do more to “brand” itself as an artsy place. And the city should support arts in all of its neighborhoods, not just downtown.

The Independent was on hand, live-blogging all the artsy action as it unfolded onstage.

Live Blog

6:53 p.m.: We’re here in the auditorium at Co-op High, where people are filtering in and taking their seats. Keitazulu (pictured) was the first candidate to arrive and is sitting alone onstage.

7:05: About 100 people here, with more streaming in.

7:10: All candidates are now onstage. Keitazulu is holding a pair of wrap-around sunglasses. Harp has a pad with notes.

7:11: And we’re off! Cindy Clair, head of the arts council, makes introductions. Maminta lays out the ground rules: two-minute responses per question, two-minute closing remarks. She introduces the candidates.

7:15: First question, to the entire group. Tell us about your last arts experience and what you got out of it.

Fernandez: My wife and I went to see the play “Stuck Elevator.” I though it did an amazing thing. … It put you inside an elevator, and gave you a real sense of the struggles of an undocumented immigrant. [Fernandez picks an “arts experience” featuring a hometown playwright and a hometown issue: immigration.] “It puts you into the shoes of another person’s life.” “Long Wharf is a great theater.” All our arts institutions are great.

Elicker: I’ll give you two: Broken Umbrella’s most recent theater production [another local theater company] and—one I’m more embarrassed to bring up—I performed Justin Bieber at a fundraiser at the Shubert. We need to do more of this kind of stuff. Broken Umbrella partnered with local business, cleaned up an unused space. Everyone benefited. The Bieber performance: A creative way to raise money to make things happen. We need to do more of this.

Fernandez: You were good. You were good.

Carolina (pictured): Two experiences, both and to do with youth. Watching my son in an Edgewood play. My wife and I, we squirmed in the seats as we a watched our children perform. My son’s self-esteem was built, and he’s interested in the arts. [Carolina focuses on his wheelhouse: Schools, students, arts education.] The other was a Hillhouse play. It brought our student body together. 

7:21: Keitazulu: I went to the Arts and Ideas festival Johnny Gill concert. My favorite artists are Sam Cooke—“A Change Is Gonna Come.” John Lennon—“Imagine.” James Brown. Curtis Mayfield. The arts played a big role in changes in South Africa. I used to try to sing. I didn’t sing too good. It didn’t work out. Arts can promote social change.

Harp: The most recent art experience I had: A couple of people volunteered to play music at the Atwood Senior Center. A real sense of community and being a part of a linked community. The other art that I’d like to promote, I’ve been the judge in the MLK poetry slam for the last five years. Poems about social justice and environmental issues.

7:23: Next question: What is your vision for the arts in New Haven?

Elicker: Three things we need to do. First, get more community engaged in the arts. Second, ensure arts are part of education. Third, economic development. To illustrate the first, Elicker talks about the Inside-Out project that put photo portraits on underpasses. In schools, evidence shows arts education improves reading and math. Economic development: People who come to this city should stick around—two-way streets, dynamic parking, better streetscapes will help.

Keitazulu: We should do more with arts in schools, to bring all cultures together, to make people more caring and understanding. We need more humanity in our schools.

7:27: Carolina: Research shows that $17.5 million is brought to our city as a result of the arts. We have great museums and galleries in the city. New Haven is the number one destination for arts in Connecticut. Second, after No Child Left Behind, arts education took a big hit as teachers spend more time on test preparation. At Hillhouse we have band, drama club, poetry.

Fernandez: I would say to Kermit that my son went to watch your son at the play in Edgwood, and he loved it.

“He did very, very good,” says Fernandez’s son, from the front row of the audience. Laughter.

Fernandez: When I was head of LEAP, we created partnerships to keep arts in the lives of children. … Arts can be at risk. I helped save the Shubert Theater as economic development chief. Arts were essential to us developing the Ninth Square.

Harp: Arts are an economic driver. The Arts & Ideas festival last year created $25 million in “synergies,” 152 jobs. How do we stabilize the arts in our communities? How do we ensure funding? I’ve worked really hard in the general assembly to keep funding. The state has supported the Shubert every single year. Arts shouldn’t just be downtown, but in neighborhoods. Arts has to be affordable and accessible, not just in school.

7:34: Next question: What will you do to keep up the momentum of improving arts education? Who wants to begin?

Elicker: Henry and I have already begun [been the first to answer].

Carolina: I’ll be brave and jump out front. I want to work with the superintendent to make sure we’re adequately funding arts in the schools. Co-op is a beautiful school. As a principal, I made it a point to add technology to arts. We want that kind of commitment across the board. Last night I was at an event called Flechas at Sports Haven. We need to adopt programs like that to expose them to everyone in the city. And we need to promote more of the African-American culture in the city. I would not cut any youth programs.

7:37: Elicker: This is an economic development question. We need to focus on bang for our buck. The Shubert brings money into the city. We need to support those programs. [Elicker supporter] Lee Cruz is working to promote an arts community at the closed Strong School. The city can benefit a lot. We can save money by partnering. Schools should partner with organizations like Youth Rights Media. What works? Lets fund it.

Keitazulu: My kids tell me art classes are optional. The arts are not being funded. We’ve got to wake people up and make sure we have arts teachers. In the inner city they can’t afford instruments. They need to be in the classrooms.

Harp: I think that there is enough money in the school system for arts; the question is whether the money is spent effectively. We’re using money on too many administrators. We have deans, we have sometimes six and seven assistant principals. We have the money for a strong and vigorous arts program, if we adjust spending.

7:43: Fernandez (pictured): Co-op’s partnership with the Shubert is inspirational. It introduces kids to world-class art. Singers, actors, performers come here. It can expand what young people believe is possible. We should expand programs like Bregamos theater [run by Fernandez supporter Rafael Ramos]. Harp does a great job for arts community in New Haven as a senator. “And I do think it would be horrible if you weren’t in that role.”

Zing! Laughter. Harp grimaces. [This is a challenge she faces. When she talks up her good work in Hartford, she’s also making the case for staying there.]

Question: How would you leverage the arts for New Haven’s benefit?

Fernandez: “I was heavily responsible for this.” I oversaw cultural affairs as head of economic development. Theaters bring business and people into a neighborhood. When we placed Artspace in 9th Square, all kinds of development followed. All because the city encouraged and funded Artspace to move in.

7:48: Keitazulu: I think arts would be good for the inner city. It would stimulate growth, responsibility. When I grew up we always had arts class. … People need to step up and show how it will benefit us.

Carolina: I’m going to disagree a little bit. There are arts programs available in the schools. We need to enhance them. “Arts saved my life.” Growing up in Dixwell, I went to the Q House and was exposed to art; I played trumpet and led the Freddie Fixer parade. I want those experiences for our children. We need to do a forensic audit of all departments in the city. I agree with Harp, we need to cut administrators in the school department. … We need to expand the school day, with arts.

7:53: Elicker (pictured): I’ve already talked about our schools and ways to improve arts there. … We have a branding problem in New Haven. Do you remember Night Rainbow, the laser show from the top of East Rock? People were like lemmings, or zombies, driving from all around to come to this project. We have examples of great programs, CT Folk, Elm Shakespeare. We need to re-brand New Haven not as a haven of crime, or poverty, but of the arts.

Harp: When I think about the oil tanks across the bay, I think that that’s an art project that the city could support. I also thing New Haven needs to be a place that artists can afford to live in. In Westville, the artists housing has been successful. But it’s not enough. Also, Westville has ArtWalk. Every neighborhood should have a similar festival. We need to celebrate the arts in every season. Summer is fabulous, and branded well. … We need to make it year round, and accessible, and support artists with housing.

7:57: Questions from the audience. First question: No one’s mentioned Yale. How can we partner with university and leverage its resources?

Carolina: I mentioned that a little bit. My school makes great use of Yale’s art gallery,and the British art museum. I see opportunities for better partnerships. We need to make the city safe, to attract people. The wrong thing is being marketed—danger, crime in New Haven.

Keitazulu: When I was growing up, we always went to Yale’s Peabody museum. Now prices are high and parking is a problem, too many tickets. Yale needs to make people more comfortable coming down here, to be open for everybody, not just a very few. Yale has become a separate identity in the city.

Fernandez: When I was director of LEAP, we exposed young people to the resources at Yale. That’s essential. Yale has rich resources, and many are free. But there is still a disconnect. Also, Yale students should make use of arts in the city. It’s important to mention Yale, but it’s also amazing that we could have a conversation about arts in the city without mentioning Yale. Our arts, unlike many university towns, are much broader than Yale university.

Harp: On re-branding New Haven, the brand isn’t really there. The brand isn’t in people’s minds. People in Dixwell and Newhallville don’t know what’s available. Yale can be a partner in funding in activities, and do an arts payment in lieu of taxes. That would generate goodwill.

Elicker: The gut instinct of some people is to ask Yale fore more money. The reality is you get more with a carrot than a stick. I think we should retire the Yale shuttle. … I was in an all-male a cappella group in college. There’s no reason that New Haven students shouldn’t have a tutor each. I was never asked as a student at Middlebury if I was interested in working with kids in song. I would have said yes.

8:06: Audience question: How will you support teachers in arts education?

Carolina: I guess that would be my territory. I encourage my teachers to come to Co-op and do a walk through. It starts with a vision. They also toured the university. Then they sat with me and told me what they needed: better textbooks, better technology.

Keitazulu: When I was growing up we always learned about arts: Beethoven, Bach. We need to bring back the old days. You really don’t need the new technology. At the Q House we had instruments, we had everything we needed to be artists. “The old days is the best days.”

Harp: There is very little training for city employees. Our firefighters have to get their own certificates. It’s really important we find ways to train our teachers. Partner with local artists.

Fernandez: I think Kermit gave a good series of answers. What I would add to that is, it’s not an area I know a ton about. I would sit down with folks in the arts, and bring together the wealth of knowledge here. I’m tone-deaf and don’t have any artistic talent.

Elicker: Everyone has some talent in the arts, Henry, you just haven’t found it yet. … We need universal recess in the schools. Kids are more productive then. Arts are similar. If the data shows arts works to improve students, we need to support it. But I want to talk about leadership. I talked to students in a school recently, on students’ initiative. An administrator came in and was upset that a mayoral candidate was there. Administrators need to support students.

Carolina: All of you are welcome in Hillhouse, anytime.

8:16: Last question. Claudia Herrera: I grew up in Mexico City. … Arts in the Ninth Square is not the same as in neighborhoods where quality of life is much lower. Some neighborhood have a lot of houses boarded up.

Carolina: It goes back to what Elicker was talking about with Lee Cruz, reviving the Strong School. Taking a building that is an eyesore and turning it into a great arts place for people to use. When we look at a lot of blight, there are plenty of opportunities, we can invest more of our dollars. But we have to do a forensic audit to find the money. … We have to challenge ourselves. We have to use the arts to teach about cultural sensitivity.

Keitazulu: Aztec art, African art, Indian art are not being promoted in the city. I will open teen centers where kids can learn about music, art, poetry, paintings, art from different cultures. … We need people to address the issues in the inner-city.

Carolina: I want to add an addendum. There are some great people out here, but we have a population that we need to challenge.

Elicker: How do you inject the prosperity of downtown into the neighborhoods? One size doesn’t fit all. In Newhallville, you have ConnCAT; you have open-mic night. In the Hill you have Casa Otonal, where people make beautiful sculptures out of small items. There are a lot of positive things going on in the city.

Harp: I think we have to embrace a culture of beauty. We need to express the beauty within us through the arts and through keeping our communities clean. We need to support community organizations.

Fernandez; We have great arts in every neighborhood. The amazing puppets around Day of The Dead, beautiful and stunning and unique to the culture of Fair Haven and the Hill. Krikko’s pencil drawings in the Hill. Winfred Rembert’s leather work in Newhallville. … On Sunday night I went to see live jazz at the Elks Club. The job of the mayor is to elevate that, to celebrate the arts downtown and in the neighborhoods. When I was development director, I worked to have arts in the neighborhood parks, not just on the Green.

8:31: Closing remarks, in alphabetical order.

Carolina: Today, a young man whom I mentored and helped get to college is now back in New Haven and became a father today. I visited him and his bride-to-be and their child in the hospital. I reaffirmed my commitment to make New Haven the best place it can be. We need to change the climate of this city. We need to be honest. People are uncomfortable with the truth. You can remove a Band-Aid in increments, or you can snatch it off quickly. I’d rather do it quickly. I’m committed to all of you and your children

Elicker pulls out a harmonica a plays some blues riffs. Then talks about what getting a guitar for Christmas meant to him as a teenager and beyond. Watch the video at the top of the story.

Fernandez: I came here from a rally in front of City Hall, where people were expressing their pain around the Trayvon Martin decision. It struck me that America and this city remain divided on class and race and experience. Very few things can bridge those divides and make us see the world through someone else’s eyes. New Haven needs the arts, for the economy, for education, but essential is the role of the arts in building brigades between us, in guiding us to be a better city, one city where we are all together because we see in another person’s child’s eyes, our children’s future.

Harp: I think back to when I first was elected to the State Senate and was invited to speak at a high school graduation. My speech was about the future. The valedictorian talked about who they were, and what they had to deal with, having lost classmates to senseless crime. I have remembered that all my life. What he said was so poignant that it was almost artistic. I saw him at a Yale art gallery recently, and told him he moved me. He said come and see my play. It was Aaron Jafferis [the Stuck Elevator playwright]. We have people in our town who can set this world on fire; we just have to give them the opportunity.

Keitazulu: I thought about all the slave songs, about “We Shall Overcome,” about Sam Cooke, “A Change Is Gonna Come,” “We Are The World.” People from the arts really can make the world better. We have crime and violence and we have pain and we have suffering. With arts we can make this a better city. The arts can and will make the city a better place.

8:43: That’s a wrap.

 

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posted by: Noteworthy on July 15, 2013  7:37pm

“I don’t know to what extent the city supports the arts.” Senator Harp. And then she said we need to stabilize arts funding. She doesn’t know what she is talking about.

posted by: Xavier on July 15, 2013  7:39pm

Hey that fact that the Plumber Guy arrived early and was ready to start at the schedule time (7pm) has now gotten my attention.

The Plumber Guy, Mr. Keitazulu, kudos to you for arriving early and being ready to start ON TIME!!!

posted by: markcbm on July 16, 2013  12:22am

“Harp: When I think about the oil tanks across the bay, I think that that’s an art project that the city could support.”

That’s actually really good idea.  No matter who the next mayor is, I hope someone follows up on it.

posted by: Bill Saunders on July 16, 2013  5:46am

Hey Mark,

Art on the Oil Tanks is far from an original idea.

There already IS a Mural out there in that toxic wasteland—
A Monument to Man, of sorts.

Ironically, it depicts Dinosaurs —‘The Age of Reptiles”

This is the best Harp can do Artwise?? 

Well, its a little better than music at the old age home, though I am sure it was peaceful and non-traumatizing.


Sundiata hit it hardest.  He showed a direct understanding of how art connects with community.

And O’Henry still has a lot of ‘splaining to do .

I do not believe for one second that he has any commitment to community-based arts organizations that he can’t yield a beneficial bounty from.

But that is a different story…..

posted by: anonymous on July 16, 2013  8:09am

Great video.

MarkCBM: Art within a heavy diesel asthma death zone is a lame idea.  You can’t make a pig into a present by tying a giant ribbon around it. I’d rather see that energy go into some of the abandoned properties in Newhallville, an area that Harp recently called “traumatizing.”

Like all the other debates to date, I think this debate was characterized by very specific answers from Fernandez and Elicker on how to make the arts work for our society and economy, and more incoherent rambling from Harp about how the solution to everything is a new program.

posted by: Xavier on July 16, 2013  9:08am

One City Henry as economic director and deputy mayor of New Haven did much to promote the arts and benefit the city. One City Henry has an incredible grasp of the big picture as well as how the big stuff impacts us little folk in the neighborhood.

Not a whole lot of love from Bill for One City Henry. Give it time, you will.

One City Henry is a winner and will win this. What benefits One City Henry will benefit us all. With great acumen, One City Henry linked the arts and economic growth. Pretty awesome grasp of things, no?

One City Henry an artist at heart and the canvas is New Haven.

posted by: Tell the Truth & Shame the Devil on July 16, 2013  9:27am

This was a refreshing debate.
The only thing that burned my ears was when Kermit talked about his mentee.  He helped him get into college, blah, blah, blah.
Why didn’t he recognize PUBLICALLY how there is a young African American man who lost a FULL SCHOLARSHIP to UCONN over his grade changing scandal.  What has he said to him?  The public needs to know how Kermit is understanding,  that while this may be in arbitration for his exoneration…. the fact remains that a promising life was educationally ruined.  There is no exoneration or arbitration that can change that.  Sickens my stomach.

posted by: cedarhillresident! on July 16, 2013  9:36am

Xavier! Your back! Hugs we actually missed you…disagree with you but missed you :)

I again come from a large arts family. From canvas to music to even fashion design.This is a big deal to me! And I have to say Justins views and ideas are what we need in this city.

I remember having to go to tax meetings because city hall SLAMMED out art community! I want a mayor that will not do that! I want a mayor that is not paid for by corparte cash because that leads to even higher taxes. So choice wisely my friends. I know many in the art community are already supporting Justin.

posted by: Joshua Mamis on July 16, 2013  9:41am

I’m sorry I missed this conversation—I was attending/co-hosting an arts event last night at the Institute Library. However, I think part of this conversation, based on reporting in print media and this story, missed an essential aspect: “The Arts,” and an arts-friendly economy, encompasses much more than arts in the schools and arts institutions. It’s more about an arts-oriented culture,  a place that embraces and celebrates creativity. It’s this kind of environment that attracts young, smart, hip, innovators—the kind of people who can drive a local economy. They staff cool tech companies, like Digital Surgeons or See Click Fix, and start new ones, creating jobs. But they need hip, moderately-priced restaurants and bars, a robust music scene (local and otherwise) and other people into the things they are into. This city, this region, fundamentally doesn’t understand the need to nurture the kind of buzz-creating grassroots art and downtown scene that will grow this segment. We cater too much to suburbanites and the elite, panting after their platinum credit cards; we sanitize our streets by not allowing postering; we pester underground-ish venues (remember the Tune Inn, Daily Caffe? How come we don’t have new versions?) and chase them away. There is some cool stuff in New Haven, don’t get me wrong: Artspace and Aaron Jafferis and the Ideat Village crew (who had to fight fight fight for the right to have fun) and even the Arts & Ideas Festival they were rebelling against; and Broken Umbrella and Lyric Hall, and Bregamos Theatre and others I’m spacing out on. So we have a good foundation, just not a critical mass. I’ve often thought that New Haven is the city that doesn’t want people to have fun. I’d be curious what our agreeable candidates for mayor might suggest the city do, as a start, to try to make New Haven a destination for those now priced out of Williamsburg.

posted by: Curious on July 16, 2013  9:45am

Nothing about Ideat Village, the funkier and less-mainstream arts extravaganza that some of our edgier citizens try to put on every year, only to always run into harassment from the people behind Arts and Ideas?

Bill Saunders, man…where were you?  :)

posted by: markcbm on July 16, 2013  9:45am

@anonymous,

Many thousands of people pass that heavy diesel asmtha death zone everyday in their cars on I-95.  Might as well take all those blank canvasses they pass and put interesting murals on them.  Why not beautify the blight?  All it takes is an artist and some paint, and neither of those are very expensive. 

Mind, I wasn’t proposing this as the be-all end-all of supporting the arts in New Haven.  Just a stone in the pond.  But it could be a pretty stone rather than just an industrial blight.

As a former Newhallville resident, I too am for economic or real estate development in Newhallville, I just don’t know what it has to do with the larger question of arts in New Haven, or the minor idea that those oil tanks can be improved upon (I mean, what’s the downside?  The cost of some paint cans?).

Btw, I’m a Fernandez supporter.

posted by: streever on July 16, 2013  9:47am

When Toni Harp, a New Haven legislator for over 20 years, admits that she doesn’t know much about the education budget—which is more than half of our cities annual budget—I really have to wonder why anyone, anywhere, could think she has the right experience for the Mayorship.

This is a woman who doesn’t even know how the city spends 60% of the annual budget.

????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

Seriously people?

posted by: Razzie on July 16, 2013  10:03am

@ Noteworthy—

Apparently you are the one that doesn’t now what they are taking about. Her statement was challenging the assertion by Fernandez that the City bore the lions share of the burden in supporting the Shubert’s existence downtown. He conveniently failed to acknowledge the $4 Million State Bond Commission financing recently approved by Sen Harp’s Appropriations Committee efforts.
http://www.newhavenindependent.org/index.php/archives/entry/shubert_secures_4m/

With your emphasis on slash and burn cuts in financing I would have thought you would remember bonding increases.

posted by: Xavier on July 16, 2013  10:22am

Cedarhillresident

Never ever left, but thanks for noticing.

Even though you say you disagree with me, I would not be so sure.

On this point however, we may. One City Henry is leading in money raised. He is winning on this point. One City Henry is not complicating things too much for us so we can feel his love. One City Henry knows how to win an election in New Haven and will govern this city.

Higher taxes are not because of corporations they are a result of poor vision, poor planning, poor policy, a proliferation of programs, and the lack of will to act. One City Henry has the testosterone to act, the acumen to navigate the complicated web of corporations and big money people to set New Haven on a new path of prosperity. One City Henry, his prose is poetry, his canvas is New Haven.

posted by: Curious on July 16, 2013  10:32am

Where is Matt Nemerson in all of this? 

Isn’t he supposed to be creating Toni Harp’s economic policies? 

Why isn’t she beter educated on these budget issues?

posted by: westville man on July 16, 2013  10:50am

Tell the Truth-  if your stomach is sick, it is due to the trio of King John, in complicity with Dr. Mayo and Love-Joyner.  They plotted to get revenge on Kermit for his failure to support John in his re-election quest.  After an “emergency” public hearing the night before Xmas eve, they published a biased report 9 months later with little findings.  Kerm did nothing wrong.  The district has some issues, not Kermit. They derailed that young man’s career just to get at Kermit.  Do some homework instead of beating that tired drum of yours.

posted by: Curious on July 16, 2013  11:00am

I am downright shocked that Harp called for trimming school administrators out of the BOE to pay for art classes.  Shocked.

I’d love to see an analysis of how much money that could save, and put int the arts.

posted by: SaveOurCity on July 16, 2013  11:04am

it would be best for Toni to find reasons to not be available for future debates.  She embarrasses herself and losses votes every time she speaks.

posted by: Noteworthy on July 16, 2013  11:12am

Paint the Town and HarpsDiscord Notes:

1. Great harmonica and terrific conversation about the arts in New Haven. Everybody supports more of it but the specificity of how to pay for it was on the weak side. With property taxes rising 6% this year, a budget that is $100 million more than 2007; extraordinary levels of debt and debt payments of $68 million - contributing more is going to be a real challenge. Focus will have to be on the practical first, the money second.

2. Toni Harp was nearly incoherent and clearly unprepared for this conversation. Her last experience in the arts was at an old folks home, she wants to paint the tanks “across the bay,” build more artist housing so they can afford to live in New Haven and admitted she didn’t know how much the city supported the arts, but the solution was to stabilize funding for the arts.

3. Harp looked lost and when stumbling, threw in tested applause lines about the hood, our youth blah blah blah nearly all of which was mostly unrelated to the subject at hand.

4. It is becoming very clear that she is not up to the task for which she is running, possesses no knowledge or expertise in management or the city budget, and is being artificially propped up by powers outside of herself - namely the union and the machine. If she becomes mayor, Toni Harp will be our George W. Bush. The question is who will be her Dick Cheney?

posted by: Westvillain on July 16, 2013  11:43am

I was at Co-op last night, so I heard everything first hand.  I’ve also closely followed Carolina’s grade fixing scandal and read the supporting documents thoroughly.  There’s no question in my mind that Carolina lied about what happened.  DeStefano and Mayo are certainly not faultless in how they handled the situation and it wouldn’t surprise me if they chose to pursue the issue (instead of turning a blind eye as they’ve done in many other situations) due to some political machinations.  However, hearing Carolina in his closing statements make testament to his truthfulness absolutely turned my stomach.  He hurt countless people when he wasn’t willing to own up to his role in the incident - the students involved, staff members who had their names dragged through the mud when they WERE truthful, and all the students who deserve a full-time Principal working on their behalf - not someone obsessed with furthering his own agenda.

Thank goodness there ARE other candidates who, even if I don’t always agree with their positions, have the requisite integrity to deserve a leadership position.

posted by: Curious on July 16, 2013  11:47am

Noteworthy, the Dick Cheney in that scenario would be Martin Looney or Local 34.

posted by: HewNaven on July 16, 2013  11:52am

Joshua Mamis- well said!

posted by: David S Baker on July 16, 2013  12:09pm

The starving artist crowd has a history of cleaning up communities.  Creative nuts move into a rough part of town because it is affordable.  They do wacky stuff that draws attention to the area and they tend to be part of the “no car crowd” and triggers small foot traffic businesses to spring up.  Some times these areas become “hip” and desrable.  The Village in Manhattan, Northampton Mass, PTown, and now even Queens!  Encouraging easles and buskers and coffee shop vagabonds is super healthy for urban areas.  I think we make the mistke of tying to jump directly from impoverished to volvo neighborhood without these types of natural transitions.  Being a town that embraces your inner creative weirdo used to be a college town requirement.

To summarize:  This town needs more people dressed as happy dancing carrots.

posted by: Righteous Cyclist on July 16, 2013  12:43pm

Toni didn’t lose any votes here. She’s right, those arts need to be economic generators. You need to see that community make things that bring people out for a nice dinner or drinks before a show. We need to offer incentives to have films made here, like Indiana Jones again. That brought thousands of jobs to New Haven. That’s what the arts SHOULD be doing.

The oil tanks could be giant paintings with fun things you can do in New Haven. The parks could charge for people to see blockbuster movies. We’re losing all the arts to other towns, and money too. How many movie theaters does New Haven have anymore?

And everyone needs a chance. We need space for artist to live and sell work. Not enough of that in OUR city. Good rental through LCI, and permits so they can sell paintings on the New Haven Green.

posted by: Curious on July 16, 2013  1:07pm

@ Righteous Cyclist,

You say, “And everyone needs a chance. We need space for artist to live and sell work. Not enough of that in OUR city. Good rental through LCI, and permits so they can sell paintings on the New Haven Green.”

You’ll never see that without gentrification.

Nobody who can afford to buy art is going to want to come to the Green to buy paintings when a dozen yards away you have some transient dude washing his clothes in the fountain, and half the benches are covered with people sleeping on them in filth, or drunks.

posted by: Righteous Cyclist on July 16, 2013  1:07pm

Most of the comments on here show how out of touch with OUR reality people are. The arts aren’t a priority in this city. They could be important, but safety and jobs. Safety and jobs come first! Toni is already working to clean up the trash, and you know she can bring in the jobs. What could anyone else do different?

posted by: Tell the Truth & Shame the Devil on July 16, 2013  2:09pm

@ Westville man,  you’re disillusioned if you think Kermit is that significant to JD!
If Kermit was that significant his coffers would register otherwise.
The educational ruin that lies in his wake will not only affect the revoked full scholarships that have occurred,  but every transcript that leaves that building will be disproportionately scrutinized because of THE KERMIT CAROLINA GRADE CHANGING SCANDAL.
It’s really unfortunate,  because he HAD a promising future.
If I were he,  i’d size up the candidates and align appropriately… he’s going to need it after his campaign shenanigans. Don’t think his Hamden pal is going to be able” look out”  on this one.
It’s all too sad… He is not a bad guy,  just listening to the wrong folk!

posted by: westville man on July 16, 2013  2:38pm

Tell the Truth-  obviously you’ve never crossed King John or know folks who did. Then you’d know how ridiculous that statement is. 
His coffers represent the hard-scrabble money that his voters can afford. Let’s see how this plays out in September. We can compare notes then.
BTW, he has no “Hamden pal”  all of his advisors and campaign folk are stricly New Haveners. Hard to find that in any other candidate.

posted by: HewNaven on July 16, 2013  3:51pm

David S Baker,

They have a saying in Austin, TX:  “Keep Austin Weird”

I think what your saying is we need to “(re)Make New Haven Weird (again).” I’m totally with you. But, I don’t know if there’s a formula New Haven can copy to attract that culture.

posted by: cedarhillresident! on July 16, 2013  4:03pm

Actually it can be done. Slowly. My aunt who is an artist, moved from the San Francisco Bay Area to Oil City, PA using this program http://www.artsoilcity.com/

They still have a long way to go but it is a growing community.

posted by: David S Baker on July 16, 2013  4:21pm

YES! Austin!  PERFECT example!  And yes, not comparable. 

We are on the water.  We have the most eclectic inexpensive food selection between Boston and NYNY.  We have bike wierdos.  We have street performers and guerilla arts people.  We have the most bizzare collection of artchitecture on the east coast.  We have free galleries and coffee shops. We have the supa-thug grafitti artist types… (name escapes me… funnies thread in See Click Fix history). 

But what KILLS this town in the creative weird sense, is the idea that creativity has to be verified by the intelectual elite to be valueable.  I call BS, but this area is saturated with MFA pyramid schemes (no jobs except creating more students) and it wrecks the wierdo curve.  We also tend to import our art a tad too much.  I think a creative arts homebrew revolution is in order, but I have NO idea where it could take root when half of our youth population shifts every four years and everybody who stays is more concerned with being “legitimate”.

Also we don’t treat people very well here.  Everybody seems to be peeved off and in a hurry to break the sound barrier getting to the next red light.  Being mellow is not our forte’.  Too much poverty does that.  People living like crap get angry and it spreads like wildfire.  If I sat on the side of my street with a guitar it would not result in smiles, it would end with car horns and nasty comments.  MOSTLY because I stink at guitar, but partly because I am a reason they have to slow down and turn the wheel slightly. 

All that said, more dancing carrots.

posted by: HhE on July 16, 2013  6:45pm

Well said, David S Baker, especially your first post.

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