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Carolina Considers Run

by Paul Bass | Nov 8, 2013 6:23 am

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

Posted to: Politics

Thomas MacMillan Photo Hillhouse High School Principal Kermit Carolina, who ran for mayor in the September Democratic primary, is weighing another run for public office—this time for the state Senate seat being vacated by Toni Harp.

Harp said she plans to step down from her 10th state Senate District seat on Jan. 2 as she begins her duties as New Haven’s 50th mayor. A special election for the seat will take place within the following two months. The district covers about half of New Haven and a sliver of West Haven. State Rep. Gary Holder-Winfield said he plans to seek the Senate seat assuming it opens as planned; several other political figures said they are also considering runs. (Read about all that here.)

Now add Carolina’s name to the potential mix.

“People have approached me” about seeking the seat, Carolina said Thursday. “Right now my focus is on continuing our progress at Hillhouse. The mayoral campaign took a lot out of me. I am flattered [by the support for a new run’, and I’m going to consider it.”

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posted by: Atticus Shrugged on November 7, 2013  4:02pm

Though I appreciate Mr. Carolina’s desire to serve the public as an elected official, he already has a full plate.  Hillhouse is in need of strong leadership and campaigning is, as he figured out, a full time job.  For now, Mr. Carolina needs to remain at his job and dedicate his energies towards the same.

With that said, I am a supporter of GHW for the seat.  As for the prospect of winning between the two, the overall odds highly favor GHW.

posted by: Bill Saunders on November 7, 2013  4:04pm

Why not?

posted by: TheMadcap on November 7, 2013  4:07pm

That would be pretty awesome.

posted by: JohnTulin on November 7, 2013  4:25pm

I am going to focus on Hillhouse, the election took a lot out of me (therefore Hillhouse too)....so I will consider running for another elected position while attempting to turn around one of New Haven’s largest, comprehensive high schools.  Only in New Haven.  Garth, get on this!  Our kids deserve more!!

posted by: Career High School Parent on November 7, 2013  4:26pm

He has bigger mountains to climb right now with getting Hillhouse out of a downward spiral. Focus Mr. Carolina! FOCUS❗️❗️❗️❗️❗️

posted by: Samuel T. Ross-Lee on November 7, 2013  4:47pm

Atticus Shrugged,

Don’t you feel just a LITTLE BIT odd trying to tell a grown man how he should spend his time and how he should define his career objectives? 

Not even a LITTLE BIT?

posted by: alex on November 7, 2013  4:53pm

I think he should run. I didn’t agree with his mayoral campaign’s tactics, particularly some of the negative campaigning against Senator Harp, but I do think he’s an inspiring figure for (1) getting involved in politics and (2) getting others to do the same. I may vote for GHW in the end but more competition is good!

Caring for the children at Hillhouse *should* be his top priority, but running for office and being a compelling school leader are not necessarily mutually exclusive. By running for office, he’s showing the kids at Hillhouse, too, that everyone SHOULD be involved in politics—whether it’s casting a ballot or running for office.

We don’t have a full time legislature. For a lot of people, it’s pretty scary to have a “part-time” body that passes coercive rules, but that’s the system we have. As long as that’s the case, no one should discouraged from running because they have an important job. We need people with different perspectives offering their viewpoints in government, too.

posted by: Career High School Parent on November 7, 2013  5:04pm

Wow, I am shocked that people think it ok to run a school AND run for office at the same time.

I wonder if it would be ok for the principals of Edgewood, Davis, Wilbur Cross were to decide to run for office. I’m sure many parents would take issue with that. I guess it’s ok as long as it’s not your child’s school huh??

posted by: anonymous on November 7, 2013  5:08pm

Someone (maybe Kermit) should run to the left of Gary, given Gary’s record of voting in lockstep with Harp/Malloy in favor of damaging things like Keno.  We need State Senators who will stand up for residents who live here, not put special interests first.

posted by: TheMadcap on November 7, 2013  5:25pm

@Career High School Parent

Enough with the concern trolling, it’s already came up enough whenever Carolina did anything for the Elicker campaign. I don’t know if you know this, but principals, superintendents, teachers, all public workers do things outside of their jobs. Should Winfield not run because he must spend 100% of his existence focusing on his current job as state rep?

posted by: Career High School Parent on November 7, 2013  5:44pm

Again,

Running for office is a humongous undertaking! I’m sure it’s grueling and takes immense focus and dedication. How can one run a failing school in good faith if one is campaigning? Please enlighten me! I will be the first one to admit that I am wrong.

And how can you say that I am a troll? Just because I am questioning a high school principals priorities? Our kids here in the inner city DESERVE a principal that is focused on them 100%. How is that being a troll?

The floor is yours @Madcap…......

posted by: New Haven Nuisance on November 7, 2013  5:48pm

YES, Please do it Mr. Carolina, you have the full force and power of the New Haven Nuisance behind you!

posted by: Samuel T. Ross-Lee on November 7, 2013  5:56pm

Career High School Parent:

I’m sure you’re being hyperbolic for the sake of making your point, but it should be pointed out that besides breathing, NO ONE does ANYTHING 100% of the time.

And if you’re going to suggest that a HS principal in the “inner city” should devote more (most) of his/her time to being a principal because our children “DESERVE” it, are you ALSO going to advocate for higher pay for said principals, teachers and staff in those schools, as surely they would DESERVE more than educators in non-inner city schools who will not be required to give 100% of their time, but can choose to do other thing, like, say, run for office is they so desire?

posted by: Threefifths on November 7, 2013  6:57pm

John Shaft is back.

http://youtu.be/xbXvdJF-1U8

posted by: ohnonotagain on November 7, 2013  6:58pm

Oh come on folks…...give it a rest! If he wants to consider running stop getting all crazy over it…...we live in America and a person has a right to do what he wants to do on his own time.

posted by: NewHavenTaxTooHigh on November 7, 2013  7:20pm

Please do run! New Haven needs a maverick, not another career politician.

posted by: wcproclaimer on November 7, 2013  9:28pm

@anonymous

Because we all know that Kermit Carloina is Soooooooooo far left. Yeah, he’s so far to the left that he ran a divisive anti union smear campaign. And what’s this bunk about an education man not being beholden to special interests? All these wealthy non-profits looking to give grants to inner city high schools for stuff like non working smartboards and Naviance Advisory programs, definitely aren’t special interests. Yeah, no. Toni and Gary and Malloy are so far right! Like the husky health care program, that’s practically a tea party measure! Right? And support for struggling homeowners, that’s like some rush limbaugh junk right here isn’t it. (Please don’t give me schlock about school reform either, I am an NHPS student, and i haven’t seen any improvements from the corporate raiders)

posted by: Thomas Alfred Paine on November 7, 2013  9:43pm

Every American citizen has the right to run for public office as long as they meet the qualifications for the office. Mr. Carolina has that right.
People assume that Mr. Carolina desires to continue his career as principal of Hillhouse. Because of his recent entry into politics, it appears that he has a desire to hold public office and depart from public education. If that is his desire, then he should go for it. He is a young man and being a principal need not be the pinnacle of his career.
Unfortunately for Mr. Carolina, his conduct in his campaign in the Democratic primary turned off a lot of New Haveners. His bitter and mean-spirited attacks against Toni Harp disturbed many people. His disrespectful grandstanding before the governor shocked others. His method of “speaking truth to power” and informing the public that his mother didn’t raise any punks did not endear him to the general public or win him many votes.
If Mr. Carolina chooses to run for the state Senate seat, he should review his previous campaign missteps, get rid of his old campaign advisers(including the lawyer and principal friends), become more diplomatic, tactful and respectful, expand his political horizons beyond the black community, exercise greater control over his temper and emotions, and focus on what policies and programs he would propose to help better New Haven as the next state senator to replace Toni Harp.
If we see the same old Carolina, he will see the exact same political results he experienced in the primary.

posted by: Noteworthy on November 7, 2013  11:36pm

Consider This Notes:

1. There is a history of public school employees holding elective office in Hartford.

2. Bill Dyson did it in the seat now held by GHW. Toni Walker does it now.

3. I don’t necessarily agree that this should be allowed, but right now it is.

4. If you’re going to object to a Carolina run, then at least be consistent and call for those currently doing it, to end this practice.

posted by: Bill Saunders on November 8, 2013  1:52am

Career High School Parent,

I don’t know if you remember when King John ran for Governor while being a sitting Mayor.

In terms of Kermit, you do not know his grander vision as a public servant, so I think you really need to let him decide his own level of involvement, and his own level of engagement with The System” based on his own experience, and where he feels it is most effective..

Why is it wrong?  Let him make his bold case.

That is why people vote.

Ribbet.

posted by: cedarhillresident! on November 8, 2013  6:42am

I have to agree with others. This is America why is it we are trying so hard in this city to stop people from running? I don’t understand, I thought we were a democratic town? We sure have not been acting like one.

posted by: Razzie on November 8, 2013  10:12am

@ Samuel T. Ross-Lee

I have been a past critic of the Principal during his quixotic run for the mayor’s race. My concerns have not been focused on whether a public school employee should run for office, but on whether it is in the overall public interest for a high school principal of a failing school to run doe office while simultaneously trying to carry out his duties to the school, its faculty and community. My view has been NO—and I believe that is what Career High School Parent is conveying. Certainly Carolina CAN run for office. But he has no right or expectation that the system will make any special accommodations for him to do so.

The demands of being a school principal do not fall neatly into a 9 to 5 workday. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to understand that. And if the BoE fully understands that the parents of Career, Edgewood, Davis, etc schools would not tolerate having a 9 to 5 Principal, then there is no way the Boe can tolerate having Carolina remain at Hillhouse in a diminished capacity state. Many items were neglected by Carolina over the summer while his attention was focused on the mayor’s race—and Hillhouse’s preparedness for the start of the academic year suffered.

There are positions within the school system where Carolina can function and still carry out his dreams of political relevance, if that is what he seeks. However, being Principal of the largest, most challenging and demanding high school is not one. The proper focus and question to be answered is not what Kermit wants—We all need to focus on what is best for the Hillhouse students and community.

posted by: Noteworthy on November 8, 2013  11:34am

@Razzie -

You have a double standard. Are you now calling for a policy change that forbids public school personnel from holding elective office? Are you calling on Vice Principal Toni Walker to resign either the school system or her public office?

posted by: TheMadcap on November 8, 2013  12:05pm

Really to expand on Notewothy’s point, unless you want to bar everyone who currently holds a job from running for public office, it’s a double standard. GHW then shouldn’t be allowed to run because it will interfere with his duties as a House rep, anyone who isn’t self employed or retired shouldn’t be allowed to run for board of alderman since it could interfere with their duties elsewhere.

posted by: FacChec on November 8, 2013  12:06pm

I totally agree with Thomas Paine,
On November 7, 2013 9:43pm.

I endorse and repeat Paine’s comments in this paragraph:

“If Mr. Carolina chooses to run for the state Senate seat, he should review his previous campaign missteps, get rid of his old campaign advisers (including the lawyer and principal friends), become more diplomatic, tactful and respectful, expand his political horizons beyond the black community, exercise greater control over his temper and emotions, and focus on what policies and programs he would propose to help better New Haven as the next state senator to replace Toni Harp.
If we see the same old Carolina, he will see the exact same political results he experienced in the primary”.

#Period.

Of the 14,807 votes cast in the primary, Carolina garnered 1,195. Most politicians of any stock would re-evaluate their message and position in light of an 8% voter approval. 

Considering that Carolina said he is “weighing another run for public office”

He would do well to consider that 95% of his 1,195 votes came from the 10th senatorial district. A rather limited thought process is required in order to figure out the probability. 

And don’t forget about Dillon.

posted by: Razzie on November 8, 2013  12:32pm

Noteworthy

There is no policy change advocated, as there is no existing policy that applies. Toni Walker is not a Principal and has drastically different job responsibilities. Moreover, it has already been amply demonstrated over the course of the sumer political campaign that Carolina is incapable of meeting the demands of both endeavors at the same time. His woeful performance on the School Climate Surveys, failure to produce meaningful progress in improving student academic performance, and the overall unpreparedness of Hillhouse for the start of the academic year demonstrates his need for more time attention and focus on the tasks he has at hand, rather than where he wishes he could be next year.

The students, faculty and Hillhouse community have suffered enough already. If this were Hooker or Edgewood, the discussion would be moot, as placement of Principals is 100% at the discretion of the Superintendant.

posted by: Samuel T. Ross-Lee on November 8, 2013  12:47pm

@Razzie

I’m not sure where you read it, but I certainly read (or heard) nowhere in Mr. Carolina’s statement that he was/is asking for “special accommodations” while he pursues elective office.  From where did you get that?

Further, are you suggesting that the parents, BOE and community should be in the business of monitoring the activities of a school principal out of those that directly involve his/her job, or should we do that only for activities with which you (we?) disagree, although engaging in said activities do not break the letter OR the spirit of the rules?

I’m sure that one does not have to be a rocket scientist to answer/understand that, either.

Finally, it might be useful to your argument to claim that “Many items were neglected by Carolina over the summer while his attention was focused on the mayor’s race—and Hillhouse’s preparedness for the start of the academic year suffered.”  But, making claims is not the same thing as providing evidence,  stating facts, or standing on truth. 

In short, I’m not convinced by your claims, but thanks for playing.

posted by: Threefifths on November 8, 2013  5:01pm

@ FacCheck.Bottom line is it is up to the voters.Second talking to some people in west haven.They have the right to run for this seat and some of them may just do that.

posted by: Champ358 on November 8, 2013  6:51pm

Mr. Carolina has the same right as any other citizen to run for public office and receive 8% of the vote. It is hard to understand why he thinks he has any support for his off-outting campaign, but he has every right to run.

posted by: jim1 on November 8, 2013  7:53pm

Would love to see him run and get the job.  He is a good man.

posted by: Razzie on November 9, 2013  8:13pm

@ Samuel T. Ross-Lee

Sorry if you found my statements unclear. I am suggesting nothing of the sort that “the parents, BOE and community should be in the business of monitoring the activities of a school principal ...”

My statement is that we should not have to be in the business of monitoring outside activities of our Principals—AT ALL. When those outside activities will necessarily require the type of commitment of time and attention that running for public office entails, that Principal should be reassigned to a position where the impact of his campaigning will not impair the primary educational mission of our school system. The principal can make whatever career moves he wants. However, the children of our system need not suffer his choices.

posted by: Samuel T. Ross-Lee on November 10, 2013  2:24pm

Razzie,

I’m not sure if you’re being contradictory on purpose or if you don’t realize that you’re doing so, but you ARE contridicting yourself.  On the one had, you attempt to refute my assertion that we shouldn’t be in the business of monitoring the activities of public school principals outside of their work.  On the other hand, you say that we should reassign them if said activities “impair the primary educational mission of our school system.” 

Now tell me, how exactly would we know that the Principal’s outside campaigning is “impair(ing)” the schools mission, if we are not monitoring said activities in the first place?

And upon what is your assumption based that running for office particularly hinders one’s effective running of a school as a principal, a claim you keep making, but not supporting. 

In the end, you’re suggesting that we should, but we shouldn’t HAVE to, and the only reason that we “HAVE” to is because the Principal is doing something that we might not want him/her doing in the first place.

posted by: Razzie on November 10, 2013  6:03pm

@ Samuel T. Ross-Lee

Let’d do again, for the final time.

Your statement: ... you say that we should reassign them IF said activities “impair the primary educational mission of our school system.”

My statement: We should reassign them BECAUSE said activities “impair the primary educational mission of our school system.

You keep asking for proof of the claim that the demands of campaigning can impair a Principal’s performance of his primary mission of educating students. Yet you refuse to look to Kermit’s performance in the past election campaign as proof. Bottom line is, neither you nor I needs to PROVE anything to the other’s satisfaction. The assignment of principals is at the discretion of the school Superintendant. In exercising that discretion, Garth Harries and the BoE need only look to the job Kermit did, and which has been evaluated as lacking by their School Climate Survey and other assessment instruments.

We need not stick our heads in the sand and pretend that it may truly be possible to be a 9 to 5 Principal and meet the needs of your students and your educational community. Experience here and nearly everywhere else says NO. We are under no compulsion to accept as Principal, an administrator who for whatever reason chooses to give less than 100% of his talent and energy for educating our youth. Kids First. No Principal should get a free pass because he threatens to make a lot of noise.

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