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Crowned By Dems, Harp Lauds Husband’s Legacy

by Paul Bass | Jul 23, 2013 9:09 pm

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

Posted to: Campaign 2013

Thomas MacMillan Photo Accepting her party’s endorsement to become New Haven’s first-ever female mayor, Toni Harp Tuesday night tackled head on the biggest obstacle so far to reaching City Hall: the legacy of her late husband Wendell.

Harp (pictured) took the surprise step in what was otherwise an unsurprising event: her coronation by the Democratic Party establishment.

The event was the Democratic Town Committee’s (DTC) convention. It took place at Career High School. As expected, the DTC overwhelmingly gave its official endorsement to Harp, a 10-term state senator running for mayor against four other Democrats. The vote was 52 to 4 to 2. Justin Elicker picked up the 4 votes, Henry Fernandez the 2. The vote means Harp will automatically receive a spot on the Sept. 10 Democratic primary and have the money and organizational power of the party establishment behind her.

Thus concluded phase one of this year’s mayoral race, the most interesting contest in decades now that 20-year incumbent John DeStefano is retiring. Phase two begins Wednesday, as Harp’s opponents begin seeking to collect the 2,406 signatures needed from registered Democrats to win a spot on the primary ballot.

Before sending her supporters onto the street, Harp spoke at length in her acceptance speech about a topic that has dogged her in recent weeks: criticisms from two of her opponents, Fernandez and Kermit Carolina, about her family’s real-estate business. Harp’s husband, architect and black political powerbroker Wendell Harp, a controversial figure in New Haven, built up that business over four decades and ran it until his death in 2011. Harp’s son Matthew now runs it. Fernandez and Carolina have criticized her for a $1 million state tax debt her husband’s business incurred after fighting a losing battle over disputed fees; for an empty house her husband owned in Bethany that the family uses occasionally for parties; and for conditions at one of the business’s properties in the Hill. Read about all that here, here and here.

Toni Harp didn’t address the specifics of those criticisms in her address Tuesday night. Rather she spoke about her husband—not just defending him or her relationship to him, but praising him and describing their relationship in more depth and with more passion than ever before in her 26 years in elected office.

Unlike some other politicians, Harp hesitates to reveals much about herself—either about her personal life or feelings, or about her accomplishments in life, preferring to discuss policies she and other Democrats have pursed as a group at the legislature. Tuesday night’s speech may reveal a recognition that running for mayor requires a different approach. It almost felt like she was introducing herself to Democrats who have voted for her religiously since 1987, the year she became an alderwoman, or 1992, the year she won her State Senate seat.

“Too often in campaigns, ugliness seeps into the public debate, and this year is no exception. As most of you know, I have been a widow for the last year and a half. Because Wendell isn’t here to defend himself, I feel I need to say a few things about him,” Harp said.

“Wendell was a loving husband and a great father to our three children. He was a brilliant architect. In his 20s, he was a pioneer, creating the Black Workshop and hiring many of our New Haven residents. His legacy of service can be seen as you look around this auditorium and as you look at this school, which he designed. Wendell was a community and political activist who loved and was committed to this city. A man of faith he devoted himself to his church and neighborhood. Wendell loved New Haven.

“Wendell and I had an agreement. We did not share careers. I stayed out of his business and took no part in it, and in turn he kept out of my politics and policy decisions. My successes are mine, his successes were his—my challenges were mine, his challenges were his. There were matters that we did not discuss.

“But the one thing we always shared was our love for each other, our boundless love for our children, our pride in their accomplishments through the years, and our hopes that each would grow up and have healthy and happy families of their own.”

Harp also revealed a painful episode from her childhood: contracting polio at 4 years old and having “to spend a whole year breathing with the help of an ‘iron lung.’”

She told the story in the third person, and tied it into her quest for elected office. Click the play arrow to watch a sample.

“A bulky noisy machine surrounded her entire body for hours at a time and forced her to breathe by compressing and decompressing her lungs, every breath was a struggle, every breath was a fight. She wasn’t expected to live ... and if she did, she wasn’t expected to ever walk again.

“Thankfully, through the help of her doctors, the love of her parents, and her own resilience, she got better. And when she got out of that machine, she taught herself to walk again. This experience taught her not just how precious life is, but that, despite whatever challenges in life she might face, she would never allow anyone to define her by her circumstances and obstacles but by her ability to overcome them.

“I am that little girl. And I stand before you tonight. I learned that, with the love of your family and the support of your community, you can do anything. As I got older, I learned that, with a quality education, you can be anything. And as an alderwoman and your state senator, I learned that, working together with people from all walks of life, whatever their background, race, color, gender, and age, we can achieve anything.”

The crowd of hundreds, filling about two-thirds of the drearily lit, cavernous Career High auditorium, roared and waved Harp’s campaign placards, as it did throughout the evening. Except for two rows of Fernandez supporters and a scattering of Elicker backers, this was Harp’s house for the night.

Fernandez stayed in the hall while the endorsement vote took place, then left before Harp’s acceptance speech.

“There’s a lot of nice folks on the Democratic Town Committee,” he said on his way out. “But they represent 60 votes. We’re now moving to the process when the campaign really begins and we’ll focus on the thousands of votes in the city. I talk to voters every day. What I hear consistently is they want a mayor who has the vision and the integrity and experience to do the job on Day One.”

Elicker did sit through Harp’s speech before leaving. His campaign later released a statement. It, too, described Tuesday’s night vote as representing just 60 votes in a party of some 49,000 registered voters—60 Democratic ward co-chairs “elected through an opaque, extremely low-­turnout series of votes controlled largely by political insiders.”

“My campaign is not and has never been about winning the support of old­ school powerbrokers in the smoke-­filled back rooms of New Haven politics,” the release quotes Elicker as saying. “Instead, my campaign is about restoring community participation in and influence over government. As a grassroots candidate, it is fitting that I will be a grassroots nominee.“

Democratic candidate Sundiata Keitazulu attended as well. Candidate Carolina did not attend the convention. Neither candidate was nominated.

Brianne Bowen Photo

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posted by: HewNaven on July 23, 2013  9:25pm

60 votes in a party of some 49,000 registered voters—60 Democratic ward co-chairs “elected through an opaque, extremely low-­turnout series of votes controlled largely by political insiders.

Well said.

posted by: reality ck on July 23, 2013  9:30pm

So happy to hear Harp received the nomination, it shows just how much of the democratic town committee has been bought by the unions.  Further, how responsible those unions are for their representatives.  Lets look at the fine example set by Fair Haven Alderman Gabe Santiago.  Where was Laura Kennington then?  How many apologies have been heard from her on that mistake? 
Interesting that Harp insists on stating that the state tax debt was her husbands and now that the business belongs to her son, it has somehow become his responsibility, yet during the debate about a week ago, Harp clearly stated her family’s business, leaving the statement to linger until she corrected herself. 
Congratulations to all the tax payers in the city of New Haven, you’ve just been sold by the very people you’ve voted into office!

posted by: cp06 on July 23, 2013  9:31pm

Still completely undecided. But I am starting to think that Fernandez really is worth a look and somehow his campaign is not doing the best at getting his message out.

posted by: robn on July 23, 2013  9:31pm

Bunk to Harp’s claim of ignorance. As recently as 2009, Wendell Harp’s business doings were filed in Sen Harp’s financial disclosures.

http://www.ctmirror.org/sites/default/files/financial disclosures/Harp, Toni_5-1-2010 4-54-29 PM.pdf

WE PAY OUR RENT
WE PAY OUR TAXES
WHY DOESN’T THE HARP FAMILY?

posted by: AverageTaxpayer on July 23, 2013  9:33pm

The patronage wing of the Democratic Party was out in full force, hungry and clamoring to be fed.

It will be interesting to see if Elicker’s combination of good-government types and frustrated taxpayers can mount a real challenge to Toni in the fall.

Does New Haven really want more of the same?

posted by: TheMadcap on July 23, 2013  9:51pm

The chosen one has been anointed!

posted by: NHisCONFUSED on July 23, 2013  9:57pm

My father Died, My mother was forced to pay my father’s debt in taxes. Only difference from Harp and my mother is Harp is a State Senator. DeStefano did 20 years as a career politician. Harp is in her 22nd year as a career politician. People WAKE UP PLEASE!!!! We need change in this city. Vote for anyone but HARP. If you want true checks and balances you will see my point. This town committee is thinking for their own better interests.. VOTE ELICKER OR CAROLINA for true change. Don’t sell our city out with Harp. I love our City too much to see it fall to the greed of a irresponsible, career politician.

posted by: Noteworthy on July 23, 2013  10:16pm

“Ugliness seeps into a campaign,” said Harp. It’s not ugliness - it’s the truth and Harp just finds that ugly.

posted by: Carrie Washington on July 23, 2013  10:44pm

How quickly folks forget how bad things felt in the city two years ago - unemployment crisis, record high murders, hopelessness about the future.  Now DeStefano is gone…lots of new leaders are leading in the CIty and all commenters can do is complain.  I never comment because unless its about bikes or something all that ever gets written is negative.  I am voting for Toni Harp because she is a leader, with a track record, with integrity, and with compassion.

posted by: Jonathan Hopkins on July 23, 2013  10:54pm

Career High School doesn’t look like a school, it looks like a some sort of medical building related to Yale New Haven Hospital. Furthermore, 2 blocks of housing were unnecessarily demolished to make room for it - strikingly similar to what was done a decade later for the John Daniels School on Congress Avenue (John Daniels grew up across town in Elm Haven and his connection to Congress Avenue is likely nonexistent).

posted by: anon123newhaven on July 23, 2013  10:58pm

A “coronation?”  Do you know what a coronation means?  It means the act of crowning a monarch.  What part of this was a coronation?  What a loaded and misleading term. 

Also, once again you write in the passive voice to avoid attribution:

“As expected, the DTC overwhelmingly gave its official endorsement to Harp…”

WHO expected this?  You?  The Harp campaign?  The people of New Haven, with whom you presumably spoke extensively in order to come to this determination?  This is intellectually and journalistically dishonest.

posted by: Threefifths on July 23, 2013  11:29pm

This is why we must get rid of these Town Committee’s.The genius of the Town Committee’s is to create the illusion of political choice in elections.Those that vote seem incapable of understanding this.By keeping people focused on rooting for one team or the other,the behind the scenes rulers ensure their invisibility and power.Illusion creates the delusion of Americans that voting in elections will deliver political reforms, despite a long history of politicians lying in campaigns about reforms, new directions and bold new policies.The rulers need power shifting between the teams to maintain popular trust in the political system. Voting manifests that trust—as if changing people will fix the system.It doesn’t. So voters become co-conspirators in the grand political criminal conspiracy. Those who vote for Democrats or Republicans perpetuate the corrupt, dishonest and elitist plutocracy that preferentially serves the interests of the Upper Class and a multitude of special interests some aligned with the Republicans and some with the Democrats.We must get rid of town Committee’s Now and go to a system where the people pick the people who they want to run.

posted by: Gretchen Pritchard on July 23, 2013  11:32pm

Why was Ted Kennedy Jr. there?

posted by: Scot on July 23, 2013  11:42pm

It’s fine if a husband and wife want to keep their careers separate. But I still can’t believe we are considering electing someone as our mayor who’s spouse has the single largest uncollected tax debt in the whole state.  As a public figure, shouldn’t you take it upon yourself to get involved if your spouse’s business isn’t paying it’s taxes? to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars?  and you’re a state senator who is planning to run for mayor?
The fact that she would think it’s acceptable to turn a blind eye to it makes me seriously question her leadership.  Even if she didn’t speak with her husband regularly about each other’s businesses (odd), she must have been aware of the mounting tax debt.

The tax bill is still outstanding. Why not take care of it and then run for mayor? She may want to keep it personal but if she’s running for mayor and asking for our votes, we deserve to question it.  If the family is appealing it, tell us why they think the bill is erroneous or why they shouldn’t pay it. For her to say, “I’m not going to talk about it” makes me seriously question how transparent she would be as a mayor.

posted by: Curious on July 24, 2013  7:01am

Why answer tough questions when you ca spin spin spin and re-frame the whole thing?

Kermit and Henry need to let the Renaissance Management thing lay for a few days while they dig up more details, then SLAM it back out there into the public consciousness.

posted by: Christopher Schaefer on July 24, 2013  7:52am

The kind of government we can expect if Harp becomes mayor:  govt. controlled by entrenched political insiders, higher taxes to pay-off her cronies and to fund the massive expansion of unnecessary, archaic, duplicate govt. services she has in store—solely to provide govt. jobs for her supporters, e.g. “mobile city halls”—to replace the internet. Maybe we should go totally retro and set up tin can telephones at each street corner, connected directly to city hall: http://www.lovemyscience.com/tincanphone.html But if Harp DOES become mayor, we’ll soon follow in the footsteps of Detroit. And perhaps this resultant implosion of New Haven will be what it finally takes to recreate a govt. of the people, by the people and for the people.  And now, I’d like to ask you all to “hold hands and breathe together”. Smell the growing stench? So do I…

posted by: Atwater on July 24, 2013  8:17am

Harp is a career politician who made a calculated political speech. New Haven will continue to suffer if another career politician is elected as mayor. She [Harp] has done little for the city while she’s been in Hartford; her greatest accomplishment has been winning elections and sitting in a chair and getting paid to do so. If New Haven desires real change and substantive growth then Harp is not the way to go.

posted by: Noteworthy on July 24, 2013  9:14am

anon123:

There is nothing misleading about calling Harp’s nomination, a coronation. She has been in politics for more than a generation. She has been part of the DTC and supporting unions during all of that time. She has voted to raise taxes, increase state employment and add more layers of welfare than anybody can count for all those years. Nearly all the rubberstampers on the BOA, past and present, endorsed her and of course, it was all stage managed by the unions, the heads of which live in low cost communities, safe and snug from the realities of life in New Haven.

Any watcher of politricks, of crowd manipulation, knows this was coming. It was never in doubt. To think otherwise, is well, you don’t really want me to say what I think.

posted by: Wikus van de Merwe on July 24, 2013  9:15am

Who are the democratic committee members, how did each of them vote, and can we unelect them in November along with all the alderman who are lining up to kiss our new Queen’s ring?

posted by: anonymous on July 24, 2013  9:40am

Carrie:

Facts are facts, and have nothing to do with “negative” comments.  We are still at record high unemployment levels and murder levels.  Take out the random noise and New Haven is still averaging 10 murders every 6 months, as we have for the past five years.  If you think that the murder rate has been cut, then you should consider taking a middle school level statistics course.

We will continue to see these problems until major structural change takes place. The city must stop exporting all of its money and jobs to politically connected individuals who live in the suburbs and finance the Harp campaign. Because of terrible budgeting decisions by the existing Democratic leadership, including decisions at the State level under Harp/Looney, we now have fewer summer jobs for youth, far fewer parks maintenance workers, and fewer bus trips each day, even though these are precisely the things that would help our city’s disadvantaged areas.

Incidentally, there are many pricey Democratic fundraisers scheduled at the homes of suburban residents this weekend.

posted by: HhE on July 24, 2013  9:50am

I really like how Sen. Harp has built such a consensus—of scorn, contempt, and slight regard.

posted by: Dwightstreeter on July 24, 2013  10:05am

Before collective amnesia sets in, it needs to be part of the public record that Elicker’s defeat of Allan Brison, his predecessor as Alderman, was made possible by Mayor Destefano and the resources he made available to Elicker in his campaign. Reps from the Parks Dept. showed up to do presentations of plans for neighborhood meetings and promises were made for improvemnts. What unelected candidate has that kind of clout in a typical campaign?  It was an open secret that Destefano had people at City Hall assisting Elicker, although the campaign adopted the appearance of independence from the machine.
Elicker’s votes to allow Yale to build the School of Money aka Management, a building generally regarded as ugly, arrogant and out of scale for the community, plus his vote to allow a zoning change that allowed a project to proceed, despite a pending court challenge, certainly hint that on big things Elicker will go with the establishment, while giving a nod to people who want sidewalks or bike lanes. Was there a flip-flop on selling the sidewalks to Yale? You decide.
Maybe a fact checker out there will review his voting record on the Board of Aldermen, including his committee votes, and report the record.
Any one can claim to be independent, especially in an election year.

posted by: streever on July 24, 2013  10:24am

I’m sorry, did Harp articulate a platform or a single policy idea, or just tell her personal story?

Story Corps is a wonderful NPR program. I suggest she and one of the young wunderkinds running her campaign team up and record her story for them.

While it is inspirational, I think it is deceptive and dishonest of the Unite Here folks to stand behind her after all the promises they’ve made to the communities of New Haven. Harp hasn’t articulated any concrete ideas or proposals.

Yes, you can pick the “obvious” winner (anon123newhaven did anyone honestly expect she wouldn’t win last night?), and you can hope that—if they win—the crumbs trickle down to you, but it is intellectually dishonest to pretend that she has a political platform.

So long as she campaigns on being a child who survived polio, or a widow, or a loving neighbor, she is going to see that campaign record attacked. This is reality. If you campaign on your personal life, it will be part of your campaign, and your opponents will attack it.

posted by: Dwightstreeter on July 24, 2013  10:35am

Streever:
Read the research in “The Political Brain”.
Voters are more influenced by emotion than programs.
If voters don’t connect emotionally with a candidate or politician, the message isn’t received in a way that influences the person to actually vote or act on an idea.
Still, you are right to expect specifics.

posted by: Indigo on July 24, 2013  10:43am

To summarize Harp’s “defense” of her husband: we had a private deal and I am in a position of power, so he should be immune from public critique. No wonder the unions, contractors, and political PACs are lining up to support her. All they have to do is strike their own private deals in the form of campaign contributions and other favors, and they can do whatever they want under a Harp administration!

It’s wrong not to pay your taxes, plain and simple. When a public servant turns a blind eye to this behavior, particularly within one’s own family, it amounts to cronyism (see definition on the New Haven Electables Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=548628565200459&set=a.549233728473276.1073741832.483138888416094&type=3&theater;).

@cp06: Fernandez has the best-funded, slickest messaging machine of all the candidates. But it falls flat because it’s opaque and dishonest. Fernandez is just as compromised as Harp. If he was a true “progressive” he would be participating in the democracy fund and an active partner for change in at least his own neighborhood.

We independent-minded New Haveners are pinning our hopes on Justin Elicker. He has great ideas and listens to the ideas of others. We can trust him and he works incredibly hard. He can win, but only with lots of grassroots people power. I’m pitching in. How about you?

posted by: robn on July 24, 2013  10:49am

DWIGHTSTREETER,

What Elicker DIDN’T do (and Harp did), is live in a mansion for free because her benefactors evaded taxes to the tune of $1,000,000 while renting decrepit apartments to poor people.

posted by: anonymous on July 24, 2013  11:04am

Dwightstreeter: Fernandez, Harp, Elicker, and Carolina all seem to agree on what one of the top priorities is for our city (and for our entire state): We need to add much more density to our city center.

The new Management School is well designed, and while there are a few flaws, it generally supports its surrounding transportation systems.  It is just the kind of thing that New Haven needs more of.

In fact, Yale should have built the new SOM to be twice as large as it is.  As soon as it opens, Yale is going to wish that it had expanded more quickly.  I would like to see Yale fill the other side of Whitney Avenue with much, much larger academic structures of at least 12 stories.

Clearly a few of the beautiful historic pockets like Dwight Street, Spireworth, Hillhouse, and Wooster Square should be preserved, but most of our city center and its many parking lots need to be replaced by more six-story housing blocks, thirty story towers, and large office complexes.  In the short term, we need to add 30,000 more housing units and at least 15,000,000 square feet of new business space to our downtown.

Design issues should be addressed by making the “rules” and zoning better and more predictable.  Then:
1) Frivolous lawsuits by neighboring property owners like those on Howe Street should be immediately dismissed,
2) Our current Aldermen who are on the UNITE HERE payroll and request unethical “tit for tats” with city developers should be voted out of office, and
3) New buildings should be fast-tracked.

posted by: HewNaven on July 24, 2013  12:03pm

The ward committee process is a sham. How are members selected? How does voting happen? Who chairs the meeting and selects the co-chairs? Whats the average age and length of service?

posted by: TheWizard on July 24, 2013  12:11pm

The options in this election are crystallizing;

1) Same old machine backed system that sucks money and resources out of the city - sending much of it to connected people and businesses in the suburbs.  (Harp/Fernandez)

or

2) A new plan where city government serves the people - not big donors - and changes are put in place to stop our march towards becoming the next Detroit.

The question remains;  has the machine growth to such a size and scope that it cannot be stopped?  Stay tuned….

posted by: A Contrarian on July 24, 2013  1:06pm

RE: Ted Kennedy, Jr.
He’s “Making History”—1st AA Woman Mayor!  Yay!
[Feel good, just don’t think.]


RE: Density/Yale, etc.
Anonymous, have you read the Yale Master Plan?  100+ pages, can be downloaded.

posted by: ISR on July 24, 2013  1:11pm

“Westville co-chair Mike Slattery nominated Elicker then abided by his ward committee’s wishes and voted to endorse Harp.”

Guess I won’t be seeing him at the next Profiles in Courage awards ceremony.

And I’m heading to city hall to pay my property taxes. Will I be seeing anyone there with a check for the taxes on Harp’s million dollar residence?

Funny how she praises her husband’s legacy while on the other side of her mouth says she knows nothing about it.

posted by: Edward Whalley, H.C.J. on July 24, 2013  3:08pm

Last night in her nominating speech, Honda Smith referred introduced Toni Harp as “the mirror-image of the virtuous woman.” 

That, dear voters of New Haven is precisely the problem. 

Toni Harp lives in a massive house built on the income of her late husband’s property empire and tax avoidance schemes.  And then she claims no knowledge or involvement with those business dealings.

That is not virtue.  That is not integrity.  To be willfully ignorant is no better than direct involvement.  It is plain and simple a complete abdication of responsibility.

Justin Elicker worked directly with residents and businesses in Cedar Hill to successfully oppose drug dealing and prostitution at an illegal rooming house owned by another notorious property owner.

He did not claim it was someone’s else responsibility.  He simply rolled up his sleeves worked with others to solve the problem. 

That is the type of leadership New Haven deserves.  That is the choice in this election. 

I’m supporting Justin Elicker for Mayor.  Won’t you join me.

posted by: Jonathan Hopkins on July 24, 2013  3:21pm

“The democratization of city politics had taken a decisive turn in 1845, near the beginning of serious capitalist development, when property requirement for voting was repealed. Two distinct versions of urban community were thereby set in perpetual competition with one another. One, the older and less democratic, defined the political community by material stakeholding - by property ownership, by business investment, by the commitment of fixed economic assets to the place and to its tax rolls. The other defined the community by reference to residence - the commitment of one’s person, and her family, to the city constituted the defining act of membership. These two conceptions have been in tension since long before 1845, but it was not until then that their rivalry became a palpable fact of routine politics. On the first idea, the city’s interest and that of its property holders are more or less the same; on the second, the city’s interest and those of all its residents are more or less the same. The challenge of urban politics and policy - and of mayoral leadership - is to find key ways to protect and nurture business interests and at the same time protect the shared interests of a democratic city.”
-Douglas W. Rae “City: Urbanism and Its End” (Yale University Press, 2003) pp. 185-186

Harp and Fernandez represent the older, less democratic urban community that is defined by the where or how one receives a paycheck - that’s people who have contracts with the city or work in the city, most of who live in the suburbs. Elicker and Carolina represent the more democratic urban community that is defined by place of residence.

posted by: HenryCT on July 24, 2013  3:39pm

“Democratic Party establishment.”
Paul, what is a party establishment? Two years ago there was an electoral upset of the political establishment in New Haven, the Democratic Party as run by John DeStefano and Susie Voigt. They and their candidates lost. And now those who upset the establishment are in just two years the new establishment?

How many of the ward co-chairs are new to the “establishment?” 
How many of the alders are new to the “establishment?”
Have you ever investigated who these nearly 90 people are and where they come from? Would that help you to determine what constitutes an establishment and if they belong? 

What your story left out from Toni Harp’s speech is the list of accomplishments she spoke about (always “together with others”): Husky for those without healthcare, more widely available vaccinations for children, dealing with recidivism, creating affordable housing, dealing with childhood obesity, asthma, AIDS and lead poisoning, helping save the Sound, preventing use of the dirty English station, increasing awareness of environmental justice.

Finally, for those who endlessly criticize the Democratic Party, and there is indeed great cause for criticism, here’s a challenge: Instead of constant carping, come up with a better solution - a mass-based, progressive and activist political party - and make it happen.

posted by: robn on July 24, 2013  4:51pm

HENRYCT,

You forgot Harp’s accomplishment of leaving every single CT citizen $40,000 in debt; the highest per capita debt in the nation by a factor of 2.

posted by: A Contrarian on July 24, 2013  5:40pm

Having a Republican, or even perhaps two, around for the next few years would be a worthy experiment.  At least as worthy as “making history with the first AA woman mayor.”

Unfortunately, in New Haven, as Comrade Stalin said, “We prefer one party.”

posted by: Curious on July 24, 2013  6:46pm

I’m actually getting bored of this.

Harp spins some weak populist blather, residents question and criticize, the same five or six (usually union) people fire back some drivel or whine that Harp is being “bullied” and that it’s not fair, and so on.

Bring on the election. Let’s see who can bring it on vote day.

posted by: sunshine44 on July 24, 2013  8:56pm

Dwightstreeter, you are absolutely incorrect.  Justin did not want, ask for, or get support in his race for Ward 10 Alderman from anyone other than from the individuals in Ward 10.  You should get your facts straight before posting.  Justin will be a mayor who will represent every single individual of New Haven, as he has done so in Ward 10.  He is a fresh change for New Haven, and is the only candidate who will truly represent and do the most for New Haven citizens, both in the short term and the long term.  That is the mayor that New Haven needs and deserves.

posted by: Christopher Schaefer on July 25, 2013  6:52am

Contrarian: “Having a Republican, or even perhaps two, around for the next few years would be a worthy experiment.” It also would provide the kind of balance that is essential to break up New Haven’s entrenched cronyism, which serves the interests of no one but the elite insiders. Without some “alternative viewpoint” on the Board of Aldermen, it ultimately won’t matter who wins the mayoral race, because La Machine still will be calling all the shots with minimal resistance. And ultimately all New Haven residents will continue to be the losers.  See my comments here http://www.newhavenindependent.org/index.php/archives/entry/republicans_find_four_candidates/  and here http://www.newhavenindependent.org/index.php/archives/entry/andry_ross_garbage/

posted by: streever on July 25, 2013  8:28am

HenryCT

Political machines aren’t about individuals: they are self-sustaining groups which can see players shuffled in or out.

The “Establishment” is still-as it was—run by the same people who have been in office for 20 years. Do you not know of Jorge Perez? What about Bob Proto? Jackie James, who has warmed a chair at City Hall for a decade? Gwen Mills, who doesn’t get in the public eye much, but has been a part of Democratic politics in New Haven for almost 15 years?

These individuals haven’t gone anywhere, although some of them may not make the papers every day—they are still here, still making decisions, and still operating in an opaque and obscured machine.

While DeStefano may be gone, the machine is still there, still ticking away, still making deals, still trading openness for secrecy.

posted by: A Contrarian on July 25, 2013  1:58pm

Christopher Schaefer:  New Haven Dems sing the old song of “Diversity” that never seems to apply to diversity of ideas or “alternative viewpoints.”

posted by: A Contrarian on July 25, 2013  7:14pm

robn:  Per capita income will likely remain flat for a while, but I’d wager that the $40,000 debt is sure to increase.

posted by: A Contrarian on July 25, 2013  8:24pm

Chr. Sch.:  Was unable to comment at Andy Ross link. 

RE:  GOP “types”—Some Repubs think that government does some things but not everything well.  And don’t think the answer to every problem is more government.  And also think that government is expensive with more government being more expensive.  And also know that somebody has to pay for all the government services unless New Haven ends up as a mini-Detroit, with promises impossible to keep.

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