Fernandez Swears In Supporters

The campaign trail brought mayoral candidate Henry Fernandez on Monday to East Haven, where he received the official endorsement of the laborers union.

Laborers Local 455 is one of three building trade unions who last week pledged their support for the Fernandez campaign. Monday, the union made the endorsement official.

The endorsement came after Fernandez, a former city development head, acted as a guest officiant to swear in union officers in a brief ceremony.

Fernandez is one of seven declared mayoral candidates who are running to succeed Mayor John DeStefano after he steps down at the end of the year. Until 2004, Fernandez served as economic development chief and head of the Livable City Initiative under DeStefano. He seems to have earned Monday’s endorsement during his time in City Hall.

Ralph Inorio (at right in photo), son of the former head of Laborers Local 455, said his late father told him years ago that if DeStefano ever steps down, the union should support Fernandez.

Inorio, the union business manager, was one of 10 guys whom Fernandez led through the oath of office Monday afternoon at the East Haven union hall. The lengthy oath required officers to swear they wouldn’t try to overthrow the government, among other things.

Inorio said the 1,000-member laborers union has 221 members who live in New Haven. He said he has heard the complaint that the union has “too many outsiders” to play a role in New Haven politics. “I hate when people say that,” Inorio said. “People work everywhere.” Thousands of people go in and out of New Haven to and from work everyday, he said.

Addressing meeting of about 40 union members, Fernandez spoke of his role in New Haven’s push to build new schools, and making sure they were union built. Union employment on construction jobs is important not only because it means the building will go up on time and on budget; it also ensures that the building is creating not just jobs, but careers, Fernandez said.

“This campaign is about protecting the working families of New Haven,” Fernandez said. That begins with making sure New Haven grows with union labor.  “That’s my commitment to you all. ... I’ll fight for you. I’ll be looking for you to fight with us.”

“We are New Haven and we’re there for you,” said Inorio.

Fernandez won at least one new supporter at Monday’s event. Michael Crocker (pictured) of Hamden followed him outside and signed up to volunteer for the campaign. He said he liked what Fernandez had to say about lowering crime. He said his son survived a shooting in 2008 on Dixwell Avenue.

On the car ride back to New Haven, Fernandez said he’s “absolutely committed to growing jobs for New Haveners and for decent, fair wages for everyone who works in New Haven.”

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posted by: cedarhillresident! on May 14, 2013  9:02am

I spoke with a few people and none of them are supporting this guy. I am a bit shocked about this endorsement. Is the union going to move there office to New Haven?? or are they going to keep it in staven?

posted by: westville man on May 14, 2013  9:07am

So “One City” Henry goes to East Haven and gets the support of an organization that has 20% of its members living in New Haven?  80% of the membership take their wages to pay taxes elsewhere.
To top it off, he gets a new supporter from Hamden willing to volunteer.  Everybody gets to eat at the trough, I guess. I need to look into getting some business from the suburbs by donating to some out of town mayoral campaigns. What a “novel” idea. Congrats- “Multi-City” Henry.

posted by: Noteworthy on May 14, 2013  9:30am

A couple of observations:

The idea that unions help New Haven grow simply by showing up for a construction job is not helping us grow. It would help us grow if more than 20% of the membership actually lived in New Haven vs. grabbing the dough and scampering to the suburbs.

Union boss Inorio says taxpayers here should not be concerned that outsiders try to control our local government. “People work everywhere…” he says. Yes they do. The vast majority of them do not rely on the public teat, nor do they get together and try to control a city’s political life with a damn all attitude about the costs of doing so.

DeStefano bought union support at the NHFD, the NHPD and the building trades with taxpayer money. The city’s debt is crushing and we can’t pay the benefits promised under the contract. It sure looks like Henry “Mini-Me” Fernandez is promising to do the same.

Finally, I note the phrase “On the car ride back to New Haven…” This is as disturbing an insight to readers as lipstick on your shirt collar and somebody else’s perfume on your neck might be to your spouse.

posted by: Anderson Scooper on May 14, 2013  9:33am

Fernandez is pretty shameless here. But what a great job of announcing he is open for business as usual….

posted by: anonymous on May 14, 2013  9:51am

“Inorio said the 1,000-member laborers union has 221 members who live in New Haven.”

The membership (typically around 20-30% living in New Haven - lower for police and teachers, higher for cafeteria workers) is one thing. 

The REAL question that journalists should be investigating is how many of each of the Union leaders live in New Haven? 

They are the ones calling the shots, and forcing struggling low income families in New Haven to pony up triple tax rates so that they can have a better retirement in Florida.

posted by: Curious on May 14, 2013  9:55am

WTF is this?!  A swearing-in ceremony? 

Are they pledging fealty to their new lord? This is creepy…what was the oath?  Is the text of it available?  Why did they have to swear it to Fernandez?  Are they becoming union officers, or Fernandez supporters?

This is weird….

posted by: Xavier on May 14, 2013  10:28am

One City Fernandez, despite the racism he has experience is willing to go outside of New Haven, to what some would consider the most racist town in Connecticut, to one of the many union bases, to so respect to the hard working men and women who build our schools, labor to make our state better, and doing so with good union wages for their families (and campaign donations!).

Who wants to win? One City Henry want to win, and he is showing us that he will do what it takes to move his city forward, win an election.

(What a photo op, awesome to capture the moment NHI. One City Henry, mayoral material, leader, visionary. Thanks NHI you made up for your snips at One City Henry last night.)

posted by: New Haven Taxpayer on May 14, 2013  10:50am

“Thousands of people go in and out of New Haven to and from work everyday, he said.”

Yes, but this election is for the residents of this town -not employees, business owners or union bosses that commute to it. Who needs election advice from East Haven?

New Haven Voters: ask for ID when anyone comes canvassing your home. If they don’t live in New Haven tell them to try to influence their own town’s election.

We are in trouble if this guy gets in, I truly hope the voters see him for what he is.

posted by: anonymous on May 14, 2013  11:51am

New Haven Taxpayer, exactly. If it hadn’t been for residents willing to stand up to the suburban, “Big Money” interests like those represented by Fernandez and the Unions, New Haven would look like one massive parking lot, with widened roadways every 3 blocks, parks such as East Rock turned into highways to Hamden (something that came very close to happening), and new school buildings located in between each highway. In other words, Detroit.  Although, at least there would be a job pipeline to the suburbs.

Let’s hope that people who actually live here, including the 20% of Union members, continue to stand up for themselves.

posted by: Xavier on May 14, 2013  12:01pm


I dont get it, why so negative on One City Henry?

He has proven track recorded. Among the candidates, One City Henry, knows what it takes to run the city. Obama said audacity. I think it is a set of balls like One City Henry.

For 20 years, we re-elected JD, One City Henry’s mentor. We re-elected him because even though many did not like him, JD got stuff done. And the people benefited from that. 

One City Henry, may or maybe not be JD 2.0 (as cedarhillresident thinks), but is that not what we all really want deep down inside; a guy that gets stuff done?

A bit erasable in his tenure as Deputy Mayor, One City Henry demonstrated his balls. Sure he ticked some people off, but it is necessary to ruffle a few feathers to move your vision forward.

One City Henry is not some dreamy eyed guy wishing for an election environment and a code of conduct that does not exist in politics. You want to get elected, you need boots on the ground, hard hats on the girders, and money. Money buys good staff and good staff know how to write a press release, and stage a good press event. (Kudos to the One City Henry’s team for getting the message out.)

You see it is about the attitude of the candidate. One City Henry knows deep down it is Henry’s City, and he is going to take it.

Hurry up September primary!

posted by: HhE on May 14, 2013  12:09pm

I’m thinking of Vanilla Ice:

Looking for John two point oh
Found him, don’t you know

If there is a city
Yo, I’ll sell it

Check out Xavier
While corruption ...  I’m out of rhymes

posted by: Honest in New Haven on May 14, 2013  12:57pm

Henry did absolutely nothing to “insure” school construction was done by union labor.  New Haven is a union town and was so far long before Henry showed up.  It will be a union town after he’s gone.  Show some humility and stop trying to make it seem like you fought for something special when everyone knows it was going to happen anyway.

posted by: Claudia Herrera on May 14, 2013  1:27pm

Curios for a first time agreed with you it’s so weird and out of place.

I am also a Fair Haven resident and so far I don hear that Fernandez is looking or walking in the street of Fair Haven looking for our support. Justin did last Saturday.

posted by: Curious on May 14, 2013  1:39pm

Claudia and Honest-in-New-Haven’s comment show why the Democracy Fund is important.

With enough money, you can get your message out (“Henry Fernandez singlehandedly stopped the plant from starting again”) to a LOT of people, even if that message is a complete lie.

Collect money, lie to people who don’t know any better, get elected, pay kickbacks to your supporters.  That’s how New Haven has worked for too long, and it needs to change.  It won’t change under Money City Henry.

posted by: momnprof on May 14, 2013  3:33pm

I think this is great.  Many of the unions, including hte Yale unions that many people in this town think are so important in this race, have members who do not live in New Haven.  The economic lifeblood of this city depends upon people who do not live here coming here, and I, for one, am thanksful for that.  As an East Rock resident I pay a hefty amount of taxes, so I’m glad when other people come here, spend money and help me out.  Great job, Henry, for garnering the support of this group.  Unions, neighborhood residents, parents, teachers, Yale folk—we all are part of One City.

posted by: New Haven Taxpayer on May 14, 2013  5:36pm

Yes I want a mayor who will “get things done”- just not the wrong things, for the wrong people.
“JD got stuff done. And the people benefited from that.” Wrong just some chosen few people benefited.

If all these suburbanites are part of ‘One City”
then lets go to a ‘ONE COUNTY’ taxation system. We should not be thankful to these folks because New Haven provides them with their place of employment. Just the opposite. They should thank us for the great hospital they send their sick child to. They should thank us for the methadone clinic they send their sick child to. They should thank us for the Planned parenthood clinic they send their pregnant child to. They should thank us for the free preschool they send their child to while earning their living in this great city. They should thank us for all these and the many more services we provide them. Services they don’t have and don’t want in their own towns. Services that are non-taxable, non-profits and ride on the backs of New Haven Taxpayers.
You can be thankful, I want them to pony up their fair share and stay out of OUR election.

posted by: factsifter on May 14, 2013  8:50pm

Cedar are you serious, Staven? I thought you were better than that.  Have some class.  On another note, you can not build walls around New Haven, we are a City, the central hub of the region.  There are 60,000 people who come in and work in New Haven every day, 20,000 of us New Haveners leave the City to work eleswhere.  As a New Haven taxpayer, I am all for sububanites coming in to our City to work, our City can not grow without them.  I want a Mayor who recognizes that fact (for if we grow, so does our tax base).  I also would like to hear what candidates are actually going to do with what they have.  There is no pot of gold waiting for them if they are elected Mayor.  Stop giving me all these great comments about what you will do if elected Mayor if you don’t tell me how you will accomplish such great feats.  At least Elicker, Nemerson take that into account when commenting.  Tell me how!

posted by: LABORERS/455 on May 14, 2013  10:34pm

Laborers’ Local Union 455 is New Haven. 
  The “History” and “Foundation” of the 455’s membership either were, Born here, Live here, Raised their Families here, Go to School here, Went to College here, Spend their money here on Shopping, Entertainment, Restaurants, etc.
Most importantly for over 91 Years have taken Pride in Building the City of New Haven.
  The City of New Haven is only one of fourteen (14) City / Towns in this Local’s jurisdiction.  Roughly 40% of its work is supported by projects in New Haven, remaining 60% of its work is supplied by various other projects around the State. 
This Local supplies these New Haven projects with 90% of its 30% New Haven Resident membership. (Due to 10% of the New Haven membership works on projects outside New Haven).
So, Basically only 10% of the “outside” membership works on projects in New Haven.
  Ninety Five percent (95%) of our New members that are accepted through the Apprentice program are New Haven Residents (minorities & females) supplied by the New Haven Construction Workforce program.
So, again Laborers’ Local 455 is New Haven.  FEEL THE POWER

posted by: Curious on May 15, 2013  9:23am

Someone who drives into New Haven every day for work and buys a sandwich and a Coke at the local deli doesn’t have the same kind of economic impact on the city as someone who lives here and pays thousands of dollars in taxes. 

That’s a fact.

posted by: Noteworthy on May 15, 2013  9:32am

Laborers 455:

Simply having an office here does not make you from here.


You mentioned Henry’s balls twice. Freud might have something about that. You should check it out. JD vision for the city was shoved down the throats of those he governed. It was not our vision. What got him elected so many times is a testament to the tight corruptness that is the Democratic Town Committee and the inability of the GOP to create an opposition party. And finally, your endorsement of Mini-me Fernandez’s tactics of winning at any cost, with no moral authority is a crass and troubling approach to Democracy. It is exactly what is wrong with politics today - federal, state and local.

posted by: HhE on May 15, 2013  9:36am

I find Xavier’s continuing reference to male genitalia to be vulgar.  What I find for more worrisome is Xavier’s line of reasoning:  the desire to win—at all costs, moral or otherwise—is what makes one qualified to be Mayor.  I put it to you Xavier, that this is not the case.  Rather, it is the desire to serve the good, and the intelligence, education, and moral fiber to do so that makes one more qualified. 

Does not the line, “One City Henry knows deep down it is Henry’s City, and he is going to take it.” say so much about what this is really about?  I put it to you, Mayor DeStefano outlasted his utility when being Mayor became an end onto itself. 

In these pages, I have offten taking issue with anon’s, and others’, view that New Haven is exclusively for New Haven.  Yet, I also take issue with New Haven as a regional resource to be sucked dry.  I consider it suspect when people who are not residents, and not tax payers are investing in an election.

posted by: Xavier on May 15, 2013  10:48am


Sorry about the reference to the male anatomy. I used it to drive a point, and that is ego. One City Henry has got ego (and testosterone too). 

“Rather, it is the desire to serve the good, and the intelligence, education, and moral fiber to do so that makes one more qualified.”

I take exception to the notation that politics is some sort of higher calling to noble selfless service. The road to hell is paved with good intentions.

Again, politics is practical and by its very nature given to compromise. But you have to be at the table to play. You have to WIN. The winners in this arena have power, real power to get stuff done. Just saying in this political environment of New Haven, One City Henry, for better or worse, is the guy. He has testosterone (I hope a less vulgar). 

Gary Holder-Winfield and Justin Elicker, nice guys but compared with One City Henry, they just miss the mark. Nemerson, money guy, but not the scrappy kind of guy we need to run this city. Harp, I am beginning to think she thinks once the session is over, she will appear and the planets will align for her. Not going to happen.

The September primary will decide.


posted by: Curious on May 15, 2013  2:03pm

So Xavier, if it is so admirable to do anything to win, does that include taking money from contributors and then giving them kickbacks when you are in office? 

Taking money knowing that it comes with strings attached? 

Expecting jobs and work in exchange for your campaign cash? 

Are those all fair game, in order to win?

Are you okay with Henry Fernandez doing some or all of the above if that is what it takes to win?  Grease a few palms, if that is how the game is played?

posted by: taodhdaodh on May 15, 2013  2:05pm

I’m 60% sure Xavier is a fake. S/he’s certainly not doing Henry any favors…

posted by: Curious on May 15, 2013  2:10pm

Seriously though, what was the text of this oath? Can the NHI get that from the Fenandez campaign?  It is in the public interest.

posted by: cedarhillresident! on May 15, 2013  2:34pm

I want to know the pledge to ... kind of a goofy thing?

I think this was the pledge

posted by: Jonathan Hopkins on May 15, 2013  6:50pm

momnprof, factsifter, and others,

Would you support the abolition of the property tax system in favor of a municipal income taxes based on the town where you work, not where you live?

posted by: Grasshopper on May 15, 2013  11:20pm

Please Henry be aware there are a whole lot more residents living in new haven that work in construction not affiliated with a union.  There will be fewer construction projects in the city if the unions don’t have to compete with non union shops.  Competition will keep construction costs competitive and create many more opportunities.